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When bad cafeterias go even wronger...er

Today, to celebrate the release of a Jamaican cookbook from our consumer division, we had a theme lunch: Pirates of the Cafeteria. Oh yeah. Things like "margarita mocktails" were served, and all the wait staff had to wear bandannas and black eye patches emblazoned with skulls and crossbones - and absolutely no rum was to be had. That's not the worst of it, though. As with all pirates-themed events, they had to go hire some Off-Off-Broadway actor to get himself all dolled up in a genuine community-theatre style crap pirate costume, complete with greasepaint mustache, fake sword, black dreadlocked wig, and some kind of treasure chest chained to his side. His job was to make saucy and bawdy remarks to us "wenches" and tell piraty jokes to the lads. Here's a sample of the conversation he had with me:

PIRATE: Arg! Yarr!
ME: Oh, jebus-fuck.
PIRATE: Well, lassy, that's a right fair bangle you have round your neck!
ME: Get bent.
PIRATE: blah blah pirate blah wench blah blah booty blah blah lame joke blah arg.
[Honestly, I can't remember all the shit he said.]
ME: Piss off so I can eat my slice of Davy Jone's pizza in peace, k?

Sadly, the pirate followed me into the cafeteria as I tried to find a seat in the FAR corner, and proceeded to tell me a series of piratey-themed and slightly offensive jokes ("What do you call a pirate's fat girlfriend? A VAST MATEY! Get it? Get it? ARG!"). It. Was. HORRIFYING. I finally escaped, only to have him wander over to the table next to mine and regale three terrified editorial assistants with stories of the bounding mane - or how he couldn't get a good summer theatre gig this year and really needed to score a national commercial to pay his acting workshop tuition, I don't know. A couple of tables away, I caught the rolling eyes of several editors from my floor, and we all began to giggle over our mocktails. Finally I heard Captain Pantaloons break away from the other table and approach. I raised my head, wiped the smile from my mouth, and gave him the most dead-eyed I WILL KILL YOU BITCH look I could muster. He got the point, and sashayed over to the editors' table, while I scarfed down the rest of my Caribbean Fruit Medley cup, then bolted from the room. There were screams of terror from behind, unearthly howls coupled with an eldrich-sounding YARR-ARG! that echoed through the queerly-lit chamber like a death-knell, but I didn't turn back. Sometimes it's just better to leave people to their poorly-improvised, piratey-themed fate.

Marine Autumn

I owe you marine autumn
With dankness at its roots
and fog like a grape
and the graceful sun of the country;
and the silent space
in which sorrows lose themselves
and only the bright crown
of joy comes to the surface.

--Pablo Neruda.


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