A year-ender allegory

By December 31, 2021Entre'acte

By Rex Catubig


AT year-end past, I’m usually all agog expecting to be dazzled by the whizz and brilliance of fireworks.
But this year is different. Because I’m blindsided by a sinister and remorseless pyrotechnics display that’s far from heavenly.

I’ve seen it before. But my gaze is always averted by the prism of politics and I didn’t have Thomas’s unfaith to want to poke my finger into the fresh wound.

But I’m talking in riddles. Let me put it this way:
I’m famished, you see, so I go to the nearest open restaurant.

I tell the reception my tummy’s precarious predicament. I have diet restrictions, but I want the house special.

I am told I have to wait (despite my growling stomach) because the chef is unavailable and no line cook would dare work on the dish.

Meantime, the receptionist begins asking me my work, if I own the house I live in, what kind of make is my car. How many are we in the family.

Seriously? All I want is my food and perhaps, my two front teeth!

So ok. Though it’s not, and I’m about to pass on gas.

That prelim over, I am seated and a waiter pours water on my glass.

Suddenly, the chef appears and without the least nicety, brusquely says that I should understand his utter lack of urgency. He has, like fifty other dishes to prepare; I’m not the only hungry wolf.

At that point, I am ready to relinquish my virginity in order to be cooked and served my food.

Finally, my order arrives, I place the napkin on my lap, take the knife in one hand and the fork in the other.

Even before I can gulp down the morsel I’ve chewed, the host, the head waiter, the chef, and other factotum, suddenly come out of the woodwork and alternately begin asking me how am I doing with my food.

Fine I say, thinking saying otherwise will consign me to washing dishes.
I swallow fast, wanting to just get out of there.

But the waiter approaches and says I have to pay up front or my dessert will not be served.

Exasperated, I tell him to get my check so I can pay the bill.

He comes back with a yard-long receipt.

I take a cursory look and I see these odd items on the list of charges.

Drinking glass and water, table napkin, plates and silverware, frying pan, oil, apron, frying turner, hairnet, chef’s hat, dishwashing liquid, chef, head waiter, et al’s fee for looking in on me, ad nauseam.

Stupefied, I just let them strip my wallet empty.

So you still think politics plays dirty tricks?

Here’s a revered institution sworn to service that plays just as dirty. Its august calling may give it the seal of good housekeeping. But there’s so much dirt swept under the rug. In fact, its

Pandora’s box reveals technicolor grime, a colorful cesspool of conscience marred and stained by the color of bank notes, its offensive smell, a stink bomb of callousness and insensitivity.

Sadly, my tale has no ending. There are always some enterprising bright boys devising ways to squeeze blood out of turnips in sync with the glorious sound of cash register.
Lest you be misled, I’m not talking about restaurants here.

So is this apocryphal, a feverish fancy?

Your guess is as good as mine
But let’s have a happy New Year. And let’s take care not to get sick this year nor the years thereafter. It’s too much of a risk.

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