When you are the owner of a restaurant, you will never welcome a slow day. But at the end of this one Dave will count his blessings that the only customer that came in today made a silent retreat before witnessing the unfolding disaster. The diner is a mess. A whimpering bat named Eric, or Enrique, or Erich, as far as we know, is standing against the wall, arms / wings raised, shivering with fear because a raging unicorn is threatening to slit his throat with his uni-horn. All of Eric’s belongings are lying in the center of the floor and a wheezing T-rex named Mike is thundering about in the middle of it all. It’s simply bad for business.
“Dave, seriously! Come over here.”
Reluctantly Dave stands down, turns around and walks towards Mike. Eric gasps and slides to the floor, temporarily relieved, but for how long?
“What is it?” “This paper. It looks like a file or something.”
Dave peers at the sheet of paper on the floor. It’s official stationary, containing the letterhead of Hospital San Hipólito, Mexico City, Mexico.
RECOMMENDED TREATMENT PLAN
Doctor G. Hierra Ruiz
Patient: E. Hernandez.
Diagnosis: DISSSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER
Dave and Mike glance at each other and stare at Eric. He is sitting against the wall, eyes closed, not paying attention to his surroundings. Dave whispers: “What are we dealing with? Did he escape a mental institution? Is he dangerous?!” Dave keeps reading.
After elaborate analysis and therapy sessions we have established a minimum of four alternate personalities. Patient has different levels of co-conciousness with alters and suffers from amnesic blanks. Due to docile and unthreatening nature of patient, recommended treatment is three phase-oriented, resulting in patient’s successful integration and rehabilitation into society.
Dave and Mike look up again. Mike whispers: “Oh my god. He’s like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, except nicer.” Dave and Mike turn towards Eric who has slumped on to the floor and started snoring.
“What do we do?” Asks Mike. “We wake him up.” David answers in a determined voice.
Dave the unicorn is circling Eric. Eric is rotating on the spot, maintaining eye contact with Dave the whole time. Mike is standing a bit further off, breathing heavily, not because of the excitement but because he actually has a sinus problem which you never notice until it gets really quiet. Like right now. Out of the corner of your eye you see the kinda cute girl grab her bag and silently slip out of the booth. She tiptoes across the floor and soundlessly exits the diner.
It’s only Mike, Dave and Eric left now and they are stuck in the most surreal showdown you will ever encounter in a pizza parlor not run by an Italian mob.
Eric opens his mouth. “Ehrm?”
“AHA!!!” Yells Dave.
“AHA! Ehrm is not a German word!”
“Mais naturellement I do not speak la langue German. Do I look comme un barbarian?” Eric replies in a thick French accent.
“ARE YOU NOT EVEN GOING TO MAKE AN ATTEMPT TO EXPLAIN THIS?!?”
Dave’s voice is very high pitched at this point and in between every word he is snorting like a common plough horse. He is still circling Eric and jabs his sharp horn at Eric’s face as if he were holding him at knifepoint.
“Je ne comprend pas. Explain whut?”
Dave scrapes his front right hoof over the floor, bucks and is right about to charge when Mike jumps in, shielding Eric with his big tail. He waves his little arms at Dave.
“Hold on you guys, let’s try and stay calm already. Let’s talk to each other.”
“TALK IN WHAT LANGUAGE?!? WHAT IS NEXT, POLISH? CHINESE? BLOODY ESPERANTO?!?” Dave’s eyes are bloodshot.
Mike turns around. “Eric, what I think Dave is trying to express, is that we are slightly surprised that you have posed as a Mexican immigrant to me and as a German traveller to Dave.”
“I am French.”
Mike pauses. “Eric, you spent half an hour talking about your grandmother’s enchiladas yesterday. It gave me an after dinner dip just listening to it.”
“I do not remember cette conversation.”
“MAYBE YOU DON’T REMEMBER BECAUSE YOU WERE POSING AS A GERMAN AND TOO BUSY CONVINCING ME THAT WE SHOULD HAVE A BRATWURST AND SAUERKRAUT PIZZAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH AHHHHH AHHHHHHH AHHHHH !”
By this point Dave is no longer speaking, only braying.
“Impossible. I would ne jamais put a bratwurst dans une pizza. Whut horrible taste.”
“Come on Eric. Stop lying. We know you’re not French. Just tell us what is going on.” Mike is getting desperate.
Suddenly Dave stops circling Eric and trots off into the kitchen. Several doors slam and there is a lot of racket before Dave re-enters, clenching the strap of a backpack between his teeth, the bag itself swinging back and forth under his chin. He holds it in front of Mike’s tiny arms.
“Untie the sthraphs.”
Mike fumbles with the buckle. Four fingers is a slight handicap for fine motor skills. It takes an embarrassingly long time.
Eric is observing all of this with a curious face “Peux je assister?“
Finally the pack opens and Dave shakes it out, spilling all of the contents onto the floor. Dave stirs his hoofs around in the mess from Eric’s bag, shifting among empty candy wrappers, some mismatched socks and a mouldy sandwich. “Okay, there’s his wallet, now check if he’s a spy. I bet he’s working for the Russians!”
“Dave, isn’t that a bit inappropia-“ “SHHH! Here’s his passport!”
On the floor is a beautiful dark green passport with shiny gold letters on it that spell MEXICO. Dave pushes it open with his hoof. There is an overexposed photo of Eric inside and according to the passport his name is Enriqué Hernandez.
“How do you explain this? You little fraud….” Snarls Dave.
“But, but…. I… I… I ‘ave no idea. Je suis born dans Montpelliér! C’est vrai, I swear on the grave of my mother.”
“Yeah, your Mexican mother….” Growls Dave, slowly and threateningly stepping closer to Eric, driving him backwards until he is stuck between the wall and a very, extremely angry unicorn, with a very, extremely sharp unicorn horn pointed within one inch of his throat. Eric gulps and holds his breath.
“Hey Dave, hold on!” Mike is still standing in between Eric’s belongings on the floor. “Come here and look at this!”
“Not now, Mike. “ Grunts Dave.
“No uh, Dave, I really think you need to look at this.”
Anyone wandering into the diner right around this time with a craving for some Italian carbs will stumble onto a remarkable scene. There’s a real angry unicorn, growling and frothing at the mouth, lying on his back in the middle of the floor, kicking his hoofs in all directions. There’s a not-so-tall Tyrannosaurus rex attempting to roll the unicorn over, but his arms are so short that he has to bend really far to reach the enraged animal, resulting in him either having to duck to the side or get kicked in the head several times. It’s somewhat similar to someone attempting to plunge a feral cat into a bathtub and at least as painful.
In one of the booths there’s a kinda cute, geeky girl with green glasses and a dark ponytail sitting backwards in her seat, leaning over the back of the booth, staring at the scene with her jaw dropped to the floor. You notice she’s still wearing braces. Next to her a very large bat is consoling her and patting her hand.
“Woah! Dave, stop it!”
The unicorn aims for the dino’s head on purpose this time. “I bith my thung, you idioth! Geth away from me!”
“Come on Dave, at least let me help you get up.”
“You can’th help me up, Mike! Your dumb arms are too SHORTH!!”
After a bit of a scramble Dave the unicorn manages to calm down, flops to the side and gets up again on all fours. He clears his throat and addresses the unusually large bat:
“Okay Eric, listen up. We know you’re a fraud. Time to come clean.”
Dave trots inside and Mike follows in his trail.
Business is slow today. There’s only one customer in the diner and Eric is making a solid pass at her. He is chatting up this kinda cute, dark-haired, pony-tailed girl with braces and green glasses sipping a fizzy lemonade in one of the booths. She’s wearing a frilly white blouse and these black skinny jeans held up with pink suspenders, topped off with seventies platform shoes. When she laughs out loud, her shiny braces sparkle, but she seems a bit old to be wearing those. You suddenly realize she actually resembles the imaginary daughter of Ugly Betty and Prince.
Dave and Mike are staring at Eric from behind the counter. Eric glances over occasionally but when this happens they both look away quickly while mumbling something, making busy and staring at their toes, or whatever passes for toes. Suddenly Dave pulls Mike down behind the counter.
Dave whispers: “Okay! I’ll count to three and we walk over and confront him with his ruse. Tell him he’s been found out. I think he’s an illegal immigrant without a working permit.”
Mike considers this for a moment.
“But don’t you think he would’ve dropped the Mexican accent then? If he speaks fluent German too?”
“Well, you know, maybe you and him…”
“Him and me what? Dave?” whisperes Mike.
“Well, you know, maybe he was trying to …”
Dave pauses again.
“You know, with you and him…”
“Him and me WHAT?! Dave?!” whisperes Mike a little bit louder.
“SHHHH! Well, you know, with you both being foreigners I just thought he might be trying to bond with you, that’s all.”
“Dave. I’m from South-Dakota!”
“Well, there’s just not a lot of your kind around here.”
“…says the unicorn! You don’t even exist outside of fairy tales!”
“Hey pal, don’t push it! I can’t help it if no-one acknowledges my family tree!! Anyway, let’s go!”
Mike and Dave rise up from behind the counter and tiptoe over to the booth. They approach Eric from behind. He is stroking the girls wrist and by now she is giggling like an idiot.
“Ah mademoiselle. I know that mon eyesight c’est pas bien but my sonar is informing me that you ‘ave a boooootiful body. Je voudrais grimper les etoiles avec toi!”
Dave suddenly halts, drops down again and drags Mike with him behind the booth just as the girl looks up to see who’s walking toward her.
He whispers furiously: “Did you know he speaks French!!?”
“I really need a guy to translate the menu. The French tourists keep leaving because they can’t read it.”
“Dave, I think they left because you offered them a pizza with snail and froglegs.”
“My point exactly. If I’d offered it in French it would have been a hit.”
“So what do we do now?”
“HEY guys. Watcha doin?”
Mike jumps up so quickly he uppercuts Dave’s chin with the top of his huge head and knocks him over on his back. Eric is upside down, hanging at eyelevel, grinning stupidly at Mike and Dave. Mike sorely wishes he could rub his head right now. It hurts like hell.
“Oh *cough* hey Eric! ‘Sup?”