Apr 242002


A wise man once asked me, “Hey, you gonna pass that freakin’ catsup or what?” Catsup, I thought to myself? Surely he doesn’t mean ketchup? Again, the aged pedophile queried, “Hey, idiot, the fucking catsup!” There, he had said it again: catsup. I tore my eyes from him to the bottle of ketchup to my right just slightly out of reach of the old coot’s rapacious grasp. A rather befuddled look then slowly painted his ponderous face slightly akin to that of what Rosie O’Donnell’s stretch pants might make as she attempts to squeeze into them.

“Hey, you deaf or something?” badgered the old coot reaching in vain for the bottle of ketchup to my right. How dare he reach over my Denver omelet with his filth encrusted paws and attempt to pinch my ketchup bottle? After all, he wanted catsup not ketchup. I swatted at the graybeard’s penurious phalanges and he withdrew them without haste from atop my breakfast, all the while murmuring something about a leather thong. Then eyeing me for what seemed like milliseconds, he casually scratched his aged maw.

I took another bite of my omelet, eyeing him suspiciously from the corner of my eye. I could see that he ruthlessly pondered a way to somehow rob me of my phallic glass bottle of red ketchuppy delight. Yet, I could not understand why the venerable old-timer wished so much to fondle my prized ketchup. “It’s ketchup,” I added finally, taking a casual swig of my large medium-pulped orange juice.

“What!” piped the cantankerous veteran? I took yet another slow pull of my tall citrus beverage then turned to him, and in my best George Clooney, I again stated, “It’s ketchup, not catsup.”

It was at that point that a very unusual look crept down his wrinkled visage. I had thought that maybe the prune juice he had so eagerly drank had finally caught up with him. He again ran a gnarled hand along his hash brown greased lips, eyeing me as Mike Tyson eyes a nearby ear. “Listen, you,” the elder threatened with a bony digit. “Pass that damned CATSUP or I’ll pass it for you.” His finger trembled as he finished his idle fulmination. It was then that the waitress, a portly woman smelling of bacon fat and saltines, offered the menacing geriatric another bottle of ketchup—as it so clearly stated on the label. “That’s not the point,” retorted the ancient frame of a man, pushing the waitress’ offering aside. “I want his bottle.”

There was a slight scrape of chairs as others in the establishment began to take notice of our tomatoey squabble. I glanced around casually aware of each of the patrons’ whereabouts. “Listen, you coniferous lout,” I began. “The bottle shall remain in my care.” It was then that the pension collecting fool, spoon in hand, lunged at my bottle. I immediately reached into my pocket retrieving various baubles and flung them at my attacking foe. For a second he wavered not knowing what to make of the trinkets bombarding his matter encrusted eyes. Appreciative of the time my daring act had allotted me, I snatched my ketchup bottle from the counter to my right as he once again regained his senses and grappled for its cool, glassy smoothness. It was then, from what I can fathom from eyewitness accounts and court records, that he slipped on a rogue bauble and was taken to the floor, grasping an aged hip in pain. Again praising the extra seconds awarded me, and to the ignorance of the others around me, I gently placed my ketchup bottle next to his plate, now half-filled with hash browns and congealed sausage links, and with everyone else rushing to the senile grandfather’s attention, I casually hovered over his steaming coffee and expunged the contents of my mouth, a sense of righteous indignation filling me.

I then placed six dollars and change on the counter and made my way to the door satisfied in the knowledge that the sexagenarian would soon drink my loogie. The marveled patrons eyed me warily as I strolled toward the exit. “It’s KETCHUP!” I shrieked as I exited the establishment. The door closed. It was done.

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