Making the Most of the Mustard


What is this place?

"Here we are, A-Dave!" Mike announces, sitting down on a cinder block. With a degree of mounting unease I see that the urban garden is actually an assembly of mismatched pots with an array of near-dead plants. One in the corner seems to be thriving, though, so I take a seat beside it, hoping that the leafy fronds will offer me some camouflage.

A sudden rustling elicits a yelp.

"Whoa, what's up, Dave?" Mike says, startled. His sandwich has shed the brown-paper wrapping, the probable source of the rustling noise.

But I'm a clever boy, and I know that, just as I have used this overgrown weed to hide myself, they have used the noise of Mike's sandwich wrapper to disguise their own noises. In fact, I'm so clever that I choose to play the oblivious card once more. They cannot read my mind, I am sure, so they must not know that I know.

And if they can read my mind? Well, then I know they know I know.

But wait... then they also know I know they-

"Dude, speak to me," Mike hollers, a look of concern on his face. "You're freakin' me out, man!"

"Sorry, I was thinking," I answer, struggling to keep my voice from quavering. No, I must be strong! They can hear the fear in my voice, regardless of their ability to read or not read my mind.

"And now I will eat this sandwich," I proclaim loudly, with sure certainty. With that amount of confidence, no-one would be able to see my inner weakness, not even them.

Mike throws me a confused look before starting into his own sandwich, a befuddling assembly of various deli meats, processed cheeses, and what could possibly be a mayonnaise derivative.

We eat in relative silence. Now and again something skitters across the brick walls around us, prompting an investigative glare from myself. One day I will catch one of them in my sight.

Something pokes my shoulder, something firm but still relentingly fleshy. They have become tired of watching, and are now taking action against me. Obviously I have figured out too many of their secrets!

A battle cry passes my lips.

"Ar-aaaaaagh!" I holler, beating the offending figure with the stump of my sandwich. I knew I could trust it!

But my cry becomes a dull moan as I see what I have done in my haste to subdue my attacker. Mike stands beside me, slathered with mellow mustard.

My sabotage of his shirt sends him into a fit of swearing. With a leather shoe-clad foot he punishes one of the earthenware pots, which is, unfortunately, his better.

I shiver and shudder in sympathy. And then I realize that I should run, before Mike's feet or fists find themselves planted in my much more yielding face and backside.

Maybe in the confusion they will lose sight of me. Mike is making quite the scene, after all.

Sandwich stump still clenched, I make a dash back to the street.

The End

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