Categories > Original > Humor > Greetings from Thundersborough

Fast Times At A 1950s-Styled Hamburger Restaurant

by Kadrin 1 review

Having reached Sydney, Josh Rogan deals with the Bastards in his life.

Category: Humor - Rating: PG - Genres: Humor - Published: 2005-05-06 - Updated: 2005-05-06 - 2024 words

It was called the White House.

All in all, it was a fairly misleading name. Passers-by noticed that it was a restaurant, but assumed that it was in fact some kind of wacky American politically-themed restaurant, and expected to be able to order burgers named the Washington Monument and Mount Rushmore. The speech the owner gave on such occasions was on tape - it saved his lungs. James had a copy.

"No, you see, it's a 1950s film restaurant, right? It's named after Casablanca, not the actual White House. Casa... blanca? Get it? And before you go on, I know that literally translates to 'house white', but beauty truth, truth beauty."

The tape had never had an answer to the question, "But wasn't Casablanca made in 1943?".

James Filmore - named Jimmy by most of those who knew him, Jimmy the Bastard by a fair few of these, and a good deal of even more unprintable names by some of those - pushed one of the White House's doors opened and moved with a kind of sinuous grace that would have been much more impressive if anyone had been looking towards the table he'd arranged, making a point of eavesdropping on the tables he passed. None of the conversations were very interesting, but the people talking behind his table when he sat down managed to draw his attention for a few moments.

"Look," said one, "they've only got one job, and one salary, but they've said they might take us both. If they do, we'll have to split it. So here's my proposal - you pull out your application right now, or I'll tell them about your hobby producing amateur gore films and you'll be blacklisted from the industry. Do you really want your prospective employers hearing about /Siblings in Carnage/?"

"I have a counterproposal," riposted the other, smoothly. "I stay in the race, you pull out, and I don't tell our prospective employers about your prediliction for Japanese pornography."

"You drive a hard bargain, Bentley. I suggest that the situation might - might - be mollified if you get out of architecture and consider a profession in organised crime, or there may be confusion and certain fists may break certain noses."

"Rowan, I strongly suggest you go found a university or something, else I can't account for any and all Mafia-styled executions by anonymous masked strangers in the night."

"Sorry to keep you waiting," Josh Rogan said, slipping into the booth seat on the other side of Jimmy the Bastard. "Thompson had an emergency."

Jimmy did not inquire as to the nature of Thompson's emergency - that was not Jimmy the Bastard's style. "I've been listening to these two," he said, jerking his head back to indicate the table he'd been eavesdropping on and making no effort to drop his voice, "and I've been thinking that maybe it /would /be a good idea to just go on a mad rampage and kill everyone I meet. You remember when we robbed that liquor store, and all those people kept coming in, and you got the idea to steal their wallets?"

Rogan closed his eyes and muttered some kind of mantra under his breath, involving the phrases 'you /and /Thompson' and 'why can't I associate with /normal /people?' "No," he explained to Jimmy the Bastard, "I don't remember that, because that didn't happen to us. It happened to two characters from /Pulp Fiction/."

Jimmy the Bastard raised an eyebrow. "Are you sure?"


"I'm sure I remember it."

"Maybe you remember the movie."

"No, I really do. I remember it very strongly. I broke someone's kneecap."

"Then go find Quentin Tarantino and make him apologise for plagiarising your life. Look..."

"I /will/, at that. Where does he live?"

"Los Angeles, I think. Jimmy..."

"No, I think you're getting confused. Los Angeles was the setting for /Pulp Fiction/." He looked around him, taking in the decor of the restaurant, and enlightenment visibly started to dawn - just as Rogan considered it the perfect moment to leap in and start talking, Jimmy the Bastard started to talk again. "Which /also /featured a scene in a /1950s themed restaurant/! All the pieces are falling into place!"

"There are no pieces. There is no place. If there were pieces and a place, the pieces would not be falling into the place. Look, a Marilyn-Monroe-styled waitress is coming towards us, grab a menu and order."

Jimmy the Bastard grabbed one of the three menus from the booth table and started flipping through the vast arrays of hamburgers the White House offered, as a Marilyn Monroe stepped up to the side of their table. "Hi, hon," she said to Rogan, not bothering with the standard breathy voice. "What can I getcha?"

Rogan visibly thought for a moment, then raised one finger. "Just get me a Coke and..."

"Cherry Coke?"

"No thanks."

"Vanilla Coke?"

"No, really. But..."

"New Coke?" Marilyn Monroe was starting to look worried.

"/No/, and besides, that's from the 1980s."

"What /do /you want in your Coke, hon?"

"/Nothing/! Just a Coca-Cola, please! And a burger with a silly name."

"All our burgers have silly names, hon."

"All /right/. Give me a Maltese Falcon."

"Comin' right up. And you, hon?"

Jimmy the Bastard put down his menu. "Same again."

Marilyn wrote a precise '2' at the bottom of her order pad. "OK, that'll be just a few minutes." She left.

"So what's in the Maltese Falcon?" Jimmy the Bastard asked.

Rogan shrugged. "How should I know? It's not like I've ever been here before."

"But you didn't look at a menu or anything."

"Jimmy the Bastard, this is a 1950s film restaurant. I just named an important part of a random film. They all taste pretty much the same anyway."

"You have no taste," Jimmy the Bastard replied.

"That's what Thompson tells me whenever I don't eat one of his bagels. When I /do /eat one of his bagels he screams about stealing food from the mouths of babes..."

Jimmy the Bastard, as ever, was not listening. "Why did you want to meet here, anyway? It's not that great. All the waitresses are Marilyn Monroe and all the waiters are Buddy Holly... that, or incredible geeks."

"I've heard stories. Supposedly the owner hasn't actually seen more than three films from the 1950s, in case he stops liking the era once he learns more about it. Look - all the posters are from /Casablanca/."

Jimmy looked around him, at the endless parade of Humphrey Bogarts and Ingrids Bergman staring at him from the walls. "It /was /a good movie," he said in its defence.

"Does it deserve this many posters?"


"In one place?"

"That's a harder question. You haven't answered mine, anyway - why'd you bring me to a place this crappy?"

Rogan closed his eyes again, this time almost catlike. "Because my own desire for happiness is far, far less than my desire to see you suffer."

"You're a wonderful person, Rogan, and by 'wonderful' I mean 'worthy of an agonising death'."

"Exactly what I was about to say about you, Jimmy the Bastard. I can feel the love in this room."

Marilyn Monroe had returned, placing a Maltese Falcon in front of Rogan, who opened his eyes when the plate /clack/ed onto the table. She set his entirely unadulterated Coke in front of the burger, giving him a quick and not entirely professional smile. Then she put down Jimmy's, with nowhere near as much care as she'd invested in Rogan, and sashayed away.

"She put my Coke in front of your plate." Jimmy sounded most affronted.

"One of the perks of not being a... well, a bastard, Jimmy."

"Everyone's prejudiced against me just because..."

"'re an entirely apalling excuse for a human being."

"I was going to say my haircut."

"Which is an entirely apalling excuse for a haircut. It suits you."

"You're just on fire today, Rogan. We should really put you out. And just to be sure you're safe, we should hold you under the water we use to put you out until the bubbles stop."

"Yes, engaging in witty banter is quite refreshing." Rogan took a sip from one of the glasses of Coke before him, and set it back down before continuing. "But we have higher things to worry about."

"You said you needed to discuss a 'matter of some importance'. Who do you want killed?"

"Too many people to count... what? Not all matters of some importance involve killing!"

"All the good ones do."

Rogan shook his head, and took a bite of his Maltese Falcon. Jimmy followed suit, and then looked down at his bitten burger, frowning. "There's pineapple in this burger."

"And?" Rogan took another bite. It was better than he expected, and the sauce gave it an extra flavour - the menu proclaimed it to be 'MacGuffin Farms Ketchup'.

"I hate pineapple on burgers."

"And you say I have no taste. Anyway - no killing, but I do need to talk to you."

"About what?"

"Last week, Thompson and I took out a loan at our bank."

"You have a joint account?" Jimmy the Bastard managed to look at Josh Rogan with the most suggestive eyebrows ever half-raised.

"Stop thinking right now... you're wrong anyway, whatever you're thinking. Anyway, then you turned up at our doorstep a few days later, claiming to be a representative from our bank and demanding that we give you money or you would break our legs. You would have been rather more convincing, I must say, if you'd actually known the name of said bank."

"I would have. Er... could you tell it to me?"

"Not on your life. Not on mine, which I value rather more highly. You then continued a campaign of harassment that's been escalating until last night, when I found a horse's head in my bed and I wouldn't have minded so much if you'd /cut the damn thing off the horse/. I want you to stop, or I'm going to hurt you very badly."

"I know all this, Rogan," Jimmy the Bastard said, waving off the threat of his own terrible torture. "Whose benefit are you saying it for?"

"The people sitting around us, who will stand as witnesses for me in the event of a trial after I've hurt you very badly."

Jimmy took a contemplative bite of his burger, eyeing Rogan and chewing slowly. "You look serious, my man," he said.

"I'm always serious, Jimmy the Bastard."

"All right. Let me make a deal with you."
"Is the deal that you stop and I get to hurt you anyway?"

"The deal is that I stop, if you pay for this meal."

Rogan looked at his Maltese Falcon, and then at Jimmy's, before picking up the menu and flipping to the burger section. A quick inspection of the prices later, he looked up at Jimmy again. "Done," he replied.

"Excellent. I shall now order..."

"Unless your next few words are 'just kidding' or 'a hideous beating', I'd advise you not to continue."

"A hideous beating, just kidding. Well, I'm glad we've had this little talk."

"I'm glad it's over." Rogan took another bite of his burger, closing his eyes for a third time.

Jimmy the Bastard stood up, edged his way out of the booth, and then turned back for a moment. "By the way, Thompson wants us both to come around next week for popcorn and DVDs. You up for it?"

"Given that I live there too, yeah," Rogan replied, leaning back. "I'll show /Evil Dead/. You seen that yet?"


"You really should."

"Guess I will next week. Later, Rogan."

"Later, Jimmy the Bastard."

His eyes closed, Rogan didn't see Jimmy the Bastard leave the restaurant, only hearing his footsteps. Once he thought that Jimmy was at least reasonably out of earshot, he murmured to himself: "The moral of this story is, sometimes the people you hate most are the friends you can least do without... and Jimmy the Bastard is a really funny name."

"Amen on both counts!" added the connoisseur of Japanese pornography.

Rogan opened his eyes, and beckoned Marilyn Monroe over. "Can I have the bill, please?"
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