A very special off-broadway show

The restaurant was packed. I somehow knew that there would be a spot for a single person at the bar, so I squeezed through and got a seat. Right in front of a ceramic cat. next to it, freshly cut flowers. Behind the flowers, an open kitchen. Flames, grease, boiling oil, 5 chefs, each one of them specialized in a particular dish. I was squeezed between an older man to the left and a young urban professional with his financial times to the right. The ceramic cat smiled at me. Its six whiskers covered with a thin layer of airborne grease. Around its neck, a large plastic tag. “I love you!.” It was a beautiful composition. The cat, the flowers, the cats in the background, three bottles with oil and sauces in front of me at the counter. I ordered my food and stared back at the cat. Looked at the heart. Looked at the freshly cut flowers. The cat moved. It seemed to have moved. A tiny bit at least. Maybe a whisker? The eye? It took a split second for me to realize that it was not the cat that was moving, but a small, male Blattella germanica, maybe around a centimeter in length. It was interesting to see one right there, at noon, in a relatively bright restaurant, with all the movement and all the excitement around, the noise. The little roach explored the face of the ceramic cat in front of me. It was very interested in the whiskers, performed little tricks on them. All in a high level of professionalism. As if he were all by himself looking at this interesting cat sculpture. My appetizer arrived and I asked the waiter if he knew about the bug. The waiter took a napkin and moved it as if to touch the bug, not to hurt it though, so our little actor went behind the scenes for a little while, continued the exploration on the kitchen side of the gigantic white ceramic cat.
I was not even half done with my appetizer and our protagonist arrived on the glass of the old cooling unit which was part of the bar in front of me. He walked down on the glass quite graciously, decided to explore the bottles with the oils in front of me. The bottles must have been delicious. The brownish liquids in them had various degrees of transparency which made the insect’s camouflage work well or not at all. It was the colored one on which he wanted to reach the top. It was impossible. No matter how hard he tried to walk up the slippery glass, it did not work. The legs would move yet the body would stay in one place. The antennae moved wildly back and forth. I guess after a while this stopped being fun. The bug decided to explore me now. We looked at each other with a smile, and the cockroach started walking towards me just to say hello as it seemed. It was a bit as if we had not seen each other for a long, long time and now he finally wanted to shake my hand. I was not quite as excited as he was though. I blew him back towards the bottles. Once, twice, three times. He finally understood that our conversation would not take place today and trotted away towards the kitchen. I wished him luck. I know that for every one of these bugs we see, there are several who actually follow the protocol of their species and do not come out during the day.
I am sure there are many of them in the counter, in the kitchen in many places in the restaurant. I will probably not go back there. Not really because I saw the little guy perform his little tricks. It is the summer, the temperatures are unbearable and so is the humidity. I can not blame the little artist that he was out to stunt around the statue of the cat.
I am just worried that he will be discovered. There will be trouble, poison, death. The food will certainly not improve though all the chemicals.
I will just avoid the restaurant for a while. I have not seen one of these little guys in years. It will probably be years until I see another one of them again. I hope.

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This page contains a single entry by Witold published on June 26, 2002 10:47 PM.

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