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Infestation at the Ganymede Restaurant

by Beth LaBuff  
1/03/2015 / Short Stories

"Plutonian doggie!" I squealed in my excitement as I snapped the space communicator shut. Images of platinum coins jitterbugged across my brain as I considered my happy fate. My restaurant, the Ganymede, was to be featured on SNN the Solar News Network, on the Andromeda Telesto Show. The trumpet fanfare of the show's theme song always had a dizzying effect when it tickled my inner ears! But that was miniscule compared to the bedazzling effect Ms. Andromeda Telesto, herself, had on those who watched. She deftly and suavely interviewed her guests. Her plush velvet voice mesmerized while her cerulean hair, tied up with a madras plaid ribbon, bobbed in time to the conversation.

In two days I would be the envy of every being from Mercury to Pluto when Andromeda Telesto would enter through the glass and chrome door of the Ganymede Restaurant. I grabbed a mop and began swabbing the black and white checkered floor because today. . .we were to open in 30 minutes. Customers travel Route 99 from all corners of the Milky Way to arrive at our door in savory anticipation of our galaxy-acclaimed Triton [email protected]!ch.

While my mind meandered, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a dusky furry blur dash from under the counter and into the kitchen. My eyes were as wide as flying-saucers as I hopscotched into the kitchen. I flipped the light switch, which sent the creature scurrying behind a crate marked "Product of Alpha Centauri." The realization that the Ganymede had a rodent infestation dawned. I had a scant two days to find a solution. I high-tailed it down to the local hardware shop and purchased one of those humane catch-and-release box traps. I assembled it, then nestled the trap in a corner behind the food service counter. Confident that the problem would resolve itself, business-as-usual occupied the next two days.

On the scheduled day of the interview, as I awaited the SNN crew's arrival, a mechanical whir-clank sounded from the corner behind the counter. I had no time to assess the entrapment as the crew began carting in video equipment, stacking boxes and bags in the corner. Then, restaurant patrons' forks paused mid-air when Ms. Andromeda Telesto entered the Ganymede with her usual pomp and flair. Her signature cerulean hair, tied with the madras plaid ribbon, was even more vibrant in real time. Everything was ready for the taping. I nervously straightened my shirt as Ms. Telesto took a cursory glance around the restaurant. She rolled her eyes, and then, in a not-so-velvet voice, meant only for her crew's hearing, she rasped, "The sooner we finish, the sooner we can leave this one-burner rat-trap."

The slight to my restaurant stung. I was proud of The Ganymede Restaurant located on the moon Ganymede, that orbited Jupiter. The food we prepared here was served with pride. I had even, out of kindness and with good intentions, prepared and boxed a lunch of our galaxy-famous Triton [email protected]!ches for the crew to take with them. I had been looking forward to doing this interview, desiring to carefully explain how our beef was selected from choice steers raised in the Taurus Star System. I wanted to demonstrate the tenderizing process while the aroma of imported spices from Alpha Centauri permeated the restaurant. I had hoped they would be thunderstruck as the meat sizzled over a flame acquired from the Draco constellation.

My hopes further plummeted when Ms. Telesto purred, "We have three minutes for the segment." Her theme song echoed through the restaurant as the taping began. It felt like I'd just started to explain about the choice beef, the spices, and the flame, when the wrap-it-up signal was given.

Andromeda Telesto and her crew quickly packed and exited the Ganymede. It was then I noticed the box lunch of Triton [email protected]!ches that I'd prepared for the crew remained on the counter . . . and what WAS missing was the catch-and-release trapthe humane one. This time, I allowed my meandering thoughts to fancy that it heard a plush velvet shriek while cerulean hair, tied up with madras plaid ribbon, bobbed to the scamper of a dusky furry blur.

Copyright Beth LaBuff 2017

Before Beth LaBuff and her husband, Tilman, moved to the high desert of Arizona, she lived most of her life surrounded by the cornfields of Adair County, Iowa.

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