Twin Falls, Idaho
Cormac M. | Author | Lost in the chaparral, NM
Three Stars. *First Review.
He walked into the empty cafe and looked at the vinyl booths and the linoleum counters and picked up a menu to glance at it and then put it down again in one smooth motion. His leadgray eyes settled on an old woman wearing an apron and standing behind the counter. Three stars, he said. First review.
The woman smiled. Come again dearheart?
You don’t know what this is.
I’m sorry I guess I don’t.
He walked to the counter and stood before the woman. I am the Reviewer, he said. I have evaluated your business. And your business has received three stars.
Oh my, she said. That’s very kind. The Reviewer didn’t respond but stood there staring at her with his hard eyes. His hands stiffly at his sides as if he stood before some tribunal.
But you haven’t eaten anything, she said.
I have seen the menu. I have seen it before a thousand times. It is a tragedy of man’s mediocrity.
Is there something wrong with the menu?
You have used comic sans font in the menu and you have failed to describe the provenance of your roast beef and you advertise panini sandwiches. That means sandwiches sandwiches.
And your choice of music speaks of your disregard for human excellence.
Well I can change the radio.
That would be a meaningless gesture.
Oh. She stood there worrying her apron hem with her big hands. Would you like some cake, she said. People seem to like that.
I speak for people. I am their delegate. I saw the cake on the counter and I took its measure and it is without merit.
But you haven’t even tried it.
I have not tried your cake but I know your cake. I know of its flour, of its corn syrup. Of the brazen indifference with which you crafted it. You think it is just cake. You are wrong. It is the sum total of you. Of your ability to create, to transcend the world of beasts and build some small fleeting cairn to mark your passing.
She stood there and did not speak.
I will return in one year, he said. I will return and I will review you again. There will be no third review. The Reviewer turned and left.