My Strange Ketchup Story

Silly things happen when bloggers talk to each other. For example, yesterday's picture of a bottle o'ketchup reminded me of this, and Liss told me I ought to post it. So here we go:

A couple of winters ago, my wife Kim and I were at this nice little restaurant here in Toronto. We were at a table for two in the window, and there was a party of four seated near us. Cozy, quiet weeknight.

Well, about halfway through the meal, this weird guy comes into the restaurant: about six foot tall, red parka, black backpack, Rick Springfield haircut (seriously). He storms up to the foursome, glares at them, and shouts, "You have no right to contact my family! Stay away from my family!" and storms out again. Tries and fails to throw the backpack straight through the plate glass window as he stomps by outside; instead the pack just bounced back in his face.

That pretty much got my attention, you know?

Because I'm a nosy bastard, I couldn't help listening in to the foursome's conversation after that: it wasn't just a random crazy, but a family thing. Divorce case of some kind, infighting, off his meds, yadda yadda. Wev. I got bored eavesdropping after a few minutes and turned my attention back to the shrimp scampi. Nothing to do with me, right?

Except that, later on, just as Kim and I are tucking into dessert, the guy comes back. "Ah, crap," I muttered. Kim, seeing him, shook her head. "I could've skipped the floor show," she said.

Well, same thing, dude comes stomping in, right up to the foursome, but this time he's reaching into his backpack for something. He glares at them and, as he's reaching, he says, in the coldest voice I have ever heard in my life, "This is your blood."

Oh shit, I thought, we're all going to die.

Nah.

This being a crunchy granola neighbourhood in a Canadian city, he'd gone out and gotten pretty much the only thing he could easily get on the street in the evening: not a gun, but a brand-new squeeze bottle of ketchup from the corner convenience store. And he's unscrewing the cap on it as he points it at the foursome.

Oh, you total asshole, I thought, just don't.

You know how new bottles of ketchup have that plastic seal thingie over the neck for security? Well, he points the thing at the foursome, seal still on it. So he squeezes, and he had to squeeze really hard because the bottle's still sealed. Pressure builds, he squeezes even harder, the security seal gives, and a fucking GEYSER of backlogged ketchup goes flying, SPA-LOOSH, in every direction. It's all over the four of them, it's all over him, it's all over the walls, the ceiling, the windows, everywhere.

And the only thing that got missed? Was me and Kim. We're this clean little oasis in a ketchup desert.

So he leaves, having satisfied himself with an evening's gooey revenge, and the by-now-thoroughly-freaked-out wait staff hustles over to start trying to clean things up -- all of them muttering darkly about danger pay. But the foursome, no no, they've seen CSI, and they know you can't disturb the crime scene until Grissom shows up. So they wave off the wait staff and for the next twenty minutes there's ketchup dripping everywhere while they call the police and wait forlornly for them to arrive (like they're actually going to come and log the evidence of assault by sugary tomato juice).

Meanwhile, our poor waitress comes by and asks us how the tiramisu is. "It smells a little more tomatoey than I usually like it," I couldn't help saying, just because I'm a mean old man.

That pretty much fucked up our evening. On the other hand, Kim and I agreed later on that we had in fact been witness to pretty much the most childish thing either of us had ever seen a grown adult do. So I guess it wasn't a total loss.

Anyway. That's my strange ketchup story.

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