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1:36pm on Friday, 17th April, 2015:

Pump Action


Following today's riveting staff meeting, I went for lunch. Nothing appealed to me at the canteen (where I usually eat) so I went to the diner instead for a burger.

I eat my burgers old-school: bread, burger, ketchup, bread. They don't add the ketchup to the burger at the counter though, they only add the more expensive sauces. So, after I bought my burger I went to the ketchup dispenser to lather it in whatever the stuff they put in those things is.

The ketchup dispenser is pump action, like a hand soap dispenser only the size of demijohn. I opened up my burger, put it underneath the nozzle, then pumped.

Nothing happened.

Hmm. I tried again.

Again, nothing happened. The pump was going down but nothing was coming out. I figured it was maybe empty, but then again it could have been recently filled and the tube inside wasn't yet full of ketchup.

I pumped it again.

BAM! Ketchup shot out at all angles with the force of a jet hose. What hit my burger bounced off. The rest of it went either on the side of the dispenser or on me. I had a great scythe of it across my chest, penetrating deep into my jacket and shirt. With its being red, it looked as if someone had emptied a shotgun on me.

If being looked at by other people is a measure of popularity, at that moment I was the most popular person in the diner.

I guess that I wasn't the only person to pump the ketchup dispenser. Other people had done so before me but given up. Nevertheless, in their attempt they had put the air in the bottle under pressure. I just happened to be the unlucky person who added enough extra pressure to blast out whatever obstacle was blocking the novel.

I ate my burger on the way to my car, looking for all the world like an extra from a slasher movie. I drove home filling the car with a ketchupy smell that will take days to dissipate. I needed a shower when I got home. My shirt and jacket are in the wash.

I wouldn't care so much but it wasn't a particularly great burger.

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Copyright © 2015 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).