When asked to write a restaurant review, one first needs the time for the world to cease spinning before the proverbial pen is put to paper. Who knew after a night out I’d see the sun rise from the cold tiles of my bathroom floor? Maybe if I had known, I would never have entered ‘Hagar’s House of Hot Ribs’.
It was with a light heart and a bottle of very nice red that I stepped into this establishment at 7:30 pm sharp. Having phoned ahead to ensure my lady friend and I would be able to get our table quickly, I was assured by someone calling themselves Hagar that, indeed, our table would be ready and waiting for us. This in itself was true, but it would have been nice not to have to sit there for fifteen minutes looking at the residue of leftovers scattered across the table by the previous occupants, who, at best guess, were cave people.
My date and I tried to amuse ourselves by embracing the establishment's ambience by playing, ‘What stain do you think that could be?’ But after we observed one such embellishment on the carpet by our feet, which seemed to indicate mass murder, we chose to cease and sit very quietly, not drawing attention to ourselves.
Luckily, once the dining detritus was removed, my date for the night had an ample enough supply of hand sanitising wipes that we were able to reduce the sticky element of the table and look forward to a meal where our sleeves, or in my case, arm hairs were not stuck to the tabletop.
I must say I’m used to my water being served in clean glasses and a chilled carafe with maybe a hint of lemon. So, I was a little taken aback upon hearing the bathroom tap being run by our esteemed waitress, Loraine, who then walked in with a full plastic jug of ‘freshwater’ and commenced pouring us a drink in two glass jam jars. I was a little taken aback when I realised my jar would have a ‘hint of slater bug’, which was thoughtfully removed by Loraine with her fingers.
Nonetheless, I made the decision to drink only alcohol from that moment on, preferably straight from the bottle.
The ribs were ordered from a menu of little choice. Hot Ribs seemed to be the theme of the night, and these could be described as … well …I can’t bring myself actually to describe them as food, but they were, I thought at the time, cooked.
I found the single sprig of parsley on top of my eight ribs an interesting garnish, but then it lost its flavour when Lorraine plucked its discarded corpse from off our table and aggrandised another diner's meal with it as she walked by.
I was disappointed by the house wine. I’m not sure what year or region it came from, but it had a reminiscent bouquet of cat litter tray. I was also disappointed when I reminded Lorraine that I had actually brought a very lovely dry red, which Lorraine said she and the cook enjoyed and then thanked me for my very unnecessary but thoughtful gift.
About halfway through the second rib, my stomach began speaking to me. Now, this being my first date with this particular lovely young lady, I did actually want to present my very best side to her. Unfortunately, this hope was set alight when I farted loudly at the table.
Upon begging her forgiveness and then excusing myself to go to the gents, I did not realise that I should have brought some kind of soothing balm or spare clothing, particularly trousers, to the date but wished I had.
I was halfway across the dining room floor when an unexpected and totally unwelcome fart exited my body in a loud duck-like trumpet. Unfortunately, the music, which was being pumped through a small cassette player at the front counter, stopped playing at exactly this moment, allowing the echoing nature of my fart to announce itself quite loudly.
I apologised to everyone, and it was then that my sphincter deserted its post.
I grabbed my bottom and began Irish dancing towards the gents, only to be taken over by my lovely date, who was boot-scooting her way to the gents as it was the closest bathroom. I was disappointed that the restroom only had one toilet, but as a gentleman, I allowed my date the privacy of the cubical. I had to avail myself of the sink. Luckily for me, the screams that emanated from both myself and my date covered up any embarrassing flatulence noises.
Let’s just say the ride home was not enjoyable. I am now aware of just how many public toilets there are, from Hagar’s House of Hot Ribs to my house.
My date stayed the night. Don’t get excited. She’s hopefully asleep in my bed and not dead. The poor bedraggled woman stopped groaning about an hour ago. This is a feat of which I am quite jealous.
Having availed myself of all the cooling lotion in the house, including a quart container of vanilla ice cream, which didn't have the soothing effects I was hoping for, as it actually turned out to be vanilla and sticky toffee. I have taken to drinking calamine lotion in the hopes that if I soothe my digestive system from the inside and downwards, I will, at some point in the near future, be able to sit normally and without a rubber ring.
I’m not sure if I will ever be able to face my date, let alone go out in public with her ever again. There are some things that couples go through that bind them together, and then there are some things that crush the ability to look the other person in the eye without toe-crunching embarrassment and horrendous flashbacks. We fall into the second category.
My only recommendation for potential diners who are foolishly still considering this establishment would be… DON’T!
Don’t go there, don’t eat there, don’t order the ribs, don’t use the facilities, especially the gents sink and finally, don’t say you haven’t been warned.
‘Hagar’s House of Hot Ribs’ adds new meaning to the lyric ‘A burning ring of fire.’ A connotation you really do not wish to experience first-hand!
First published in Reedsy Prompt Competition
About the Creator
I have a dark sense of humour, which pervades most of what I write. I'm dyslexic, which pervades most of what I write. My horror work is performed by Mark Wilhem / Frightening Tales. Pandora's Box of Infinite Stories is growing on Substack
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!