Stalin’s Breakfast (Chapter 3) – Issue 16

Vladivostock – I’m sure there were more sausages last time.

The first visit after the loss of the toast, I was filled with trepidation. A look at the picture on the menu allayed my fears as the break-fast looked hearty and complete in terms of the actual plate the non-bread ingredients were housed on.

stalin's no sausageThis passive bliss continued until another fateful day, not long enough after the toast issue for the emotional and psychical devas-tation to have fully worn off.
The
climate was almost the same, it was actually in the same climatic season that this further blow came, thus sullying an otherwise idyllic summer.
I’d followed all the proper procedures to repeat the pleasure of the breakfast experience: I’d walked the four-or-so miles along the beach, listening to the mood of the sea and chilling out to the point where driftwood would be more anxious and hung up than me; I’d rested a little on a wonderfully situated bench surveying my ancient path to this point; and, I’d remembered my money. Sadly, these routines had lulled me into a false sense of emotional security; what awaited me was more shocking than a Eurovision Song Contest entrant, or the headline news of the day that announced another bit of Britain plc had been sold to overseas investors. No, what I found in the pub was much more radical and insidious, yet a mere microcosm of the very political machinations that produce both above mentioned horrors.
At first, I did a Laurel and Hardy type double-take; gesturing with my hand wiping across my face, removing the smile I had entered the place with, and replacing it with a comedic grimace. If you could imagine a smiley emoticon being wiped to a frown expression, then you may get the picture of desolation that overtook me on seeing the menu that day. I even looked on the other side of the menu in disbelief, wondering whether I was reading the correct meal description. Now I understood why a cat looks behind the TV to see where the mouse had disappeared to. Two f-words immediately entered my befuddled brain: flummoxed and flabbergasted. I looked around the pub for guidance and a possible explanation for the outrage that presented itself in glossy and well-defined visual splendour. The older man in the corner was assessing his luck in the racing paper, a couple in the nearby booth were too much in love to realise that their breakfast was being undermined by the darkest forces of commercial legerdemain, and the look I got from the other punter was one of studied resentment.
On the menu I saw not A sausage, more like THE sausage! What used to be a sausage amongst a triumvirate of palatal delectation, had now become the one and only of its ilk, sitting without remorse or apology behind the oversized breakfast mushroom. The description unabashedly stated the singular that had been plural, and to add indignation to insult, this diminution of psuedo pork scratchings actually cost twenty-pence more. Luckily, the menu was laminated and it resisted my tears, as I, feeling politically betrayed but extremely hungry, bit the bullet and ordered the travesty in my best English stoical voice, proud in the knowledge that at least I don’t need Viagra for my upper lip. Another dose of Josip syrup!

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