Harvey Calico sat down in a quiet, dark corner of the little restaurant. There was soft candlelight everywhere, exactly the kind of cozy atmosphere that he loved. It was how he ate at home, when he ate at home, which was rarely these days. He had money for servants, but didn't want to spend it, and he would rather be waited on than fix a meal himself if he could help it. So, he ate his meals out quite a lot of the time.
The restaurant had been recommended by a pest in his building, but pests sometimes have good recommendations, and so he decided to try this new place, just blocks from his apartment. It was supposed to have a menu filled with comfort foods, and he enjoyed being comforted by a good, hot, meat and potatoes meal.
His chair was against the wall, and it was comfortable in a way that restaurant chairs aren't, yet he was in a restaurant, so this was another of those exceptions that prove the rule. He could watch all the other guests from where he sat, but he wasn't much interested in that amusement tonight. He was just very hungry.
Soon a waiter appeared. He held a menu in his large hands, but seemed reluctant to hand it over and release it to him.
Instead, the waiter, a tall man dressed in a dark waiter's uniform, leaned forward and said "May I recommend the chicken pot pie, Sir?"
Harvey looked at the waiter, eyeing the menu he'd heard such good things about.
"No," said Harvey, "I rather think I'd like to look at the menu."
The waited stood up straight, looking slightly offended.
"Really, sir" he said, "the pot pie is tonight's special. It's made with the chef's own special crust, gluten free and exactly like the most buttery, flaky, wheat flour crust you've ever eaten, but without the gluten. And the chicken, an amazing combination of white and dark meat, with flavor that explodes in your mouth."
Harvey wasn't sure he wanted something to explode in his mouth, and he wasn't, as far as he knew, gluten sensitive, so the waiter's appeal didn't sway him. He was about to insist again on seeing the menu when the waiter spoke once more.
"The chicken pot pie, sir, it is a gastronomical delight, guaranteed or double your money back, plus a whole apple pie to take home with you."
Harvey considered this, and although he would have liked a long look at the menu, he loved chicken pot pie. He also knew he could always return here whenever he wished and try the other offerings, as it was within walking distance of his home. Still, he hesitated. Then he spoke.
"If you were indeed giving away apple pies to take home, whether I liked the pot pie or not, then I would indeed order the pot pie, perhaps even two pot pies."
"Sir," the increasingly irritated waiter responded, "are you insane? We'd go broke."
At that moment, Calico had a thought.
"These apple pies of yours, they too have a gluten-free crust?"
This time the waiter looked incredulous, as if he couldn't believe anyone could or would make such a crazy connection.
"Sir, our pastry chef believes this gluten-free trend is a passing fad, and he refuses to make his pie crust out of anything but wheat flour. You certainly can't expect him to go against his beliefs in such a matter, surely you jest when you imply such a thing."
Now it was Harvey who looked incredulous.
"My good man," he said to his waiter, "surely it is you who are toying with me. Why would you make a big deal out of a gluten-free chicken pot pie, and then offer me, as an incentive for ordering it, a non-gluten-free apple pie?"
At this the waiter stormed off, and after a few minutes, when there was no sign that he would return anytime soon, Calico got up and left. He would dine on a frozen dinner tonight, what he still referred to as a "TV dinner", and would indeed watch television while consuming it. Nothing on TV could be as inane as the way this culinary establishment conducted business.