Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Consequences of Split Pea Soup

In the early afternoon a man in a grey hat sat at a table drinking a glass of iced tea. The beverage was an un-seasonal choice, it was mid-november, and snow was falling gently on the man's grey hat. The staff of the small cafe had abandoned the man to his glass of iced tea an hour ago. He was innocently waiting at his outdoor table for a simple bowl of split pea soup. The cashier told him it would be brought to his table. His request of a table to be placed outside was unusual, but somehow the manager had been convinced that it was the only rational place for this man to sit.

The only thing that was remarkable about the man's attire were the sporadic burn marks that mottled his grey suit and hat. His tie was straight and black, and his shoes were somehow darker than black. The shoes were obviously polished with care, yet their darkness swallowed any light that came into contact them, as if he was standing in two puddles of darkness.

Passers-by chortled and snorted to each other. They laughed at the mans burned, out-dated, clothing. One brave soul asked the man "Where did you get your hat?" and then quickly answering his own question "A fire sale?" It was not a good joke, and the man in grey gave a cold stare that removed any sense of mirth from the passerby. The young man scurried off into the falling snow, giving periodic glances over his shoulder.

When he finished his iced tea, the man in scorched clothes, stood up walked slowly into the cafe, took out a book of matches, and busied himself with the task of setting the building on fire. As the fire took hold, and began to climb the wall the man grabbed the nearest waitress and repeated his request for a bowl of split pea soup. Unable to comply the waitress screamed for her life.

No one died in the fire, but on the other hand the man in the grey suit could not be accounted for. Police sketch artists made attempt after attempt to capture the likeness of the man. Each sketch was a failure, when the witnesses was given the chance to examine the portraits, they invariably said that the sketch looked nothing like the man in the grey suit.

Never make arsonists wait for their soup.

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