I don’t like to brag, and normally I don’t feel the need to boast – but what I am about to lay out in front of you is definitely worthy of banners and parades and being shouted about from the highest of ramparts in the castle.
Sometimes I pretend that Headquarters is a castle . . . It makes (Irving Brown) Socks sleep better at night – because it makes him feel safer from the marauding hordes . . . And that is important to both him and I.
Our major tremendous event occurs at an odd location . . . A place by the name of Red Lobster.
Wait – you’ve heard of it?! How exciting!!
Well – the story begins while I was minding my own business – in the lab – where my dog sleeps . . . The challenge rang out lout and clear from the televisions tube. “Endless Shrimp!” It trumpeted at me. “Endless Shrimp!!” It continued to bellow. And then – again – before I could alter my course to gain my footing I was slapped with a final gauntlet across my cheek . . . “Only for a limited time.”
I knew that I could not escape the battle that was to come.
An evening came – when the stars were aligned . . . and I knew that the time had come. I went to the restaurant. I sat at the table and dug in for what was going to be a long long night.
The first wave that hit consisted of an order of Garlic Shrimp Scampi and Hand Breaded Shrimp. They were coming two at a time – and no sooner than they had arrived – a request for the next two plates was put in . . . This time it was for Cajun Shrimp and Coconut Shrimp Bites. I was feeling great. I had a goal and there would be no stopping me.
I had raced to around 32 shrimp – but – unfortunately the breading was starting to take a real toll. My assistant – who kept risking life and limb by running into the place that they called the “kitchen” suggested that if I was really going to be in it for the long haul – then I should focus on the unbreaded varieties . . . It felt like a small defeat – but I had to keep moving forward. An order of Teriyaki Grilled shrimp and another order of the Garlic Shrimp Scampi came to the table. I officially ate one of the Hand Breaded Shrimps as number 50 – just to prove that I was still in charge of the table.
From this point, things started to slow down greatly. I was starting to feel twinges of pain. The lights didn’t look quite as bright . . . And then I started to repeat – over and over in my head – a mantra that I had heard a ragged child sing into the misty night of a battle . . . long since though lost.
The blackest black came at night. It’s darkness broken – only – by the candle’s light . . .
His voice haunts me to this day. His song drove me on.
The Coconut Shrimp Bites were gone as was another order of both the Cajun Shrimp and the Teriyaki Grilled Shrimp. The shrimp tails were piling up. I had set my number and I was done.
Seventy-Three shrimp were vanquished at that table. Seventy-Three shrimp that will never be able to bring their form of malice and tiny discontent to the countryside. My job was done – and I am happy to say that it was done right.
On the way home, even with my head swimming in the elated clouds of victory . . . I was feeling the cold hard effects of the long hard fight. There were leftovers in the car that were giving me fits of remorse . . . and even to this day – when a commercial comes on the television – trying to tempt me back into battle with it’s cry of “Endless Shrimp!!” I look away. I had made it through my test and I was happy to have walked away in one piece.
As a quick aside to anyone foolish enough to want to jump into the fray themselves . . . If I had to rate the shrimp, – which after all of this – I would be dumb not to – I would say that the Cajun were my favorite – they were very flavorful and had a small bit of spice to them. The Teriyaki were also very tasty – if you like the sweetness of teriyaki sauce – which I do – to a point. The Garlic Scampi Shrimp were a little watery and not as wonderful as I was expecting – which was sad. And both of the Breaded varieties were fine – just too heavy for what I was going for that night. The Coconut Shrimp Bites did come with a sweet pineapple-coconut chutney that set them apart from the normal cocktail sauce that comes with the Hand Breaded. All in all – very accomplished – and tasty foes.