Fusion

"So here's the rule:" Jeb said, "we take turns. If you don't know what a dish is, you order it."

Dorothy looked uneasy, but George had that sly smile creeping onto his face. "I'm game," he said.

"I don't know ..." Dorothy said, her widened eyes flickering around the menu-turned-exam sheet. Jeb had, of course, chosen a venue that provided no explanations for its dishes. "How do we know it's all ok to eat?"

"C'mon, it's a busy restaurant, clean, polite staff, people eating, drinking, enjoying themselves, they'd be closed down if they cooked anything terrible."

"Yeah, go on," said Laura.

"What's a samosa?" asked Vince.

"Your entree," Jeb replied. "Don't worry - they're tasty. George, what's camembert pakora?"

"Mmm, deep fried French cheese, but in an Indian style."

"Laura, feel like some baba unagi kabayaki ghanoush?"

"I'm not in the mood for turkish bread or eel this evening, thanks."

"Fair enough, Dorothy, sweet chili spanakopita for you?"

"You are such a smug yuppie prick sometimes Jeb," she said, placing the menu down in a resigned fashion.

"I'll take that as a yes ... hmm, we probably have enough entrees to share, onto the mains?"

"Wait up," said Vince. "You haven't answered one yet."

Jeb nodded, inviting the question.

"What are ... nachos?"

"Alternate layers of corn chips, cheese and salsa on a plate, sometimes topped with sour cream and guacamole. Is that on the menu?"

"It says 'Canadian Nachos'".

"Ah, same as before, but with extra maple syrup and moral superiority. I don't think I'll go for it tonight - we've already got a lot of grease."

They all turned to the next page of the menu.

"What the-?" said George. "Is that written in Japanese or something?"

"Not sure," said Jeb. "I think it might be Chinese, maybe the traditional character set. Were you thinking of number 22?"

"I am now."

"Number 23," said Laura.

"Number 24," said Dorothy.

"Number 25," said Vince.

"What the hell kind of crazy restaurant is this anyway?" asked Dorothy, looking around again.

"Fusion," said Jeb, waving his hand dismissively.

"Does that mean it explodes?"

The stout Mr Pundigrion, eavesdropping hungrily from the next table over, suppressed a chuckle. He was eating alone, and wished the waitress would return, as he gazed at his half-full glass of tap water for the thirtieth time.

"It means it's all sorts of food from all over the place mixed in together," said Vince.

They looked at the next item on the menu.

"Jeb, what are the Moules et Frites et Ivoire?" asked Laura.

"Mmm, buttery mussels with french fries in a Belgian style, but with a range of Congolese spices. People get hallucinations."

And on they went through a European stretch of the menu, Canard Roti Prata, Sivens Ieksas In The Hole and Wiener Schnitzpaella, Jeb batting away their questions with grinning trivia champ ease. Before they reached the Swahili, the waitress returned. Jeb rattled through the orders while Mr Pundigrion looked on, despairingly.

"And for you, sir?" the waitress asked.

"Right ..." started Jeb in anticipation, but was cut off by George.

"Hang on. Jeb, you missed your chance to order - you knew all the dishes."

"But ..."

"Sorry Jeb," said Laura. "We didn't make the rules ..."

"It's a shame," said Dorothy, "the food looks really good."

"Yeah and I'm hungry," said Vince. "I don't think I can wait for you to decide."

Jeb looked around the table for a moment, outflanked. He turned to the waitress.

"I won't be eating tonight, thanks, but please bring a bottle of your most incomprehensible wine."