Was there ever a crueller mistress than false hope? Today life dealt me a savage blow, a blow from which it is doubtful I will ever recover; I am left wracked and wretched, lying helpless at the bottom of a great chasm of despair.
It began as so many tales of calamitous misfortune begin, with an innocuous lunchtime lasagne. The meal deal allowed for thrift, the fare was not wholly unappetising. The diet coke was not own-brand. The garlic bread was acceptably tepid. But the star of the attraction, a lukewarm hulking mass of carbohydrate and grease, was what really did the damage. The first bite was a bite like many others that have gone before; sludgy and damp, almost devoid of taste, just as was expected. Flaccid pasta and congealed cheese substitute; my hunger was soon to be abated. Life was good.
But then things took a startling turn for the worst. I discovered a bean. A green bean, there was no mistake. A foreign body in an otherwise trusty lasagne. At least I prayed that was what it was. Hurriedly, I took the third mouthful, fork trembling with heart-in-mouth trepidation. Alas. All that was to be encountered was more congealed cheese, a wayward tomato, and, horror of horrors: another bean. I continued, hope fading rapidly, to be replaced by the dark realisation of a truth I simply could not face. Thinking back on it now brings a cool shiver down my spine. Surely this could not be. The sign said lasagne. I ordered lasagne. Lasagne was dumped unceremoniously onto my expectant plate. Yet lasagne was not what I was now in the process of masticating. I had been duped. For no matter how many bites I took, the story did not change. The pasta turned to poison in my mouth; for here I was, sat in the University Place café, with not a single piece of meat on my sorry plate. Not hidden behind the soggy garlic bread, not squirreled away behind a carrot. There was no doubt. My meal was vegetarian. I retched. I balked.
I went to McDonald’s.
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