The Impotent Satyr
It was the miraculous solution that students of The Evergreen State College and former food service workers were searching for to save the much-loved Flaming Eggplant Cafe from permanent closure after operating at a loss for the past ten years, according to campus news outlet The Cooper Point Journal. The radical revelation came to line cook/student activist/Instagram photographer of dank nugs/they/them Ken Fragglerock when the cafe collective was engaged in their evening hand-holding circle of niceties and thankfulness.
"I had just told the circle that my father no longer looks at my five nose piercings with disdain, and instead chooses to not look at me at all," Ken told The Impotent Satyr. "Having my parents' disapproval only heightens my status among my peers here at Evergreen." Ken then told the group that he'd sneaked a peek at one of the corporate sell-out ARAMARK employees (working for the man, promoting injustice) wiping a cutting board with a cloth drenched in an unknown liquid.
To win an audience with one of the uniformed lackeys, Ken had went full incognito, removing four nose rings, two lip rings, and one mood ring; covering their dreadlocks with a Seattle Mariners baseball hat, trading in the hemp-woven tunic for an 80% cotton 20% polyester T-shirt featuring a snarky yellow Minion below the text "I drink your milkshake", and wearing a look on their face that says "Internally I am without a pulse. I implore your acceptance of my proposal to exchange this currency for your caffeinated beverage so that survival may be achieved." The disguise worked. It was no mere bottom-chain whipping boy that Ken fooled but a slave-driving manager whose name tag identified them as Ben. "But his consistent eye-contact, welcoming demeanor, and general helpfulness identified him as deceptive autocratic dictator #1 in my book."
After getting Ben to divulge Big Business' tight-lipped secrets, Ken went back to the cafe collective with the information. After fellow student/salmonberry whisperer/scat poet/she/her Fortnight Dinglewhosit talked of her inability to attend last week's classes due to reading an aggressive Donald Trump tweet written in all caps, Ken was able to share what he'd learned.
"Wiping food-handling surfaces with sanitizer, after using the space to prepare food, kills germs left behind," Ken told the onlooking crowd of red-eyed free-loving footwear-sans bipeds.
One person in attendance, reportedly, raised their hand and asked what germs were, to which Ken responded with a shrug and offered up the meager explanation, "Flavor residue?"
For the next hour, Ken wowed those in attendance with absurd science-fiction tales of refrigeration units kept at a temperature below 41 degrees, not just a permanent Sharpie drawing on the cooler door that says "IT COLD INSIDE"; cleaning supplies stored separately from food, marking an end to mistaking the Simple Green bottle as an ingredient in the Tempe Grizzle sauce; hands washed with anti-bacterial soap (instead of with the oil resulting from unwashed hair) and dried on paper towels (instead of dollar bills and aprons); and workers NOT adjusting their nose rings every 10 seconds.
When the haze had cleared and Ken was suffering from some serious cotton-mouth, collective member/Psilocybin major/straight bangs enthusiast/they/them River Ferndoggle raised an uneasy hand and asked, "That sounds like a bad trip and, like, more than minimal effort." The others in the circle nodded their heads in agreement. "What if, like, we just, like, didn't fix any of our previous mistakes and, um, had students pay to work at The Flaming Eggplant, and they would, like, get school credits in return?"
The group seemed to like this proposal and celebrated the decision by hand-feeding each other room temperature-maintained Fritter Fratters marinated in the espresso machine's flavor residue.
Editor's note: I look forward to The Flaming Eggplant reopening. I enjoy its existence, and I love their beans and grains bowl. And I've only gotten food poisoning from their cold case foods twice.