The fries arrived golden and burn your fingers hot, but sadly too late. Not too late to go with the meal, as they were the meal, but too late to remedy the already self inflicted damage.
Five hours of cold beer, and chilled shots had reduced my companion to “I love you man” conviviality while I still had to navigate the main station to find my train back to my hotel.
We had popped in after work, he had promised a real “dive bar.” Actually his words were not so polite, but I was game. After all, it was going to be an early night.
Terminus Klause (sounds like a heavy metal band name) was pretty empty when we arrived and we quickly set up in the choice corner table that gave us a great view of the whole room. It’s not a big room, and seems rather typical of a German neighborhood bar, booths along the perimeter, tables in the center. In a few hours it was thick with young, beer drinking, chain smoking hipsters and lithe young artist types right alongside the old-timers. That’s right. You can smoke in this bar, which combined with cheap drinks and eclectic mix of people certainly explains the popularity of the place.
A plate of schnitzel went past. “Oh, don’t eat anything here,” I was instructed. OK, ‘nother round then?
Just then one of the older guys who worked there, came in with a bulging bag of take out containers and carried it into the back. We joked they were serving the food they had just bought to the guests. Maybe they were.
Looking around the room I spied a couple of those glass globe vending machines. You know the kind, you put a coin in, turn the crank and whatever is inside tumbles down the chute. One globe had mixed nuts, the closer one had pistachios in the shell, and what is that?
Flies were buzzing about inside the globe, and dead ones filled in the empty spaces between the nuts. It was its own little biodome, with the circle of life being played out by the light of neon beer signs.
Horrifying, yet fascinating.
A few hours later, the air blue with smoke, hunger finally got the best of us. They can’t possibly mess up fries can they?
They were hot, salty, crispy on the outside and pillow soft on the inside, just as fries should be.
Just too late.