It all started when Joanna made me go to a meeting in her place. Joanna is my boss, she’s had a massive pole stuck up her backside since the day I met her and literally doesn’t see the funny side of anything.
“The meeting is with the Wang brothers. Chinese/Vietnamese fine dining. I’ll forward you the details.” She barks.
“I’m sorry, did you say Wang? As in slang for penis 'wang'?” I add in a whisper just in case someone else hears me talking about male genitalia (which always tickles me…I mean, not literally tickles me— you know what I mean.)
My cheeks have flamed a shade of tomato red. I don’t know why, I am in my mid-thirties and I have actually seen a penis or two in my time. (I mean, it was actually only two and I haven’t seen them lately, but I remember vaguely what they’re all about.)
Joanna rolls her eyes.
“You couldn’t have just thought of ‘Vera Wang’ like a normal person could you? For God’s sake when you get to the meeting don’t be a child about it like the time you were introduced to Mr. Cocks.”
I hold my lips together in a firm line “Mmmm Hmmm” I nod, my eyes starting to stream with inverted laughter. I barely got through the meeting with Mr. Cocks, he shook my hand and the first thing I said was ‘oooh that’s firm’. I’m a f**king liability, I don’t even know why Joanna hasn’t fired me yet.
The next day, I approach the swanky looking restaurant with a fountain-y pool thing in the middle and some koi fish swimming about. I compose myself as I am greeted by the Wang brothers. ‘I am an amazing business woman who always gets the contract’, I affirm to myself. Yes, I can do this.
“Hi, I’m Thi-Chi Wang, this is my brother, My-Kro.” He gestures to his right.
Hold it together Jen. Don’t laugh, don’t laugh, don’t laugh, don’t laugh, for f**k’s sake don’t laugh. Titchy Wang and f**king Micro Wang in the same sentence! Has Joanna set me up, am I on you’ve been framed? Heavens to Madge Bishop, is Biggus Dickus going to pop out of the fountain wearing a pair of comedy breasts?
I quickly scan the room discreetly to see if any of the waiters are in fact Jeremy Beadle.
I’m going to have to do some serious adulting here instead of acting like a small child who has just discovered the hilarity of the word ‘knickers’. I wish Louise (best friend) were here, she’d be pissing her pants at the scale of these Wangs.
As Thi-Chi gestures for me to take a seat, I take a slug of the prosecco that was handed to me on the way in as a way to occupy my mouth so I don’t burst out with ‘Titchy wang do do do do do do, Micro wang do do do do do do’ to the tune of Baby Shark, which is now all I can think about.
“So, I’ll get straight to the point.” Thi-Chi starts “We want to increase the size of Wang. We want Wang to be a towering spectacle, a force to be reckoned with, a guarantee that you will be left satisfied with every mouthful.”
If this force of laughter doesn’t come out soon, I swear I’m going to explode like the wafer thin mint guy in Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life. I’M DYING! I clear my throat, and down the rest of my glass of prosecco. How am I supposed to market a mouthful of Wang!?
“We can certainly grow Wang…exponentially.” I splutter.
“We aim to bring a fusion of traditional Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine to the corporate world. We want Wang to be huge!” My-Kro enthuses.
“As do I.” I reply “Wang just needs some time and loving care and it will grow in no time.” Shut up Jen you f**king moron! I quickly order another drink just as the first course arrives. It’s a small square on a bed of something foamy. It doesn’t look like anything I order from the Golden Dragon round the corner from me. I pick up the bite-sized piece with my chopsticks and the whiff hits me square on the nose.
“Fermented fish on a bed of seahorse semen.” The waiter announces and swiftly departs. I watch Thi-Chi and My-Kro take it in with one single bite. Their guts must be lined with Gaviscon infused steel.
I balance the fermented fish bite on my chopstick, the other chopstick placed underneath to make a sort of catapult. I got detention back in second year at school for making pencil catapults—well look who’s laughing now Mrs. McMann! That defining moment at school was about to save me from puking all over my clients. I get into position with my chopstick catapult and wait for the opportune moment where the Wangs’ are not looking. Little beads of perspiration are forming on my upper lip with anticipation. I feel like ocean’s 11; about to pull off a heist. I slam my hand on the end of my chopstick for maximum aviation of fish repulsiveness and I don’t even give two f**ks where it lands, as long as it isn’t in my mouth.
I listen out…there is a small tap of landing fish-bite…no one screams. Phew, I have gotten away with it. I am a God damned genius, hoorah for chopstick catapults. Dodged a bullet there. Let’s hope pork balls are on the way.
As my second course arrives, it isn’t pork balls by any stretch of the imagination. My stomach tightens up as if to say ‘f**k this, I’m bailing out. I am not digesting THAT!’ and I can’t blame it.
Christ on a Segway, what in the name of buggery is this abomination? Its MOVING— wriggling about like a f**king kraken. Okay Jen, think Dominos pizza, think Dominos pizza, with lovely melting cheese and tomato…and slimy tentacles!
Okay, this isn’t working. Short of Johnny Depp coming to rescue me from it in full pirate get up (one can only wish) I’m going to have to deal with this myself.
How am I supposed to slogan the dining experience that has a side helping of intestinal parasites? ‘Free worming treatment with your first meal at Wangs?’
I keep downing prosecco, I’m a little tipsy, and I no longer trust what might come out of my mouth.
All those prosecco bubbles are fighting for a way out, and all of a sudden I let out a window-shattering burp and fart at the same time. Shit. (luckily, not literal shit). I feel Wangs’ eyes on me and as I look up to apologise, they are smiling.
“Ah, thank you. You enjoyed the fermented fish, let me get you another.” My-Kro says and before I can reply, he has summoned the waiter who brings me another piece. For F**k’s sake.
I down another glass of prosecco.
Thi-Chi Wang is talking, and I’m not even listening. I’m watching Barry (I’ve named my meal, who is very much alive, tentacles flailing all around my bowl.) Sitting next to Barry is my new piece of jizz coated rotten fish.
Joanna, the pole-arsed nob waffle, wait until I see her, I’ll stick that fermented fish right up her oversized nostril. She bloody knew this would be on the menu, not a pork ball in sight.
I shove the fermented fish stealthily into my cleavage. This is the worst feeling my cleavage has encountered since Gary Peterson and his fumbling hands in year three at school.
I make my excuses and leave the dining experience that makes you want to burn your taste buds off with a blowtorch. The crispy seaweed garnish is probably made of testicles infused with the bile of a thousand lemmings or something equally disgusting.
As I'm walking out, I see grandmother Wang (who was briefly introduced to me when I came in) sitting next to the wall, still as a statue with a fermented fish bite perched on top of her head like a walnut whip.
That’s it. I explode, I’m pointing at the poor old biddy with tears streaming down my face, I’m hopping from leg to leg roaring with laughter at the idea that my crowning achievement in life is catapulting a fish bite exactly on to the middle of an unsuspecting octogenarian’s head and she hasn’t even noticed.
I am completely off-the-scale pissed on prosecco and I start yelling whatever pops into my head.
“You’ll never forget the experience of Wang in your mouth! Oh, Christ no, we’re doomed captain!” I yell in my best pissed-up Scottish accent “Doooooooooooomed, dooooooomed!”
I remember Wangs one and two bundling me into a taxi, but not before I was sick on a trouser leg not belonging to me. Then to my horror (because I wasn’t already traumatized enough) the fermented fish bite falls out of my cleavage and lands right on the end of My-Kro Wang’s shiny boot.
Needless to say, I didn’t get the contract.
I hear Barry is doing well though.
© 2020 Gemma Malak