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Continental Breakfast
by Charlie Britten

One slice of water melon remains on the breakfast buffet and I can see Mrs America eyeing it up. What’s she waiting for? Oh. What a pity! No serving spoons. Should I trot over and give her one like a good little waitress?

But the Polish family must have had it all, judging by the plates in front of them, of green rind with trails of pink watery juice. They’re on to the egg now, slimy, buttercup-coloured lumps tumbling off their forks. Good thing they didn’t see Chef mixing the powder and water this morning. Last night I made them order dinner in German. 

Mrs America tips the coffee-pot backwards, forwards, sideways, but still it refuses to yield more than a few tepid drips of dirty brown water. Press the button at the top, dear!

Now she requests help from Mr and Mrs Brit, them with the white flabby thighs and crumpled shorts which haven’t seen daylight, or even the outside of the wardrobe, these last twelve months. They look at the coffee-pot momentarily and shake their heads, then carry on thumbing through the teabags in a frantic search for anything which isn't fruit or herbal. 

Mr Pole pushes back his chair and lights a cigarette.

“Hey, where’re you guys from?” asks Mrs America, setting her glass of water down on the next table.


“Uh-huh. That’d be Krakow, Nebraska?”

Unable to think of a suitable answer, he gets up and orders a beer from the bar.

Mr and Miss Germany dunk their frankfurters in red tomato ketchup and yellow mustard then eat them straight off the tablecloth. At least I don’t do the laundry round here.

Mrs Brit has slipped two rolls and three packs of butter into her handbag. I saw her do it. And Mr Brit has a banana in one pocket and two nectarines in the other, like misplaced and divided genitals. 

Next week the hotel is booked for a conference of businessmen from our own country. And that’s my idea of real Hell.