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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Junk Food (08/30/12)

TITLE: Fine Dining
By Lois Farrow


Jake was right!

“Don’t eat all that junk food, mate,” he told me. “I can show you a much better spread. Come with me tomorrow and I’ll take you to the Royal Palace Hotel.”

The Royal Palace Hotel! Well, that sounds like a step up from my usual haunts.

“Sure,” I told him. “I’ve got nothing on tomorrow. I’ll come with you.”

With a smirk he shuffled off. “Be here tomorrow, then,” he said, “and be my guest.”

So here I am by the bridge at the appointed time next day. Jake arrives.

“All set, mate? Off we go then.”

Right down Main Street we head, around the corner and follow the river to the West side of town. In front of us glows the Royal Palace Hotel all lit up with neon signs sparkling in the late night darkness. We stare for a while; I don’t often come this far from home, if home is what you’d call my little patch.

We pass by fancy steps that lead to an enormous entrance. We pass the signs advertising luxury rooms and fine dining. We skirt around well-dressed people as they hurry out to their waiting cars. Jake takes me down the side alley and around to the kitchen entrance. The delicious smells wafting out the ventilation shafts just about knock me out. I haven’t eaten much the last few days.

“Shhh,” whispers Jake, pulling me back into the shadows as a door opens. A figure appears and scrapes the contents of a large plastic tray into the trash can.

“Couldn’t be better,” Jake whispers when the boy disappears. He pulls me forward and lifts the lid. The smells assail us, a mixture of sour rotting, and freshly cooked meat. Jake knows what he is doing. He rummages for a not-too-dirty napkin and swiftly places slices of meat and a handful of veges on it.

“Here, take this and go behind those bins,” he says. He joins me with his haul and plonks a bread roll on top of my pile. Quickly and quietly we tuck into our meal. I haven’t eaten this well for a long time. My usual haunt is near the fruit and vege shops in another district where they make sure their throw-outs are properly rotten.

We sit quietly and wait. Later more figures hurry out the doors and back inside again and more trays are emptied. I think of a saying my old mother used to quote, ‘A generous man will be blessed for he shares his food with the poor.’* I doubt the rich diners inside realise who they’re sharing with.

“Dessert coming up,” Jake says with a grin.


My eyes pop as, peering through a gap in our barrels, we see half used packets of meringues, fruit, whole slices of cheesecake, cakes of various types, all get tossed into the bins. The excess of the rich.

“I’ll get sick with all these rich foods,” I joke, and he laughs quietly.

“Do you good for a change. You’re too skinny, and these won’t hurt you.”

I stuff meringues into my mouth. They’re nice with orange juice squeezed over.

“Join me from now on,” Jake says. “You’ve been in all the wrong places since I’ve been out of town. Now I’m back I’ll look after you.”

Jake’s right. I won’t go back to my old haunts for junk food again. From now on I’ll dine on the rich leftovers from the Royal Palace Hotel.

Proverbs 22:9 NIV

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This article has been read 312 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/06/12
This is hysterical. Your sense of humor a delight. I've read a few "real junk" food stories, but your POV was quite original. I really enjoyed the characters, but I have just one question rats or cats? Great bit of writing, mate! I think the Australian accent makes the story even more charming. :)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/06/12
I didn't read the Bible verse before and now I feel a bit of crimson creeping onto my face and I wonder if the characters were human after all? Either way, it was a delightful story.
Dannie Hawley 09/07/12
This put me in mind of a friend of mine whose story was very similar. During WW II, her family was kept alive because she dug out a tiny patch of ground and was small enough to crawl under the barbed wire fence at night. She waited behind the restaurants frequented by the American G.I.'s and collected the scraps from the garbage in a tin can. She said the officers always left a lot of food on their plates and she knew she could trust that they weren't sick. This saved her entire family from starvation. Your present day story might very well be a true one with all of the homeless folks in our world today. You did a great job describing the scene and story. Thank you!
Danielle King 09/09/12
I love this entry. It was a simple storyline but rich in description and meaning.

I was hooked in from the beginning trying to figure out if the characters were animal or human. That added to the interest and made me read on. I've decided that they're two homeless people because I don't much like rats!

It was beautifully written and great for the topic. I think this entry will do very well.

I also suspect I know the author.
Genia Gilbert09/10/12
Great writing! The dialogue keeps it moving with a great flow. Junk food in a completely different sense. lol
Brenda Shipman 09/10/12
Loved the "Aussie" flavor of the phrasing and dialogue, particularly, "we tuck into our meal". LOVE that expression! Very creative approach to the topic, and well written.
Myrna Noyes09/11/12
I really enjoyed this creative "Junk Food" story! It has some good humor to it, but also a sobering message of the needs around us. It reminds us to share some of our excess willingly with others, too. Really good writing!
Edmond Ng 09/12/12
A very well written piece with an excellent plot. If only all of us care enough to look around, we'd see how many out there who need help, even just to eat the crumbs that fall from the rich men's table. This story reminds me of the verse:

But she said, "Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." (Matthew 15:27 NAS)

Enjoyed the read. God bless.

Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/13/12
Congratulations for ranking 16 overall!