One time when Fabio and I were travelling through SE Qld, we came across some road signs advertising a FRUIT & VEG BARN. And MANGO SMOOTHIES!.
Our mouths watered. We pictured luscious, tropical drinks, served in glasses frosted with the cold, and since it was nearly lunch-time, we followed the signs.
The FRUIT AND VEG BARN was in the middle of no-where.
There were just two other shops and open paddocks of brown grass all around, and this huge shed with, admittedly, lots of fruit and veg, including mangoes, but the MANGO SMOOTHIES! were located at The Stardust Cafe about 100 metres down the gravel road. (Next to an antique store so dusty and forlorn I couldn't bring myself to go in.)
We walked into The Stardust Cafe, and I immediately wanted to leave. There were four or so of those heated glass-fronted display thingies for hot food, only they were all switched off and carefully filled with towels and plastic wisteria.
There was an empty bread-rack, carefully twined with plastic wisteria.
There was one small table and four rickety chairs.
And the counter.
Not exactly a going concern, then.
But Fabio wanted a smoothie.
He marched up to the counter, and A Guy came out from the back room. He was wearing a string singlet, and had the dirtiest feet I had ever seen, with utterly feral toenails.
Right then, my stomach and I made a deal that we weren't eating anything but Fabio wasn't fazed.
He ordered mango smoothies and fish'n'chips.
The Guy took his money then yelled out, "Mum!"
And OLD Lady came shuffling out from the back room. He handed her some money, and sent her off to the fruit barn for mangoes.
As she slowly shuffled out the door, Fabio and I looked at each other. We said nothing. We sat at the little table and waited.
After a long, long time, the OLD Lady shuffled back, with a mango in the pocket of her apron, and shortly after, mango smoothies appeared.
Fabio tried his.
"It's not bad," he said. But mine sat there, untouched, till Fabio drank it.
Then lunch arrived.
Fabio poked at it.
"What is that?" I whispered. "I thought you wanted fish and chips?"
He shook his head, mystified, but bit into it, undaunted.
The look on his face was priceless.
"It's fish," he said. "Wrapped in a bit of pastry, and deep-fried."
Just then, another couple of tourists walked in, and ordered MANGO SMOOTHIES!
The Guy shook his head.
"All outta mangoes." he explained.
Clearly, Mum wasn't making another trip.