[ Dramatis Pesonae: Programmer, Second Programmer, IT Person, Client Relations. Facilities is off-camera. Second is rifling through a folder full of take-out menus. Relations is at a computer. ]
Second: How can we not have Dragon Duck's menu?
IT: It's Chinese take-out. Why do we need one?
Second: How am I supposed to know what they have?
IT: It's Chinese take-out. They all have the same things.
Second: They do not. I like lemon chicken. Do they have lemon chicken? Because the place down from me doesn't.
Relations: Making you go three whole strip malls away to find one that does.
Programmer: So order lemon chicken and if they tell us they don't have it then order the sesame chicken instead.
Second: How are we supposed to know they have sesame chicken if they don't have lemon chicken?
IT: It's Chinese take-out. They all have sesame chicken.
Relations: Can't find their web site. Don't know if they have a menu posted.
Second: We order from them every other week, how have we lost Dragon Duck's menu?
Programmer: Does it matter any that they're not called Dragon Duck?
IT: Oh, right, they used to be Golden Duck or something and then the Board of Health closed them, and they opened up with that dragon logo and were My Dragon or something, and then when they opened up again we started calling them Dragon Duck.
Relations: I think that was my joke.
IT: Yup, think you're right.
Second: We keep ordering from a place we don't even know the name of?
Programmer: They kept the old number. I think it's the same people except they promised to use the refrigerator even for meat they were just going to use tomorrow anyway.
Second: Is there any part of this system that makes any kind of sense?
IT: Just order the lemon chicken and if they don't have it we'll get sesame chicken.
Second: Assuming they have either how am I supposed to know how much it costs?
IT: It's Chinese take-out. It's $5.35 for the lunch and $7.65 for dinner. Everything on the lunch menu is $5.35.
Programmer: Just order what you always order.
Second: I don't always order the same thing. What kind of person always orders the same thing?
[ IT, Programmer, and Relations raise their hands. ]
Second: Are you trying to rush to death?
Relations: This is why we call to ask your order.
Second: Wait, you have to have a menu when you read it to me.
Relations: I just name stuff every Chinese take-out place has. I never saw their menu.
Programmer: This is delightful. It's like watching someone being me.
Second: If our phone system hadn't crashed I'd never know our lunch-ordering process is a fraud.
Programmer: I'm wondering why we have a phone system that can crash.
IT: Now you're being my grandfather. Would you like to talk about how nobody gets passbook savings accounts anymore?
[ Facilities comes in. ]
Relations: Hey, did you figure what you wanted?
Facilities: Yeah, two slices Sicilian and a large diet Coke.
Second: We're ordering from Dragon Duck [ testily ] or a restaurant to be named later.
Facilities: Yeah, I know.
Second: I can't prove it because of rampant sabotage of menu folder here, but, it's Chinese take-out, not a pizza place.
Facilities: That's OK. There's D'Agostino's next door.
Relations: That's not their name.
Facilities: Whoever. They'll get a couple slices from there.
Second: Why would they do that?
Facilities: [ Shrugging ] I was confused one time when I was calling in the order and they took it and since then, why not?
Second: And they're fine with this?
Facilities: Never heard any complaints.
Programmer: They like us, they just run next door for a couple slices and a tuna hoagie or whatever. What's the problem?
Second: We're supposed to order from a restaurant things the restaurant sells and … and … this is a complete breakdown of civilization's rules for how take-out works.
IT: By the way, we have a phone system capable of crashing so we can organize our lunch orders.
Relations: I'll put you down for lemon chicken.
Facilities: There was that time they were giving me regular slices. But, no serious complaints.
Second: I work in a madhouse.
Programmer: Better order two spring rolls too.
Trivia: Solari's Restaurant in the early 1900s provided for Herman Hollerith what were named ``Hollerith potatoes'', passed through a grid with holes punched in them. Source: Herman Hollerith: Forgotten Giant of Information Processing, Geoffrey D Austrian.
Currently Reading: The Dragon, Jane Gaskell. Ahem. ``My humiliation was sharp, in my head ... you can't really call it a rape, can you, when you're enjoying it?'' At the risk of being born a whole decade after the book was originally written and reflecting social views different from those of the characters, yes, I'm gonna go ahead and say you can too call that rape.