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From an old website, Alien in Montreal

I've been here before. So I know what to expect when I walk in. Or do I?

I sit on a barstool and order a pint of Tigidou, which is a tasty local stout, and take off my coat, get out my tobacco tin, and start to relax.

The barmaid says something to me that contains the words 'mange' and 'fou'. Now, I know that she's talking about food, but I always thought that 'fou' meant crazy. I look confused, and she says it again.

I guess that she's asking if I want any food, so I say, 'Non, merci', and start to roll a cigarette.

The barmaid persists and changes her sentence in a subtle way to include even more words that I don't understand. She looks concerned. She's speaking too quickly for me.

We resort to English.

'You have to eat something too.' She says.

'Why?' I ask.

'We only have a restaurant licence.'

'But I've been in here before and not eaten.'

'Really?' She asks, doubtfully.

'Yeah, loads of times.' I say, and then begin to think back to all the times I came here and ate a vegeburger.

She looks at me with an air of disbelief. 'Wellll....' She says, rolling her eyes a little, 'maybe there's an excepton to the rule that I don't know about...' She really thinks that I'm making it up.

'No really,' I say – I've dug my hole now, I have to stay in it, 'lots of times, just a beer, no food.'

'Hmm. You could just have some fries?'

'I don't want to eat.'

We stare at each other, and then at the pint of tigidou that is almost full. She stops it. I get up, thank her, and leave.

Thinking back, I'm now, ooh, 80% sure that I've been there, and had a beer, and not eaten...