Spade stared blankly at the menu before him. There were pictures of the dishes in the goddamn store window, why the fuck weren't there any on the menu? He glanced at Joyce, who was intently staring down the menu.
"What do you want to get?" Spade asked. Maybe she had finally unlocked translation skills.
Joyce set down her menu with all the dignity of a general surrendering his arms. "The server's recommendation."
Spade nodded back somberly. "A good choice. I'll be having the chef's special."
The two nodded at each other in pathetic silence while trying to feel a little better about themselves until a waitress approached their table.
"Hello, what can I get you guys today?" the waitress asked cheerfully.
"What's your recommendation?" Joyce asked. The waitress smiled.
"Oh, anything on the menu's good, our chef's amazing!" she replied. Joyce blinked, before nodding sagely. She shot a glance at Spade, signaling it was his turn up.
"Alright then, what's the chef's special?" Spade asked. "His best dish?"
"Anything on the first page, the second page was added more recently so he's had less time with the recipes," the waitress said. Spade stared at her. Was it that hard to narrow it down a bit? There were about 60 dishes on the first page. He mildly regretted choosing this store. He glanced back at Joyce. The ball was in her park now.
"Tell me your favorite then, I'm having a hard time choosing," Joyce said. Spade gave her a mental thumbs up.
"Oh, don't be afraid, just choose the one that draws your eye most!" The waitress looked at Joyce with genuine excitement in her eyes.
"Couldn't you just...recommend a dish?" Joyce asked.
"No, I couldn't possibly take away the fun of choosing!" The waitress replied.
"We would really like it if you could give us a recommendation, we have difficulties making decisions when there are so many choices," Spade jumped in.
"The concept of the restaurant is having a variety for customers to choose from, I'm afraid I can't interfere with your choice," the waitress said with a halfhearted attempt at a regretful tone.
"Could you just list a few that customers particularly liked?" Joyce offered. The waitress shook her head firmly. Joyce gulped nervously. She glanced back at Spade. Spade briefly contemplating just getting up and leaving, but he decided to man up and go for it. He pretended to look at the menu again before pointing at a dish at random. Better to get it done with here than to try and whittle the waitress down in a meaningless battle of wits.
"Excellent choice, so a lizard eye skewer with whipped cream and kettleberry compote for the sir, and for the miss?" The waitress said without blinking an eye. Spade suppressed his groan and closed his eyes in defeat. Of all the things he just had to order the food he couldn't stand the most. The slimy and squishy texture of lizard eyes and the sudden pop in his mouth after bursting through the membrane to the goo below always made him feel queasy. He opened his eyes again to watch Joyce go through all five stages of grief in one setting before taking a breath and pointing at the menu without looking.
"Wonderful, so that's a hellfire snakeskin with yuca chips for the miss," the waitress said. Joyce nodded slowly.
"Why's it called hellfire snake skin again?" Joyce asked.
"It's at the highest spice level," the waitress smiled coquettishly. Despite being descended from a family that ate chili peppers for dessert, Joyce couldn't eat spicy food. It looked like she wouldn't be having a good meal either. Joyce forced a smile back as the waitress turned and harshly barked the order to the kitchen staff.
Joyce met eyes with Spade and the two came to a silent understanding. Joyce would suffer through the lizard eye skewer and Spade would take the bullet for the hellfire snakeskin. Today as well, the strongest mage and swordsman would have an unsatisfying meal, but that couldn't be helped. After all, they couldn't understand the menu.