A while ago we came up with ideas for a potential fundie-themed restaurant. I decided to write a story featuring the Masons and a visit to said restaurant. Families are referred to, although not by name.
“Mom. Mom. Have you seen what’s in the newspaper?”
Faye was running into the living room, waving a copy of our local paper wildly.
“No, you’ve been reading it all morning. What?”
“There’s a new restaurant opening. It’s called Wa-La Diner and it’s run by a fundamentalist Christian family. It’s their grand opening tonight and supposedly there are LOADS of fundies going. We HAVE to go.”
The paper was swooshing so fast I could feel a breeze. Faye had an excited look in her eyes. In fact, the members of Dumb Things Fundies Do had been discussing the grand opening for a long time. I knew I could score major kudos points by going. And I was seriously tempted. I’d recently bought myself a new maxi skirt… oh, who was I kidding…?
“I think we can definitely go,” I grinned. “Why don’t you invite Charlie along? We can pretend you’re courting and I’m your chaperone or something. Do you think Jessica will want to come?”
“Well, she’s not as fascinated by fundies as me, but I’m sure she’d be up for it,” Faye grinned. “HEY! JESS!”
My oldest daughter entered the room.
“D’you fancy going to Wa-La Diner?”
Jessica looked confused as an enthusiastic Faye shoved the advert under her nose.
“Oh, this sounds good…” Jessica muttered. “We don’t have a huge family, though. How can we not appear like intruders?”
“Mom figured it out,” Faye replied. “I’m inviting Charlie along- we can pretend we’re courting- and you and Mom are our chaperones.”
“I don’t really have any suitable skirts…” Jessica muttered.
“Well, we can buy you one,” Faye said breezily.
The skirt- a knee-length denim affair- was duly purchased. Jessica paired it with a blue paisley-patterned v-neck top underneath which she wore a white camisole for “modesty”. Faye herself was wearing a black-and-white patterned maxi dress which was modest enough without extras.
Standing in the hallway, we all laughed at each other.
“Oh my god, this is going to be soooo bizarre,” Faye said.
The doorbell rang. Charlie was looking wary.
“What is this thing we’re doing?” he asked.
“We’re visiting Wa-La Diner,” Faye said, explaining the story.
“Oh God, we’re going to be seeing freaky fundies up close?” he asked.
“Come on, it’ll be a laugh,” Faye pleaded.
“OK. As long as we don’t actually have to talk to these Jesus freaks, I’m good.”
Wa-La Diner was brightly lit. The front windows were interestingly decorated.
“What’s with all the pink and lace and doilies and doll tea sets?” Charlie asked.
“Oh, I know who that’ll be,” Faye said, explaining.
Charlie’s eyes shot up.
“She sounds insane,” he replied.
“All fundies are, let’s be honest,” Jessica said, putting her hands in her pockets.
The main dining room was noisy. As we waited for a waitress to arrive, I decided to people-watch.
“Spot anyone?” Faye asked.
“Not yet, we’re too far away,” I replied.
A young woman, dressed in a bright-pink t-shirt, frilly apron and denim maxi skirt walked over to us.
“Welcome to Wa-La Diner!” she said, in a bright voice. “My name is Grace and I will be your waitress this evening. How many of you are there?”
“Four,” I said, whilst thinking “Can you not count, dumbass?”
We were led to a small table at the side of the room. It too was covered in a pink gingham table cloth and lace doilies.
“Here are your menus!” said Grace, in the same high-pitched voice. “I will be back shortly to take your order!”
She walked over to another table.
“Big Salad?” Charlie asked.
“Oh, she’s particularly crazy,” Faye explained.
“Ooh look, Taylors,” Jessica whispered, nudging my elbow.
I whipped my head round. It looked like the entire clan had arrived. Mama Taylor and her unmarried daughters were all in the same outfit- white t-shirt, black floral-patterned skirt and pale pink cardigan. Papa Taylor and the unmarried sons were in simple white shirts and chinos. Each married son and his family had also cobbled together some kind of dress code.
“Three guesses as to what they’ll be eating,” I muttered, spotting the meatless burritos underneath the “main courses” heading.
“So, what are we all having?” Jessica asked, bringing my attention back to the table.
“Hmm… there are so many classic dishes and only four of us…” I said. “I think I’ll take the plunge and go for Tater Tot Casserole.”
“Ah yeah, I was gonna go for that…” Jessica said. “Hm. I’ll go with Chickenetti.”
I was just about to ask Faye what she wanted when a dreadful wailing began. Thinking some poor young woman had been dumped, I looked round for the source of the noise.
“It’s them!” Faye whispered. “Off the RV! No doubt trying to grift for a free meal.”
“Jesus, is that singing?” Charlie wondered. “And holy crap, they’re so skinny!”
“Not the husband though,” I muttered.
“Ooh look! Guess who’ve arrived, all the way from Washington!” Jessica said.
I looked toward the entrance and saw what Faye had seen. I recognised the mother, short hair standing out in stark contrast to the lengthy tresses all around her. The eldest daughters were looking bored, arms folded. The youngest, twins, were dressed completely identically, from the pink-and-white striped dresses to the white sandals on their feet. The only concession to individuality was that one had a pink ribbon in her hair, whilst her sister wore a purple one.
“Ah, my gateway fundies,” I said. “I thought they’d ditched the skirts-only rule?”
“They’re gonna be back in skirts to fit in at Wa-La, aren’t they?” Faye pointed out.
“True,” I replied. “Spot anyone else?”
“Yup,” she replied. “Right there, all the way from Tennessee.”
I looked. Sure enough, I recognised them. It looked like they hadn’t brought along their married children- until I remembered that the married couples all had young children or were on their honeymoon.
“Man, you are going to have to tell me about these people,” Charlie said, staring in disbelief at all the other tables.
“Oh, don’t you worry, I will,” Faye said drily.
“Hello again! What would you like to order?”
Grace’s high-pitched baby voice was starting to grate on me.
“I think we’ll start off with a bowl of Big Salad to share as well as some gloodles,” I said. Then, remembering a common fundie trick, I asked her if there was any way in which we could pray for her.