I almost forgot.
Earlier, at the same event, I overheard an out-of-town visitor complaining about his allergies concerning certain foods, particularly those coming from the sea. He was too vocal to tell everyone that his taste buds were choosy to the point he would vomit when given food that disagreed with his stomach.
When he first arrived, people thought he was a big shot. Later, we found out that he was not even wealthy nor overly educated. Pretentious was the word for him. I could sense he was acting the part to get the notice he did not really deserve. Such creatures appear once in a while, more so in village celebrations where many folks were easily duped by dramatic ostentation.I was sure he would be caught in his own lie when the time came.
Lunch was over but a late relative came over with big plateful of spring rolls. They were still warm when served in the middle of the table.
Mr. VIP did not wait for any invitation as he picked first, ready to munch what to him looked like French fries. Before we could eat our first, he had already devoured four.
“If you want to excuse yourself to go outside, feel free to do so.”
He was perplexed why I singled him out.
“I am fine,” he remarked, pretending not to have heard my advice. “These are delicious.”
I stood up, approached him and whispered, “Can I talk to you outside?”
He probably thought I would reprimand him for eating too much, though I did consider the same. But I had to point to him a detail he forgot to take into account.
“You said you are allergic to seafood.”
“Absolutely! I can’t stand the taste.”
“So why are you eating squid?”
At that instant I was ready for his outburst, of not being informed of the ingredient that could trigger his allergy, then belatedly throwing up in front of me to complete the farce.
To my surprise he did nothing of those scenarios I was afraid of: he simply smiled, caught of his charade but never verbally admitting I uncovered his scam.
“I’ll be on my way,” he said politely, eager to ease his way out from the embarrassing situation he dug himself into.
“Where are you going?” I asked automatically.
“It’s early in the afternoon. I can still make several rounds.”
“I suppose you’ll give them the same treatment like the stunt you pulled here.”
He did not need the scolding but I was offended by his impertinence.
“I am not a bad guy,” he reasoned. “Just a bit of fun, man!”
“I’ll let you off this time,” I conceded. “Next time, please come as you are. We are simple folks but we’re not naive.”