A Sweet Surprise

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( Writer's note: Kennedy's Irish Pub and Curry House, is a real place in San Francisco; I first learned of it on Feb. 20, when I had a cold, IRL, and decided to incorporate that into my writing here, and looked for a place that would deliver chicken soup, etc, to Julie's apartment in the Russian Hill neighborhood. All food items described are real and can be found on the restaurant's website, online. All characters mentioned are completely fictitious, for the purpose of this story.)

Thursday, August 1, 2019.

Standing alone in the cream-colored hallway of her apartment building, made brighter by the early evening sun, after a long day at work, always cautious, Julie glanced around, as she took her keychain out of her purse and unlocked the door. Opening the door, and glanced into her buttercream yellow kitchen; and satisfied that things seemed to as she had left them, she walked quickly through the door, closing it behind her. She wiped her feet on washable, black doormat on the kitchen floor. She walks across her black and white tile floor, in a classic checkerboard pattern, and and turned on her small grey and silver small 4.75 H 9.25 in. W 32.5 in D AM/FM weather alert AC/DC portable radio, with large vertical numbers, and a small silver tuner knob on the right side, and put it on her favorite local FM station, known for a mix of music from the 1970's-'80's. Then she walked over to her white refrigerator with the French doors and took down a menu for Kennedy's Irish Pub and Curry House. She walled over the small wooden side-table, to the right side of the door, to the answering machine/cordless phone combo and picked up the phone, and made a call to the curry house.

The phone was answered on the second ring, by what sounded like a young man, in his teens or twenties. "Hello, this is the curry house. May I take your order?," he asked.

"Yes, this is Julie Justice, and I'd like an order of chicken jalfrezi and iced tea, delivered to Garden Vista Apartments, 2 B, Lombard Street."

"Yes, Miss Justice we know your address. It should be about 5 to 10 minutes."

"That's fine, thank you," Julie says and hanging up the phone, setting it down on the counter. She glances at the menu again, and takes $13.95 out of her purse and puts it on the white faux marble counter, closest to the door.

She opens the door, leaving it slightly ajar, and walks through her kitchen into her baby blue bedroom, leaving the door open slightly, she walks over to the open bathroom door, and takes a long, kimono sleeve, lightweight, heather grey self-tie robe, from a hook on the inside of the bathroom door. She walks over to her leather office chair, and sits down, and unties, and takes off her shoes, and begins changing out of her uniform.

Just as she is about to put on the robe, she hears a knock at the door, and the voice of a young man announces, loudly,"Hello? !! Miss Justice? !! Order from Kennedy's Irish Pub and Curry House."

Julie says loudly,"You can pick up the money on the counter, and leave the food there, too. And close the door when you leave. Thanks."

"Okay, very good. Thanks for your order and enjoy your dinner," the young man replied, closing the door behind him.

"I'm sure I will, thanks," Julie yelled back. Tying the robe around her, she stepped into her washable grey velour slippers and walks into the kitchen.

She walks over to the kitchen door, and seeing that it was closed, she decides to lock it. She walks over the sink, and washes and dries her hands. She goes over to the small white plastic dish drainer on the counter by the sink, and takes out a small white plate, and a serving spoon. She takes a few steps over to the black, 5.5 in. x 2 in x 4. 75 in. cast iron, vertical half-oval, ornate lattice pattern napkin-holder, and takes out a white paper napkin, and puts it on the counter. She gets a clean fork out of the compartment on the front of the dish drainer, and puts it on the paper napkin.

Julie walks over to the counter to check out the food, and sees 2 bags with a logo on the bag: the word "Kennedy's" in a Celtic-style font, in dark green letters; outlined in orange; in the middle of the vertical line of the "K" is a golden yellow braid design; a shamrock in the place of the apostrophe; under that, the words "Irish Pub" in a slightly smaller font, in orange letters; underneath that, a dark green "V" symbol that denotes a "vegan friendly" menu; next a to that, is a 🕉 and in a smaller font in red letters are the words "Indian Cuisine--Open Late."

"That's strange. Why is there another bag?" Julie asked aloud. A square white envelope with "Julie Justice" written in neat and masculine handwriting was stapled to the folded end of one of the bags. Very carefully, Julie opens the envelope and finds a note on folded piece of lined paper and a card. On the back of the card is typed: "Durga, an incarnation of the Mother Goddess of the Hindu religion has existed since before the Creation of the Universe. She is the Goddess of Justice. She maintains a peaceful demeanor protecting the innocent, fighting evil wherever she finds it using the weapons of a warrior: the Conch Shell (the word "Om"-- the sound of the name of God) the Bow and Arrow (Energy) the Lotus Flower (future success) Chakra (Control over the Universe) the Sword (Knowledge, free from all doubts) and the Trident (Swata-Inactivity, Rajas--Activity and Tumas--Non Activity) representing physical and spiritual miseries. She is often depicted with a Lion, which represents the assurance of freedom from fear. Durga is still worshiped today throughout India and Asia."
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After reading the card, Julie puts it aside and opens the folded note, and reads it:
"Hello Julie,

I thought you might call tonight after a long day at work. I know that today is your birthday, and I thought you might enjoy a sweet treat after dinner, so I'm sending you some galub jamun. I'm the co-owner and in charge of the Indian menu here at the restaurant.

I am planning on attending a free, family-friendly Diwali event with my daughters and a few other relatives at the Santa Clara Fairgrounds 344 Tully Rd, in San Jose on Oct. 19, from noon-11:00 pm. In addition to food, games, and rides, etc. there is also a fancy dress competition, meaning that sometimes people dress in costumes, too, and my youngest daughter has convinced me to go as Lord Rama. Everyone is welcome, and if you are not too busy, it would be fun to see Justice there, too.

Please call the restaurant, after you finish your food, to tell me if you liked it, and so that we may talk.

Sincerely,

Sanjay Enami (family and friends call me Jay). "

Julie folded the note, putting it back in the the envelope.

Sitting down on the 41 in, x 75 in high 17.25 wide, 20 in, deep, black, wrought iron 360 degree swivel, adjustable stool, with straight legs, that curve slightly at the bottom; with a circular bar that goes around the legs, for a footrest; with an ornate lattice design; with a foam seat cushion, with wipe-able black vinyl upholstery she carefully opened the bag and took out the container. She found an order of galub jumun, handmade, generous size, round farmer's cheese dumplings, deep fried, flavored with rosewater; and in the container is a cup of warm simple syrup. With her right hand, Julie carefully takes the lid off of the syrup; she picks up one of the round dumplings, and dips it into the warm syrup, and takes a bite; and decides she likes it very much; and finishes the eating the round dumpling.

Julie licks a little of the simple sweet syrup from her fingers, which is slightly more sticky, because it's still warm. She turns around, and gets another paper napkin from the napkin holder on the counter, and wipes her fingers before she opens the other bag with the food. She opens the bag and takes out the paper cup with large iced tea in it, and puts the orange, 10 inch (25.4 cm) x 0.4 inch (1 cm) 0.5 inch (1.27 cm) D bendable, re-usable silicone drinking straw in the lid, and takes a little sip of the iced tea. She puts the iced tea on the counter. She opens the container with the chicken jelfrezi, releasing the aroma of cubed chicken, chopped bell peppers, and tomatoes in the air. The portions at the restaurant are always generous, so she picks up the serving spoon, and puts about half of it on her plate.

Julie picks up her fork, and starts to eat her dinner, making sure to get as much of the cubed chicken, bell peppers and tomatoes as she can in each bite; sipping her ice tea between bites. When she is done with her dinner, she closes the container tightly. She walks over to her opening refrigerator door on the right side; putting the container inside, and closing the door.

Julie picks up the phone, and calls Kennedy's, making sure to ask for the curry house again.

"Hello, this is the curry house. May I take your order?" asked the voice of a young man in his teens or twenties.

"Hello, this is Julie Justice. Is Jay there? May I speak to him?"

"Of course, Miss Justice. Was there a problem with your order?," the young man asked, a little worried.

"No, the food was fine. This is about the note," Julie replied.

"Ahhhh....Okay...the young man responded, "Let me get him." Excitedly, in a loud *whisper* that really was not a whisper at all, Julie heard the young man say, "Mister Jay!! Mister Jay!! It's Miss Julie Justice, wanting to talk to you."

An attractive man with caramel-colored skin, and and a full head of dark hair, Sanjay Enami seemed taller than his 6 feet, and more imposing than his 150 pounds, as he quickly strode over to toward the young employee, holding the phone. "I'll take it in the office," he said. As he walked toward the office, he whispered to the young employee, "You didn't have to a announce it to the whole restaurant."

"Sorry, Mister Jay," the young man replied, a bit dejected.

"It's alright," Sanjay replied, with a little twinkle in his eye, and a slight smile, "Just try to remember that, in case she calls again, okay?"

"Okay, Mister Jay," the young man said with a nod and a smile, returning to his work.

Sanjay walks into the office, closing the door behind him. It was not a large office; he shared it with the co-owner, his partner that ran the bar. In the middle of the room is a commercial grade, high quality laminate, L-shaped 2 person work desk, with file cabinet drawers on each end; a reversible return that can be put on either side of the desk; underneath, in the middle of the desk, is a tray where the keyboard sits. Sanjay pulls an office chair with 4 wheels with black, wipeable faux leather, and sits down. He reaches over, picking up the phone receiver, and says, "Hello, Miss Julie. This is Jay."

"Hello, Jay. I'm glad to talk to you," Julie replied, with a smile.

Sanjay smiles a little, and asks, "Did you enjoy your dinner?"

"Yes, it very good," Julie replied, "Your food is always very good."

"I'm glad to hear that," Sanjay said, smiling again, "And, tell me, did you like your dessert?" he asked.

"Yes, I liked it very much; it was a sweet surprise," Julie replied.

"I'm glad to hear that," Sanjay smiled again, "Somehow, I thought you might," he said.

"Yes, but now I have a question," Julie replied.

"Alright, what is your question?" Sanjay asked.

"Well, it seems like you're asking me to go to this thing for Diwali? So, do you want me to go with you? Or meet you there? What can you tell me about it?," Julie asked, with genuine curiosity.

Sanjay glanced around the room office; everything was neat and tidy; but the creamy, off-white paint was looking a little dingy
 
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