The brothers arrived at a new restaurant. Fort told him he had heard many good things about: Play it Again, Sam. While they waited for their table Sy fiddled with the VR glasses their hostess had provided. He glanced around and decided the room did not need yet another Humphrey Bogart. He chose a VR skin that looked like a black and white Peter Lorre. But then, everything he saw through the VR was black and white. And, aha! Fort had chosen had chosen Claude Raines’ character.
The hostess, who perhaps wore no VR skin at all but was also rendered in black and white and period clothes, informed them that their table was ready.
“After you, Captain Renault,” he grinned as he theatrically bowed and gestured for Fort to precede him.
“Why, thank you Ugarte,” Fort replied, in character.
Sy followed them, wryly hoping the place was not too authentic. The last time he’s been in North Africa he’d gotten a nasty gastrointestinal bug from some unboiled ice cubes in his iced tea. His colleagues had dubbed the results The Mau Mau Movement. Well, he’d soon be leaving Earth and it’s bacteria behind.
He wondered if he was jumping from the biological frying pan into the fire, but he was committed now.
They were seated and handed menus. Sy was impressed with the offerings. The food was ambitious, with appetizers like brandy-teriyaki lobster bites with hot peach compote and entrees such as rosemary lamb kebabs with candied roast sweet potatoes on garlic-peanut couscous. Sy did a double-take when he checked the prices: very reasonable. He looked up at Fort.
“So, what are you having?” he asked his brother.
But Fort was not reading his menu. “Um. Wow. Look at that.”
He followed Fort’s glance and saw that the actual food was the only thing here rendered in full color. And what was being delivered to the next table smelled and looked wonderful.
One of the Bogarts (and an Ingrid Bergman) were being served half a roasted chicken each, still sizzling on a cast iron platter, with a sauce spooned over it that made them nearly swoon due to its heavenly aroma. There seemed to be a side of some sort of pasta in a green sauce, and glazed baby carrots with their wilted tops still attached.
Their waiter asked for their drink orders. They both wanted iced tea. Pointing the other table, Fort asked, “And what is that dish?”
“Roast chicken in Bullit Rye sauce with pecans—“
Sy, looking down the menu, “—with mushroom ravioli in pesto. And gingered baby carrots!”
Fort just handed his menu to the server. “I’ll have what they’re having.”