South Africa: Checkpoint Chilli - Spaced Out in the Gourmet Combat Zone


One man at the nearest table, over at the far wall, is shaking with what appears to be a nervous reaction to his pills, but in fact he'd just been told he couldn't have a glass of wine with his Fillet au Poivre.

"Welcome to Joe's Cafe, sir, madam. Let's take your temperature." The plastic temperature gun pointing at your brain makes you feel strangely dislocated, as if you started out heading for a restaurant for dinner and ended up in an urban hijacking, wondering whether you were about to lose your cellphone or your car, or both, or maybe your life. Which you might lose anyway if you're allowed beyond this point, catch something from someone inside, and that's it folks, see you in the afterlife. If there is one.

From behind your mask you can feel your blood pressure rise, the way that happens when the doctor has the rubbery tube thing strapped to your upper arm and, as she pumps, and the grip on your arm is tightened, your levels rise way higher than they were three minutes ago. Then you get diagnosed, you get the pills, and you hope it's not gonna be all over before...

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