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[Flash Fiction] by Bill Burman

Updated: May 21, 2020

Subj: We’re all in this together!

Hey Neighberino,

We understand that these are trying times. And we know that, instead of social distancing and staying home, you would rather be out enjoying the fine offerings at your local Friendly Neighborhood Gastropub location. Whether it’s one of our batch made craft cocktails with locally sourced ingredients or one of our signature appetizers like our Jidori-Midori Chicken Tenders or Measuring Cup Full of Truffle Oil, we want to bring the elevated and sophisticated good times to you, in a safe and caring way.

With that in mind, we’re offering a variety of special packages that have been lovingly and painstakingly assembled by our dedicated and loyal employees who certainly can’t afford to call into work right now, or ever. For your safety, each package has been spritzed with the Trader Joe’s lavender hand sanitizer spray that Kelsey found in her purse.

Package one: The Comforter

Build your own burger kit + one roll of toilet paper

We know that you’ve been fiending to crack open one of these two ply bad boys! These soft and absorbent rolls are a step above the thin and oversized tissue style roll you stole from your office bathroom before everything was shut down. Why wait in line at Costco when we can bring the plush and quilted good times directly to you? Careful not to use them all: if things really go south over the next few weeks, these are your new currency in the post apocalypse.

Also included in this package is one pound of Niman Ranch ground beef, enough for two half pound burgers cooked any way you like, as long as you do it yourself.

Fries are, as always $6 extra per burger.

Package Two: The Bespoke

Wanna avoid getting a mask tan? Skip standing outside in long lines in the hot sun to get into Erewhon. This package is a special collection, curated with deliberation from items that weren’t selling at local grocery stores.

These locally sourced and custom batched goods couldn’t be given away for free, but for a slightly outrageous fee, we’ve bundled them together for your convenience so you can stay safer at home.

Every package is different, but includes classic staples like chickpea noodles, kale pizza crust, Peeps (Takis flavor), a package of twenty (20) unnecessarily gendered sanitary Dude Wipes, Peeps (shrimp flavor), Manhattan Clam Chowder (New England locations only), and cauliflower crackers with chocolate hummus.

Each deluxe package also includes a six pack of heavily discounted Corona beer.

Package Three: The Social Scene

No matter how much online shopping you’re doing right now, we know that nothing compares to the experience of being there. That’s why we’re bringing the feeling of a night out home to you.

Package three includes all of the above, as well classic moments you miss from hanging out in bars and restaurants. Order our standard package, and we’ll send a couple having their first date to your home to sit at the table next to you and your SO while you gossip about them. For an extra fee, the date will go poorly.

The deluxe package features the first date couple, as well as an entirely different couple with their own set of issues: his mouth is full while he’s talking loudly on a FaceTime call he’s trying very hard to convince everyone within earshot is incredibly important, and she’s twenty years younger. For a small extra fee, you will appear in the background of her snaps.

Finally, the gold package includes the two couples as described above, whose tables are moved so close to yours that no one can stand up without turning sideways. Meanwhile, the music is cranked up to the point where your SO is inaudible. Then we turn off your lights. Your only source of illumination will be a tea candle that is hanging on for dear life because you’re sitting directly underneath a freezing cold air duct.

Ordering is easy: just download our app and go through the simple 28 step sign up process - no purchase necessary, though we will need you to enter your credit card. Simply verify your email, turn on three factor authentication, and then click the link in the verification email that arrives a mere seventeen minutes later on your third registration attempt.

Remember, here at Friendly Neighborhood Gastropub, we love you, we miss you, and we treasure your willingness to to purchase $15 Moscow Mules. We can’t wait to see you back here as soon as just enough time has passed so that we don’t seem like complete monsters for restarting the economy before we’ve got a handle on this whole silly pandemic thing.


Your pals at the Friendly Neighborhood Gastropub chain of restaurants

Bill Burman is a comedy writer, unscripted television producer, and a former food and travel journalist who occasionally scores free tequila via his Instagram account @tacosandjokes. He’s the proud owner of annual National Parks pass, a perfect Old Fashioned recipe, and has an upcoming book about working in the reality television industry.


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