Spinrad arrived one night to tell Larry his story of having
attended one of those writers' conferences. One evening, a
number of them had gone out for dinner at a restaurant that
had some pretensions at being better than a mere greasy spoon
Most of them ordered hamburgers. One ordered prime rib.
Keith Laumer studied the menu awhile and then said, "I'd like
to have the seafood platter. There's just one thing. I don't
want any oysters."
"Sir," said the wiatress, "oysters are not in season."
"Yes," said Laumer, "but I don't want any."
"Sir," said the waitress, "there are NO oysters in the restaurant."
"Good," said Laumer, "but please note that I don't want any anyway."
She took the order and disappeared. Various people got served.
All but Laumer. Most of them were nearly done with their meals
when the waitress came back with the seafood platter and put it
down in front of him.
He studied it suspiciously, then stabbed down his fork and
held up a piece of seafood -- to stare at it even more
suspiciously. He held the fork over to Harlan.
"What do you think this is?" he asked.
"Well, Keith, it's hard to be sure, but it does look a lot
like an oyster."
He brought back the fork, stared at it a moment more, then
held it out to Spinrad who gave the same verdict.
"WAITRESS!" cried Laumer. "THIS IS AN OYSTER!"
She came running to the table.
"THIS IS AN OYSTER!" he cried.
"Sir," she said, "oysters aren't in season."
"*THIS* is an oyster!"
"Sir, there are *no* oysters in the restaurant."
"THIS is an OYSTER!"
"Well, sir, if you don't want it," she said, "then I'll
gladly take it away." She picked up his bread and butter dish
and held it out to him -- and he took the oyster off the fork
and placed it in her *other* hand, on her naked palm. And
she reacted instinctively to the cold and slimy thing -- and
threw it -- straight into the face of the writer who'd ordered
the prime rib. Who jumped up, said, "I've never been so
insulted in my life!" and stalked out of the restaurant --
Followed by Laumer.
Leaving Spinrad and Ellison to explain to the restaurant
that they wanted separate checks and were NOT resonsible
for paying for the seafood platter or the prime rib.