(The set is identical to the one used in THE TIE. It is, in fact the same restaurant. A different man is seated at a table with a bowl of soup. He calls to the waiter)
Waiter: (The waiter notices him but does not come to the table. Instead he yells from across the restaurant) YES?
Man: (Rather afraid to disturb the other customers, but he too yells across the restaurant to the waiter) Umm. There seems to be an animal in my soup!
Waiter: What kind of animal sir?
Man: Err… a hamster.
Waiter: I think you are mistaken sir. You say there is a hamster in your soup?
Man: Yes. I’d like a new bowl of soup please!
Waiter: I’m sure if you look again, you’ll see you’ve make a mistake.
Man: LOOK! I know I’ve made no mistake about it! There is a small furry hamster drinking my soup. Now would you please bring me a new bowl of soup!
Waiter: OOOH!! I know what must have happened. That’s not a hamster in your soup. It’s a Guinea pig. The cook must have forgotten to remove it before I brought your soup out.
Waiter: Yes, we serve them in all the soups. If the Guinea pig lives, then we know the soup is safe to eat; if it dies, we know someone has poisoned the soup.
Man: Well that’s got to be the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard! This creature is beating me to my soup. He’s finished almost all of it. I certainly don’t care to share my soup with some Guinea pig!
Waiter: Just be thankful it wasn’t poisoned.
Man: And is poison soup a common occurrence at this restaurant?
Waiter: That all depends on what you mean by “common”.
Man: Let me put it to you this way; has ANYONE been poisoned here?
Waiter: Not since we’ve started serving the Guinea pigs in the soup; no.
Man: I see. And how many Guinea pigs have died from drinking poisonous soup?
Waiter: Well… It’s very hard to tell. Guinea pigs don’t really know how to swim, so some of them may have just plain drown… or died of natural causes.
Man: How many have died IN GENERAL?
Waiter: In the past two months?
Man: Since you started using them.
Waiter: That was two months ago.
Man: FINE. Stop stalling! How many Guinea pigs have died in your soup!
Man: Hmmm. Tell me; do you get many customers coming back to this restaurant?
Waiter: Well, we are on a major hi-way here. We see a constant flow of new patrons.
Man: So it doesn’t really bother you that you’ll never get repeat business from any sane human being?
Waiter: Well. That’s the way it goes. Some people have no concern for their own safety. You can eat in other restaurant if you want to. Sure; see if I care. Go somewhere else where they don’t taste test the food with sterilized lab animals if you want to. Like I said; we don’t need your business. Do you have any idea how many people are killed by food poisoning in restaurants each year? Do you? I do! (He pulls out a huge fanfold report) THOUSANDS! But the name of this restaurant does not appear on this list. We have not had one customer die of food poisoning. NOT ONE!!
Man: I can believe that. It’s probably because nobody eats anything here! Who in their right mind is going to eat a bowl of soup that they’ve just picked a hamster out of? Sterilized or not?
Waiter: It’s a Guinea pig.
Man: I don’t care if it’s a muskrat! I can’t believe anyone would share their soup with one. For one thing; they’d have to be quick. This little guy’s just finished mine!
Waiter: Then obviously it wasn’t poison. You could have eaten it assured of your safety.
Man: A lot of good that does me now.
Waiter: Well…you could lick the Guinea pig.
Man: DON’T BE DISGUSTING!
Waiter: Fine, I’ll bring you another bowl of soup. We can skip the Guinea pig. We’ll just dip his head in so he can get a little sip of it.
Man: NO! Certainly not!
Waiter: Just a sip?
Man: No. Bring me a new bowl of soup and don’t let any furry creatures within a foot of it! Understand?
Waiter: Fine. It’s your life. (Exits)
Man: (He starts watching the Guinea pig and baby talking to it. Then he is startled by something) WAITER!
Waiter: Yes sir?
Man: My Guinea pig just died.
Waiter: Ooooh, too bad. Maybe he had a heart condition.
Man: Like hell! Someone is trying to poison me!
Waiter: No no sir. I’ m sure your Guinea pig’s untimely death had nothing to do with the soup. He finished the entire bowl. If your soup were poisonous, he would surely have kicked off earlier. Here is your new bowl. Enjoy it.
Man: NO WAY!! There are some slow reacting poisons you know! I’m sure somebody is trying to kill me! Bring me a new Guinea pig right away!
Waiter: As you wish sir.
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