It was the newest Vegan cafe in a Balinese touristy town. People were flocking to check it out, colourful paint, thatched roof, urban warehouse meets tropical island haven. The front page of the menu told the story of the Australian owners, John and Laura. They met on holidays five years ago, fell in love and opened the cafe using local produce, sustainable practices and sharing with the community their passion for good food and environmentally conscious living. People loved that story, they idolised their lives.
This week, Laura was off volunteering in Burma, so John was running the cafe alone. He greeted everyone with his generous smile when they walked in. He stopped by tables to meet people, learn where they were from and what they were doing in Bali. He posed for photos and took some too. He knew they’d end up on Instagram-for a fleeting moment would hold someone’s attention then be dismissed with the flick of a finger into cyberspace. John hated people sometimes.
Ketut walks in and beams his pearly white teeth at John. “Hello Boss!” he sings. In an attempt to be covert, he winks an eye that actually pulses his entire face like he’s having a fit. John knows he has good news. They chat mindless conversation as they walk out to the back of the store. Ketut pulls a roll of newspaper from his backpack and out rolls a BBQ chicken. “Thanks mate, I owe you, today is killing me in there!” John scoffs the animal down, trying not to let the smell leak out of the paper and reveal his secret to the staff. Ketut laughs with his belly and shakes his head. Like barbarians they both wipe the grease off their mouths with their whole arms. Ketut leaves and John has a cigarette to further hide the truth.
John loved Laura, so he loved everything she loved. Let’s start a cafe she said. Let’s live a lifestyle people only dream of. In paradise she said. Ugh he shrugged. Why did she have to love those bloody monkeys so much and leave him there alone?