From the exterior it seems like just another unassuming storefront in just another shopping center. You open the door and hear the familiar tinkle of the bells. You are greeted by the spitting image of Billy Zane, (complete with charcoal eyeliner and that patented, impenetrable sphinx smile), and beckoned past the Shasta orange bead curtains to a table in the back of the place.
You are seated smack dab in the middle of an indoor bamboo grove. To your left is a perfect miniature fountain – an exquisite representation of a Swiss chalet in the Alps. Used motor oil trickles down its face stinking up the place. From somewhere a chopped and screwed version of Nick Drake’s ‘Pink Moon’ is piped in. You try to ease into it; take deep breaths, try to nod your head to the beat but it’s hard with the all the additional bass from the subwoofers under your seat. There is a wall-sized terrarium with a family of hedgehogs playing in a box of Krispy Kreme donuts; their spines sticky with icing.
Billy’s back – materializing at your elbow like a ninja. He’s wearing a crisp white oxford, pink rubber gloves and a freshly-bloodied apron. He gently hands you a menu with ‘Queen Mobs’ Teahouse’ emblazoned across the front. You open it:
- Assam tea – infused with our house blend of hummingbird hearts and gasoline
- Matcha tea – made from shed green snake scales ground to a fine powder
- Rooibos tea – extreme medicinal qualities include, but are certainly not limited to, immunity to respiratory diseases (including SARS), and the ability to see into another’s mind (albeit briefly)
- Tantric lemon ginger – our lemons are squeezed between the virgin thighs of savants and the resulting tea kept perpetually just this side of climax
- Feral Fennel liquorice – made from rabid (but sweet) kennel dogs. R.I.P.
- Rosehip hibiscus – with real hips
- Chai – strained from the charred remains of the most fervent believers on the Ganges
- Valerian – Valérie’s tears have never tasted so bittersweet
- Camomile – induces a sleep akin to deep sea diving *beware the bends*
- Mint – from coins that have been in circulation for centuries.
Judson Hamilton lives in Wrocław, Poland. Twitter: @judson_hamilton