All the tables in Nora's restaurant were occupied, and the men agreed that it was a shame that she did not have a larger place so that she could serve more people. "She should expand her business at the earliest opportunity," Ante said, echoing the sentiment of his colleagues. And everyone nodded in agreement. The food was fantastic and plentiful, and it was tempting to stuff oneself to the point of it becoming painful. However, as the main course drew to an end, Aung asked if everyone were ready for desert and coffee, and this stopped Bjorn from scraping the serving dishes spread out over the table, and appeared to have the same effect on both Thomas and Espen who leant back in their chairs as if to contemplate the offer.
"That sounds great!" Frank replied. "What's for desert?"
"Deep fried banana with ice cream," Aung answered with a smile. "And a birthday cake for the birthday boy."
"In addition to the banana, I hope?" Thomas asked, looking concerned.
Ante looked at his colleagues, to see if everyone were finished with the main course. "So, are we finished?" he asked, just to make sure, and everybody nodded with a "yeah, sure, it was delicious."
Aung immediately sat about clearing the table while the men leant back to give her easy access to their plates and glasses. Bjorn looked around in the restaurant to see if everyone else were as pleased with the place as him, and there was no doubt about it being a success with everybody.
Three foreigners were sitting at a table by the far wall, talking just loud enough for Bjorn to identify them as Italians. A table in the middle of the room had what looked like a family party of locals from Kirkenes, with parents, a grand mother and three teenage children. And two strong looking men, also Norwegians, were sitting at a table for two by the near wall.
Everybody were enjoying themselves. Even the teenagers looked pleased and not at all bored by their company, and when Aung started coming in with the deep fried bananas for Bjorn and his colleagues they perked up even more, clearly eager to try some themselves.
The men got a cup of coffee and a small glass of banana liquor to go with their treat. And before anyone could stop him, Ante had swallowed his liquor. "Man! That's good!" he exclaimed shamelessly as his colleagues looked with some concern at their designated driver.
"You better stop drinking now!" Thomas protested. "We've all been drinking. Who's going to get us back to the checkpoint?"
"Come on!" Ante retorted. "I have the whole night to burn off this alcohol. Two beers and a bit of schnapps isn't going to make any difference in a few hours time."
"So you're going to quit drinking now?" Thomas asked.
"Yes of course. Stop being so worried!"