Chapter 19:

Pretzels

Former Magical Girls and their Daily Lives


The "real" mall, as I guess you could call it, was surprisingly full of people. You would've expected a drop in people in a mall since people could buy anything they wanted online, but there were people. The mall itself was rather tall and you had to take the elevator if you wanted to go anywhere. It made things a little crowded in those elevators, but it was just part of the experience at this point.Bookmark here

The Lemons were wandering around until Yuri suddenly stopped. Almost forgetting about her, Kasumi turned around to see Yuri standing there, looking at something.Bookmark here

"What's up, Yuri? Got something on your mind?"Bookmark here

"Pretzels." Yuri pointed at the pretzel stand, which was sitting near the end of the hall.Bookmark here

"Do you want some?"Bookmark here

Yuri nodded.Bookmark here

"We can get some pretzels," Risa said, "I would admit that I'm not really hungry, to be honest. But if Yuri wants some, then there's no problem with her getting anything.Bookmark here

"Okay, Yuri," Kasumi said, "Let's get some pretzels."Bookmark here

They walked over to the pretzel stand and waited in the line that was formed.Bookmark here

"You know," Kasumi said, "Who invented pretzels?"Bookmark here

"I don't know," Risa said, "I would think that it was invented in the West. Maybe for a fair or something. I don't know why though. Aren't pretzels just fried pieces of dough twisted into a certain shape?"Bookmark here

"I guess they are just bread really, but I wouldn't just bite into a loaf of bread. That'll be a little weird. I would think that the shape was made to be easy to hold and somewhat reasonable. You could eat your bread in peace that way."Bookmark here

"Why are social standards so intolerant that we can't just eat a loaf of bread while walking down the street?" Risa complained.
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"You literally ran to school with a burger in your mouth. Don't act like you suddenly care about how people see you. Also, I think I would be wrong to call pretzels and bread to be that similar. They taste quite different. It's like fried dough. Actually, is it just fried dough? How are pretzels made?"Bookmark here

"I think it's fried dough, but I'm not an expert in cooking stuff like that. I prefer finer foods. Like tacos and hot dogs."Bookmark here

"I have a feeling that tacos and hot dogs have a similar amount of 'fineness' that pretzels have. Why didn't you mention something like curry or sushi? You know how to make those two."Bookmark here

"I wanted to pick something that was just a step above pretzels, but do you think that pretzels aren't that low-class?"Bookmark here

"Well, pretzels are a festival kind of thing. It's a treat that you aren't supposed to have a lot. It's like a candy apple. I wouldn't say that candy apples are 'low-class' or anything. It's a special occasion. It's like a WFC chicken bucket during Christmas time."Bookmark here

"WFC for Christmas was just an advertising campaign that worked too well. No one who celebrates Christmas because of their religion eats WFC. We Japanese aren't that Christian."Bookmark here

"Well, it's still a special occasion. Even if it isn't a 'real' holiday tradition. I believe the rarity of the eating of the food makes it a higher class than what we eat on a day-to-day basis."Bookmark here

"If the rarity of the eating of the food makes something more high class, that would mean that the class of food is completely relative. If you ate candy from, I don't know, Brazil, that would be a rare experience for you, but if you asked a person from Brazil, that same candy bar would be completely unspecial. It would be normal. While I can understand holiday foods to be generally higher class, it isn't just the rarity of the eating that makes it higher class."Bookmark here

"Then maybe it's the food's ability to be mass-produced. If you could make a million candy bars by flipping a switch, then it isn't that special. If grandma has to prepare the meal the whole day, then it's probably higher class."Bookmark here

"I think we are going away from what's higher class or not. Something that is high class is usually reserved for the high class of society. It's something for the royalty or the emperor or the mega-wealthy. It isn't a simple math equation. Maybe it's something for culture to decide. If a culture thinks that hot dogs are high class, then it's high class for them. However, I doubt that hot dogs are high class for anyone. Unless you have a shortage of meat and bread, hot dogs should be easy to make even by the poorest of people. Heck, you can usually buy it for cheap in gas stations. So, while hot dogs could be a high class in some theoretical society, the accessibility to hot dog ingredients makes it hard for a hot dog to stay in the high class."Bookmark here

"I guess that isn't wrong, but I think we will be arguing about the meaning of words if we keep going like this."Bookmark here

The people in front of them left with their pretzels, and the Lemons moved forward. There an attractive woman in her early thirties tended the cash register. Once seeing the girls, she pulled down her cap to cover her eyes.Bookmark here

"Hello, welcome to the pretzel store. May I take your order?" she said in a gloomy voice.Bookmark here

"Mrs. Hiiragi?" Risa said, "What are you doing here?"Bookmark here

"Sigh." She looked up. "Just working."Bookmark here

"I'm so sorry. The teacher job must not pay you too much."Bookmark here

"No, it pays me enough to live just fine. I just like working."Bookmark here

"What work ethic. Good job, Mrs. Hiiragi."Bookmark here

"Thank you, but I'm doing this just for myself. What would you like to eat?"Bookmark here

"I'll like the... Is that a magical girl notebook? It's so cute."Bookmark here

Mrs. Hiiragi forgot that she put her notebook next to the cash register. She thought that she put it in a place that no one could see, but it seems like everyone could see it, but no one bothered to ask her about it.Bookmark here

"Oh, yeah," she said, "It's my daughter's notebook. I'm just carrying it for her."Bookmark here

"That's cool. I didn't know that you had a daughter. I'll love to meet her one day."Bookmark here

Mrs. Hiiragi was childless.Bookmark here

"Sorry, but I like to keep my personal and work life separate. Anyway, what do you want to eat?"Bookmark here

"Okay. I guess I'll have... I don't know. What do you recommend?"Bookmark here

"Personally, the pretzel is pretty good. We don't really have anything else. But it comes in different flavors. Salt, cinnamon, chocolate, you know. What do you like?"Bookmark here

"Hmm..." Risa pondered on it for a moment. "Oh, right. I just remembered that I wasn't hungry."Bookmark here

"..." Mrs. Hiiragi said, "Okay, how about you two?"Bookmark here

"Cinnamon," said Yuri.Bookmark here

"I guess cinnamon would be good too," said Kasumi.Bookmark here

"Thank you for your order."Bookmark here

Mrs. Hiiragi pulled out two cinnamon pretzels from the heater and set them on the counter. Kasumi paid her the money. The transaction was made.Bookmark here

"How are they?" Risa asked.Bookmark here

"Pretty good, I guess," said Kasumi, "It doesn't taste like it was fried dough, though. It's just bread with sugar and cinnamon."Bookmark here

"I see. I guess I was wrong about the fried dough."Bookmark here

"Nothing wrong with that. I hope we guessed the origin correctly, though."Bookmark here

"You know what, let's find out," Risa said. She pulled out her phone and rang up Megumi.Bookmark here

"When did you get her number?"Bookmark here

"That isn't important."Bookmark here

The phone stopped ringing and Megumi answered.Bookmark here

"Hello? This is Izumi," Megumi said.Bookmark here

"Oh, sorry, I was looking for Megumi," Risa said, "Wrong number."Bookmark here

"Wait, that's also me," Megumi said before Risa could hang up, "You are Risa, right?"Bookmark here

"Yes, that's me. I have a question for you, Megumi."Bookmark here

"What is it?"Bookmark here

"What is the origin of pretzels?"Bookmark here

"Like the food?"Bookmark here

"Yes. The bread thing."
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"Well, pretzels are really old, and we don't know exactly they were made first. But it has a lot of connections with Northern Germany and the Church. So, that may be where it started. Can't tell you when, but it must be old."Bookmark here

"Okay, thanks, Megumi. That's all I wanted to ask you. Bye."Bookmark here

"Wait, why didn't you just search it up online? Why did you ask m-"Bookmark here

Risa hung up.Bookmark here

"I guess we were wrong as we could be."Bookmark here

"I guess so."Bookmark here

The girls ate their pretzels as they waited for the Earth to rotate.Bookmark here

Parsatag
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