Atop the sunbaked landscape of Lodi, California, land of vineyard pastures and winding suburban roads, exists a Chili’s. And those who come to the establishment with dreams of corn dogs and cheap queso dancing in their heads must not pass without the approval of the restaurant’s sentry, who looks upon hopeful newcomers with a piercing glare. He is known to those who fear him as Lord of the Chili’s. He is also a cat.
The black cat arrived one day, as Fox 40 recently reported, and refused to come down from atop the neighborhood Chili’s for days, despite the fact that the restaurant has given him food and water. But the cat’s arrival was no mistake. From the shade of his giant pepper sign, he now demands that any who wish to enter the Chili’s must first answer a torturous riddle of his choice. What awaits those who manage to enter is a cornucopia of budget Tex Mex: heaping piles of steaming quesadillas, guacamole bowls which overflow for eternity, a glistening margarita fountain.
“There are three sisters. The first devours the second, the second devours the third, but a human can devour them all,” the Lord hisses as clouds fill the sky, quickly darkening the parking lot. “Yet these sisters exist, side by side, in peaceful harmony only at Chili’s. Who are the sisters?”
But those who fail his test are smited on the spot and turned to stone, which crumbles in the heat of the California sun. As the parking lot beneath this tiny Sphinx’s paws begins to fill with mountains of dirt and broken rock, some of which still retain the former human shapes of the people who failed his riddle (a gaping mouth in agony here, an arm reaching out for help there), he smiles and peers across the horizon. He is the Lord of the Chili’s, until the end of time.