Thursday, June 23, 2011
Charleston, Chewed - Part 8
Click Here to read this story from the beginning…
Okay, it wasn’t ALL of the Children of the Corn that wandered out onto the patio, just a single representative, but I knew instinctively that he was one of them. Some children just have that look, where they glare at you with the boldness and confidence that comes from never having heard the word “No” directed at them at any point in their entire lives, ever. Consequently, everyone around them suffers.
I glanced up at the parents, doing a quick-check to determine their culpability and coping choices. Were they Damien-Deniers, the sort who absolutely refuse to believe that their angelic offspring could possibly do anything wrong, or were they Guilty-Grunters, the type who are fully aware that evil has sprung from their loins, but they still bite their tongue rather than discipline the child?
The analysis was quick. Corn-Child purposely knocked over something on a table they passed. Mommy smiled, then reached out and lovingly patted Cornie’s head as if he had just cured cancer and reversed global warming. She was definitely a DD. Daddy sighed, righted the ketchup bottle, and muttered something that Cornie completely ignored and Mommy mentally blocked because negative words about her child simply didn’t exist. Ah, so we had one parent of each flavor. Great, this should be fun.
Tiffany tugged at my sleeve. “What are you getting?” I turned back to the table, where the rest of our gang was flipping plastic pages. Oh, right, we were supposed to be making up our minds about the food. It’s easy to get distracted when the beer is flowing and miniature Hitlers are walking about unshackled. (Behind me, noises indicated that Little Adolph had just hurled his menu onto the floor. I’m assuming Mommy smiled and Daddy died a little inside.)
Back to the food. We discussed this dish, and pondered over that one, and finally decided that we couldn’t decide and that maybe we should just get a bunch of appetizers and see how the world treated us. We picked out several items that glowed with the possibility of being magically delicious. Our server, receiving a signal on her finely-tuned waitress radar that we might actually be ready to order, come rushing out of the restaurant proper, thrilled that we had finally reached this critical point after three days of sitting at our table.
Then she almost derailed everything by plunking down a smaller menu. “Oh, here’s the sushi menu from upstairs. The Sushi Guy is in and he’s ready.”
Tiffany and I jointly pawed the new piece of literature, having forgotten that Diner Dinah had gone on an expedition to retrieve this article. Our world was instantly in turmoil, because we would now have to think about things once again, and we were scared. Bravely, we decided to gently lay the sushi menu aside and stick with our original appetizer selections from the non-raw main menu.
Dinah began making notations about our dining choices, and this went swimmingly well, until we got to the bit about ordering the “conch fritters”. I pronounced the first word as “kawnch”, mainly because that’s how I had always thought the word should be uttered.
Apparently I was nothing more than a stupid hillbilly with no teeth and a disregard for proper enunciation. “Okay, then,” muttered Dinah. “One order of kunk fritters.” Then she paused and glared my way, challenging me to butcher yet another culinary appellation.
I was stymied. Kunk? That’s how you say it? How could I have not known this? And why would you say it that way? There’s no “u” in the damn word. I looked at Tiffany for validation and support.
She provided neither. Haughtily scanning the menu, she spewed forth with “Yes, an order of kunk fritters, and let’s do some of this calamari.” Then she primly set her menu aside, exuding an air of royalty having to deal with common peasants and not being pleased with that arrangement.
So I hated her. I briefly considered throwing her ass in the much-loved fireplace, but that would require physical effort and the temporary relinquishing of my beer bottle, neither activity having any real appeal. So I sulked while the rest of the table fingered things on the menu that they wanted in their mouths, post haste. Diner Dinah did some scribbling and then raced off to do whatever servers do that causes food to eventually be brought to the table.
Fine. I decided that I needed to pee, a decision that I often reach when I don’t have anything else on the immediate agenda. I excused myself, shot Tiffany a withering glance of disappointment which she easily deflected with her Wonder Woman power bracelets, and then marched into the restaurant proper, trying to decipher where the loo might reside in this establishment.
Oh. It was right there as you entered from the patio, off to the left. That was tough. I slipped inside and locked the door, not out of any sense of modesty but mainly because I didn’t want fools lumbering in and interrupting my beloved target games. Two seconds after I had positioned the equipment and commenced firing, I heard someone attempt to open the door. One second later, some hell-beast began pounding on the door with an intensity that could throw the planet out of alignment.
What the hell?
I hollered out that things were occupado, then purposely dallied a bit, because rudeness should not be rewarded, going so far as to do the full 12-point cleansing of hands at the wash basin, followed by thorough usage of the paper towel dispenser to insure that all body parts were dry and ready for inspection. Finally, I opened the door.
To find Damien Corn Child standing there. With his jackal eyes and sociopathic tendencies. Terrific.
The little bastard barreled into the bathroom and assumed the call-of-nature position at the toilet. The urchin did not care who saw what, a disregard that probably kept his anal-retentive parents up at night and in constant legal trouble. I stepped out and pulled the door to, hoping that some happenstance of lock-mechanism malfunction would trap Tiny Ted Bundy in there unto eternity.
I waltzed back out onto the patio, and immediately noticed two things. One, the parents of the jackal were nowhere to be found. (Interesting. Had the State finally had enough and issued death warrants for the good of mankind?) Two, Tiffany and Tommy were standing in front of the beloved fireplace, bellowing a song that I believe had something to do with muskrats and the joys to be had when it came to Himalayan, hand-woven codpieces. Something like that, I don’t really know.
I sat down at the table and looked to Terry and Nina for guidance. They looked back at me with expressions that clearly stated “It’s Tommy. We have no idea. We have never had any idea. It’s Tommy.” Okay, got it.
Just then, Agnetha the Brave Serving Wench clattered on to the patio, along with an unknown assistant, bearing trays containing our much-debated appetizers. As they went about with their product placement, the rest of us rushed to our chairs and immediately shoved our heads into the trough.
For several minutes, there was no talking, only grunting and occasional gasping as someone came up for hair. Everything was incredibly delicious, hard to pick a favorite, but if it were a gun-to-my-head situation, I’d have to go with this as the winner: Blackened Steak Bites, that were “smothered with mushrooms and onions, served with a bleu cheese horseradish sauce”, the actual description from the menu, even though these words do not fully capture the true divinity of what I was shoving in my mouth.
I may have even passed out at some point. There was a hazy period where I’m not quite sure what may have been happening. The only certainty is that I never lost my ability to coherently request additional beverages, because when I finally focused back on reality, there were two empty beer bottles in front of me and Agnetha was waltzing up with even more replenishments.
I finally reached the point where I couldn’t possibly consume another ounce of anything. It was strongly possible that I wouldn’t even be able to get out of my chair until something digested, so I just leaned back and patiently waited for gastronomical shifts. Judging by the pained and sweaty faces all around me, we had all eaten entirely too much.
Agnetha appeared once more, a gleam in her eye. “Anyone ready for dessert?”
My head immediately exploded at the mere thought. If another scrap of anything edible was placed on this table, I was going to cut someone.
“I’ll just run get the dessert menu,” purred Evil Eve.
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