Sunday, May 22, 2005

By the Pound, not the Inch

The little club was shaking in six dimensions like a giant maraca—the wholel place moved to one hectic rhythm while people at individual tables were all over the place, standing to shake themselves, shrieking with laughter, high-fiving, hugging and ripping out spontaneous dance steps by their tables…

Sometimes there’s only so much excitement I can take before I just need a cheeseburger. I made my way through the band toward the kitchen at the back of the house, stepping gingerly over snaking guitar cables and winding past the blasting band while trying to put more shake in my step for their sake.

The kitchen was a brief oasis of quiet calm occupied only by me and the chef, as seen below:


He savored a quiet cigarette between waves of orders in a way that only experienced cooks can…he took no notice of me for a few moments as he leaned against the reach in, eyes closed, smoke curling up from the lit stick in his hand to commingle with the slow gust of smoke seeping dragon-like from his flared nostrils. I could see his consciousness lazily swimup from the deep and quiet place where all cooks go for a few blessed moments every night until his eyelids trembled and he coolly stepped up, refreshed and ready for action and said “Hey m’man…what can I getcha?”

With one deft move, he gently cradled the still-burning cigarette into an ashtray kept conveniently on the counter, a four-inch hop from his other hand busily sawing a generous portion of burger meat.

We chatted idly, until a pack of women from outside exploded into the room, cackling, slapping backs and lovingly squabbling over who got to use the bathroom first.

One woman flung herself into a plastic chair and sighed a massive sigh, exclaiming to the world at large, “OooohLOrd I am tired as hell…”

Then she poked me in the leg. As I looked down she caught my eyes in hers and said “”scuse me, but I was wondering…Is you about to thow up? “Cause I am…”

Everyone in the kitchen blew up laughing. I almost puked from laughing so hard. This woman here (see previous post for a bigger pic)


turned to the cook saying, “You know, I like the look of your cheeseburgers. But what I want, what I reeeally want, is a big, brown, spicy sausage. Can you give me one of those instead, mister?” Her eyes twinkled as her friends howled with laughter. Without even looking up from the counter, the chef said “I got one, baby, but you might wanna be careful. I measure it by the pound, not by the inch…”

Everyone screamed…I laughed so hard my eyes were wet.

Here’s a picture of one of the onlookers:


Tash and I left to check out some other jukes afterwards, but nothing was really happening. Some Japanese guys and Canadians were trying hard to push it out at Red's but the show was over. The night before had been a big one, and all the local talent had been drinking and playing all day--everybody was at home or in bed, if not both.

I've learned that the secret to a good night is knowing when it stops. Sometimes the peak of the evening comes early, and the best way to ruin an evening is to race around all damn night trying to find the fun until three am. You got to just let it go and get to we did.


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