Monday, December 10, 2012

There's a Fungus Among Us

We now take a brief respite from the book-signing shenanigans in order to illustrate the burden that The Pony must bear in being the beloved son of Val Thevictorian.

On the way home to Backroads, Hick's thoughts turned to feeding stations along the route. He was pushing Red Robin with all the gusto of a tow-headed two-year-old pushing one of those dadburned popcorn-popper contraptions. The Pony agreed that he would consume something from that establishment. Hick declared that he knew just where one was located, having seen it on his trip to the eye specialist for some minor surgery a couple months ago.

Hick sweaved and he swove, maneuvering my Tahoe through surging Saturday-evening traffic like George Costanza saving a record-high Frogger machine from a power outage. Shooting out onto a four-lane one-way thoroughfare, Hick commanded us to look for the Red Robin sign. Darkness was falling. Neon lights glowed. I spied a Surf and Turf where Hick imagined a Red Robin. Then we both saw it. Red Robin on the left. Three lanes over. Receding in our rear-view mirrors.

"Hey, there's an ophthalmologist surgery center."

"I know. That's where I went for my eye surgery."

"It's right across from the Red Robin."

"Yeah. I knew it was here somewhere."

"Huh. I guess you couldn't see it clearly. BECAUSE YOU'D JUST HAD EYE SURGERY!"

There was no going back. Hick rejected Plan B proposed by Val, which was the Festus Imo's. He instead offered Plan C. "...some Chinese place where CiCi's used to be." The Pony and I were on board. We filed in and grabbed plates. The Pony opted for his standby, Sweet and Sour Chicken. He placed his napkin across his khaki-shorted lap like a well-bred little country beast, so as not to drip sticky sauce onto his clothing. He is the antithesis of the bespotted Genius, he whom the Tide Pen inventor envisioned as his target market.

Somewhere in the feeding frenzy, I opted to try a fried frog's leg. I had not grabbed it the first go round. The more I thought of that pan of frogs' legs, the more I knew I must take the bait. When else am I going to come across frogs' legs that are so easy for the taking? Of course, nobody can put a single frog's leg on a plate at a Chinese buffet. So I slapped on a few slices of peppered beef. Some more tasty mushrooms in garlicky spicy brown sauce that I'd sampled on the first plate.

By the time I sat back down, The Pony beside me had finished his meal of S & S Chicken and two sugary biscuits. He fiddled and faddled. He'd forgotten to bring in a phone for gaming, or a book to pass the time. He stirred his Sprite in excess. Hick told him to cool it. The Pony heaved a sigh. He looked at my plate.

"Hey, try a bite of this frog's leg. C'mon. You can tell everybody that not only did you go to a haunted bookstore, you ate a frog's leg."

"No. I'm not eating that."

"C'mon. You'll be sorry."

"No I won't. I'm not eating it."

"Huh. Neither am I right now. That is HOT!" I had taken a bite, and hot grease shot out. Luckily it only burned my side-lip, rather than dripping to stain my shirt.

"See? Aren't you glad I didn't try it and make a mess?" The Pony took the napkin off his lap and put it on the table.

I forked a bit of peppered beef into my mouth, and went to stab a mushroom. It refused to be stabbed, and skittered out from under my tines like a tiddly-wink leaping out from under the edge of the shooter, LANDING ON THE PONY'S LEFT THIGH ON THE POCKET OF HIS KHAKI CARGO SHORTS.

"Really, Mom? Really?"

I cleaned him up the best I could before he had to walk out. Did you know that a bit of Diet Coke dripped from a straw and scratched in with a fingernail can lift a greasy stain as good as a Tide Pen? It's true.

And frogs' legs taste like chicken.


  1. Yes, that's why we parents were put on this burden our children. To embarrass them. To drip something on them and then--horrors!--dab spit on our finger to clean up the smudge.

    Every one of their grimaces is worth the effort we put forth...

  2. Wow! You did make a day of it. Be wary, I once went to the haunted Lemp Mansion and brought home a ghost.

  3. Chinese restaurants seem to attract odd-ball adventures like trailer parks attract tornadoes. Your post reminded me of the Seinfeld episode where they couldn't get a table at the Chinese restaurant. Oh, and I'm with Pony on those sugary biscuits. They are yummy!

  4. I can't wait to read your memoir... you are writing one, aren't you?

  5. Sioux,
    How dare he take offense! You'd think I drove away from the school building with him having one foot on the pavement, and one foot in the car. Oh. I did. Never mind.

    The Pony has a couple of pictures of the Book House basement. Maybe I'll get to that later in the week. I once feared that I'd brought home a ghost from a school gym. To get away from it, I drove 134 miles in the middle of the night. Upon arrival at my sublet apartment, I accidentally woke up my then-roommate. Who looked like she'd seen a ghost.

    There's more to the Chinese restaurant story, but I don't know if I'll have time to address it. The Book House excursion has turned out to be a rich tapestry of interlocking events.

    Of course I'm writing one. If this wacky stuff would quit happening to me, I might finish it some day. The problem is, I lack a theme. Weird Stuff That Happens To Val doesn't quite cut it. My Life With Hick has promise, but he would likely divorce me, then sue for half the non-existent profits.

    However, I would hold out for the rights to the story of how he captured two pot-bellied pigs, called them wild boars, and had all but scheduled a date with a sausage-maker before I got home from the weekly shopping trip.