CHEAP EATS What’s this? I have finally bumped up against something that I can’t write about. Well, maybe if I … Nope, can’t write about it. I … goddamn it! Except to say that I can’t write about it, I can’t write about it.
So you know it’s not sex, because I write about sex. At the risk of desecrating the food section, I have written about my own poo. I have written about my dates, at the risk of not being asked out again. (Which works, by the way.) I’ve written about suicide, cancer, divorce, and inside-out chickens all the things that people don’t like to talk about.
For years have I spilled my heart, and the beans, all over your bus rides and breakfasts. While all the other clumsy people in the world were spilling coffee on their newspapers, I spilled the newspaper on your coffee. I’m like one of those reality TV shows. I’m a reality restaurant review.
Except not no more.
Christ, I’m so fucking dismantled. A chicken farmer without chickens, a witch without brew or broom, a nun without a ruler, I don’t even exactly know where I live right now. I’m in between homes, cars, bodies, and bands. Hey now would be a good time to work on that drinking problem! I want one bad. Like an alcoholic craves a drink, I crave alcoholism, but lack the strength of character to follow through. One glass, and I lose interest. Traditionally.
On the other hand, they say that every day is the first day of the rest of your life.
With renewed resolve, I knocked on Earl Butter’s door. He had vodka. I had tomato juice. All we needed was hot sauce.
"Do you still have those Buffalo wings I left in your refrigerator?" I asked, thinking we could dip the wings, like celery sticks, into our drinks. A little butter, a little chicken grease wouldn’t hurt a Bloody Mary. In fact, someone told me that Bloody Marys have beef in them. I don’t know, people tell me a lot of things, but I sure hope this one’s true, for vegetarians’ sake.
Anyway, it was a ridiculous idea. The likelihood of Earl Butter keeping Buffalo wings in his fridge overnight is like the likelihood of me keeping a secret. It could happen, but …
I happened to have keys to a couple of other apartments in his building, because that’s the kind of homeless person I am. I have more keys than janitors. This way, none of my friends ever has to clean their refrigerator.
My raid yielded no leftover Buffalo wings, but yes Tapatio. That’s that Mexican hot sauce. For our purposes Earl Butter wanted Tabasco, but none of my peeps keeps Tabasco on hand, not even Earl Butter. I looked in his fridge and he had Tapatio too. Somewhere in the world I have a refrigerator of my own, and I’ll bet you $10 it has Tapatio in it. It’s just the best all-purpose hot sauce there is.
I know because I recently lined them all up at a restaurant I forget which one and taste-tested them on different parts of my omelet. Tapatio was the best. Then that Asian one, in the fat squeeze bottle. Then Crystal, then Tabasco.
Tabasco is best in Bloody Marys, but nobody I know has Tabasco. Big deal, so we were going to have Bloody Marias.
They were great! We made them in small glasses so I could drink more drinks. And guess what? Earl Butter didn’t have the Buffalo wings, but he did still have the celery sticks that came with them.
I ate four celery sticks and passed out on the couch.
When I woke up it was morning. For fun, I pretended to have a hangover. Everyone else in the world was going to work. I rode my bike to Sockywonk’s, and she didn’t look good, which is rare.
"No sleep," she groaned, grinding our coffee. "Two nights in a row, no sleep."
I asked what she’d had for dinner, and she said donut holes. For dessert: Ativan.
"You don’t need no Ativan," I said. "Sweetie, you need tryptophan." I went to work. I went shopping, and I came back and I cooked. I stocked her refrigerator with a week’s worth of turkey soup and ground turkey stuffed peppers.
It didn’t work. I found out later: it’s a myth, the turkey thing! The tryptophan. To work, as a soporific, you have to take it on an empty stomach. And still you believe in God?