Smoke signals

Pub date October 1, 2008
WriterL.E. Leone
SectionCheap EatsSectionFood & Drink


CHEAP EATS For those of you who are getting a vicarious thrill out of my nightmares d’amour … don’t! Nothing ever happens! It’s like if James Thurber wrote Harlequins, or Jim Jarmusch made porn. Either one might be entertaining, sure, but comic relief is neither to the players themselves.

Short story long: dude contacts me, likes my looks, my writing, and barbecue in general. (This is my online dating profile he’s responding to, not Cheap Eats.) Anyway, his wife and him are poly, she’s bi, and, well …

One thing leads to another, including her writing me too, calling me "doll," and being generally sweet. He sends me the requisite pictures of his penis. Only in this case, maybe because of all the talk of barbecue, it works! It looks absolutely, spectacularly delicious. I want it.

So, OK, so we make our date. It’s a barbecue date, but the implication is hot three-way sex. I take a long bath, do my nails and makeup, spend way too much time picking out my sexiest skirt and the shirt least likely to be ruined by barbecue sauce.

And I’m off. They live just up the road in a shack in the woods, on the river, which is redneck country. I’m thinking: Yay! My people! What I’m not thinking is that their seven-year-old daughter will be home. Or that while dad is busy with the grill and mom with her bong, it will be the daughter who shows me around the place, engages me in conversation, takes me through the trees to the playhouse she’s building, and asks me interesting questions.

I like the parents too, only I love this kid. While she flits about, chasing cats and climbing walls, me and mom and dad sit under the redwoods around an unlit fire pit, enjoying four kinds of potato chips and three kinds of dip, sipping our drinks, and waiting for the ribs.

I ask questions and they answer them, the wife leafing through a magazine. He’s not a huge practitioner of eye contact, either. Oddly, I’m enjoying myself. The woods, the smell of smoke … I feel right at home. And they’re attractive enough, I just kind of wish I could ditch them and run with their daughter. Who, during dinner, puts headphones on and plays violent computer games.

Instead of the deck or the dining room, we adults eat at the TV, plates on laps, and — get this — what’s showing is Sweeney Todd. Perfect! I’ve got the couch to myself, barbecue sauce all over my face and fingers, pork in my teeththere’s blood squirting all over Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter at the meat grinder, and I am, as you might imagine, in chicken farmer heaven — at each slit of each throat squirming all over the couch and feeling finally sexy.

There’s a mattress on the floor under our feet. After the movie, when I come out of the bathroom, both parents are gone and the kid is jumping on the mattress, telling me about the next movie, how I’m going to love it and have to watch the whole thing with her. It’s a kids’ movie.

"Where are your mom and dad?" I ask, thinking maybe they’ve gone into their bedroom. I hope.

"Outside smoking," she says.

I find them at the potato chip buffet and they’re, like, "Hey."

It’s the woods, it’s dusk, sweet. I linger, trying to read the situation, but nobody asks me to sit or offers a drink, or gives me a sign, so I thank them for the meat and movie and get my purse. Wife gives me a hug. Husband walks me to my car and kisses me on the lips. And he’s tall, so I have to stand on my tiptoes, which I love. The next day I thank them again, in writing.

He writes back, says they had a nice time too, only he would’ve liked it better if I’d spent the night because, and I quote, he "really wanted to shove [his] cock down my throat, lol."

So. Tell me. How am I supposed to take this?


My new favorite restaurant is Little Joe’s Pizza. They serve Italian and Mexican food. Which is especially poignant because it’s at the corner of Mission and Italy, in the Excelsior. We had a pizza party there for Deevee’s birthday. She’s 41. Salads, garlic bread, pizzas, and pitchers and pitchers of beer. We stayed for hours. Total damage: $20 per person, tip included! Great atmosphere. Black vinyl booths, red walls, very friendly.


Sun.–Thu., 11:30 a.m.–midnight; Fri.–Sat., 11:30–1 a.m.

5006 Mission, SF

(415) 333-3684/5/6

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