Monday, February 13, 2006

Evil Woman

One score and a million beers ago, I embarked on the first of what would be many sabbaticals from my journey through higher education. This break was ostensibly to gain Texas citizenship, thereby dramatically decreasing the amount of money the old man was shelling out for tuition. However, the real reason was because I was certain that I was in a band that was going to vault me to that elusive status of Rock Star, and I needed to devote all my time and energy to the requisite rehearsals and bong hits needed to achieve such status. Hey, "L. A. Woman" doesn't just learn itself, you know. Only by the wisdom gained through years of experience in the music business do I now realize that record labels don't look to bad cover bands in Dallas to compete with Men at Work and Flock of Seagulls.

In order to finance this educational break, I secured employment at an authentic little Italian restaurant in town called Pane e Vino, which translates to Bread and Wine. Time for a parenthetical aside: (I later went to work at another Dallas Italian restaurant called Birraporreti's, which translates to Poor Man's Beer. That place wasn't nearly as authentic -- the cooks were all Vietnamese and the busboys and dishwashers were all Mexican, and they constantly screamed at each other in the only language they shared, broken profanity-laced English. But that is a story for another day.) While dutifully waiting tables at Pane e Vino on a Tuesday lunch shift, dropping authentic Italian phrases upon my unsuspecting customers like, "y'all want some coffee or dessert or sump'in?" and "y'all ready for your check?" I was distracted by a commotion near the entrance. As I went to investigate, I heard our lovely middle-aged hostess let out a blood-curdling scream, and saw a man bolt out the front door. Without thinking, I ran out the door after him. He had about a 50-yard head start, but I was young and in good shape, aside from the black tar coating the lining of my lungs from the aforementioned daily dozens of bong hits. I ran with all my young strength, the leather check presentation folder in my black, three-pocket waiter apron slapping against my thigh with each stride. The perpetrator was no match for my speed and guile, and within a couple of blocks I had caught up with the him, although I was completely in the dark about what it was that he had actually perpetrated. He was wearing a huge filthy green military style coat and loose-fitting, gray double-knit homeless guy slacks. Haggar, I think. His Don King-style hair flowed in the wind as he began to slow, his breathing labored. As I reached out to grab his jacket, it occurred to me that I was possibly about to take the most stupid action I had ever taken in my life. For all I knew, he had pulled a gun or a knife on someone in the restaurant, and was about to use that weapon on me. But my hand went forward, I grabbed his shoulder and spun him around to face me.

Our eyes met. Deep in his gaze, I saw something I had never seen before, but I recognized it immediately. Lunacy. Nutiness. Batshit Bonkers.

His eyes grew as large as authentic Italian meatballs, and at the top of his lungs, he pleaded his case to me, "Womens is evil! Womens is EVIL!! She spooked me! Womens is EVIL! SHE SPOOKED ME!"

I chuckled and put my arm around his shoulder. "I hear you, buddy. I couldn't agree more." We walked back to the restaurant where the cops were already there, waiting. They took him away, and probably gave him three hots and a cot for a couple of days.

His wise words have come in handy on many occasions throughout my life. Although, I admit, not nearly often enough.

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