It’s Me, Fate, I Hear You Want To Cook Again


From The Potsink Diaries
It‘s been three months since the restaurant closed and fate had interrupted my path to culinary enlightenment by replacing my knives with rakes and shovels. But fate wasn’t done tossing curve balls at me so on one Monday I was taught just what a practical joker fate can be. It appears destiny has a bag full of tricks with a mystical abyss and a knack for emotional table tennis. Like a ping pong ball I got paddled hard forcing me out of the restaurant across the net to a field of hard labor, then smashed back into another kitchen. Fred had driven me to Mimi Dee’s early in the morning to manicure the lawn while he ran about town “performing” some chores. Popular belief on the rumor vine claimed those chores he performed were for one of the nurses at the Huntersville location. Whatev, not my business which was fine by me as it left me alone to work the property at my own pace.
Left to my resources, my new tools of the trade, and a cheap lawnmower I set out to give the yard a neat trimming and edging. A mani-pedi for the acreage of land. After about an hour and a half into my solo performance a very sneaky dark cumulo nimbus cloud slithered across the horizon setting cloud camp above my head. One loud crack of sneering thunder and seconds later I was the focus of a drenching downpour. Not a dipping of the toe in the pool, but one soaked to the bone bucket full of rainwater followed by another. The skies blushed dark crimson as if foretelling the twisted new path fate would have me following. Having become somewhat intimate with fates and destinies I assumed that my new path would be lined with irony. “Jesus Christ this shit’s really coming down. Can’t get anything more done here so I guess I should go inside.” I mumbled it to myself to validate it was proper for me to stop work an seek shelter. As soon as I entered the back door a very familiar sense filled the room. The clanging of pots and pans as they jockeyed for position on the stove, plates chattering while being pulled and stacked from the dishwasher, and a general sense of culinary atmosphere called me by name. The air was full with the smells of a variety of meats and vegetables with wafts of consommé memories from a large pot of chicken infused liquid hoping to one day soon become a soup. The smells and sounds were the familiar frantic state of culinary urgency shortly before service. The aura of intense pressure was reminiscent of Cumberland restaurant, my one time Mecca. It was crunch time even in this institutional kitchen and I was so taken aback by my memories I shook off the rain and blurted out to the Nurse in charge of the kitchen, “Can I help? I know a bit about food.” Without a smile a very attractive Jamaican woman in a not very sexy nurses uniform yelled “I need zeese onions peeled and cut, tink you could a’handle dat?” Nary a word more need be spoken as I rushed over to the table with the onions, grabbed a familiar feeling knife and pulled out a cutting board. In a matter of minutes I had peeled, cored, and diced the onions. “What else do you need?” The Nurse stopped in mid stride and asked “You gotta all dem onions done?” I could tell she was doubting me so I held them up and said “Yup, where do you want them?” She smiled at me with a huge open mouth and I noticed a small gap in her front teeth. Suddenly something seemed sexy about her despite the uniform. As I looked closer I realized the uniform fit pretty tight allowing a perfect view of her shape. She was in her late twenties or early thirties, slender and very pretty with firm looking curves in all the right places. Her skin was smooth and silky with an exotic ebony glow. She looked at me approvingly with dark brown eyes that twinkled sweetly in contrast to the sharp authority she normally displayed on the staff. “Put day inna pot dare witt dee carrots.” When I asked her if she wanted a mirepoix I thought she was gonna run over and kiss me full on the lips. Maybe I hoped she would but either way she flashed me that huge tiny tooth gapped smile. “You do know your way round de Kitchen. My name is Margie and yes, I needa celery in dare too. Tink you canna hanel dat?” Time to respond with my innuendo laced charm, “I can handle whatever you got Margie. My name is JT.” She teased back, “Zhay Tee huh? What kina name is dot, can‘t afford whole name? ” It was feeling good, cooking and flirting again, “My real name is Justin, but my friends call me JT because I am Just Thrilling to be with. It seems we are friends now so I guess you should call me JT.” “Yes indeed it do Mr. Trilling. I tink maybe we work well togetter.” She punctuated her statement with a suggestively tender wink. I can’t tell you my thoughts at that moment but they were accompanied with a tingling typical of a growing boy. It felt great as I assisted Margie in the kitchen getting lunch together quickly and efficiently while the rain continued to pound on the back door just begging to come in for a visit. It felt good to be back in a kitchen flirting again.
After lunch I helped clean up then went outside to put away the tools I had abandoned in the storm since the rain ended as abruptly as it had begun. As I was surveying the yard deciding what else I could do before Fred got back when I heard someone yelling my name. Margie was calling me from the front door of the mansion. When I got there she smiled a huge smile saying to me “I got some good news for you Zhay. I jus talk ‘a Misser Viero an him say you canna work here wit us inna de kitchen and aroun’ de home full time. We canna use the help and you no have to work inna da rain no more. What jew tink jusa trilling?” There it was. Right there fate dangled its fickle tickle of decision in front of me with ominous repercussions. If I say I would love to Fred will be mad but if I say no I will be saying no to old man Viero. Yes also means no more shit spreading, being back in a kitchen, and the chance to do some serious flirting. It really had felt awesome working in a kitchen with Margie. I could definitely see myself working with her and a crew of nurses. Not to mention all the young chicks who help her which I would be working with. Okay, go ahead and mention it I know I will. True I have a steady girlfriend and all, but like my Mom says, “You can look at the menu as long as you remember what your entrée is.” Not sure exactly what she meant but give her credit for trying to speak restaurantese to me. Decision’s made, fate be fucked! “I think I would really like that Margie, when can I start?” She looked as excited as I was and told me I should finish out the week with Fred and start next Monday. Once school starts we will work out a weekend and afternoon schedule. My new job would be to maintain the inside of the home, help in the kitchen and whatever assistance the nurses may need. All in all it seemed like it was nothing but gold, at least until I learned what new adventures were in store for me. I neglected to remind myself that things were not always what they seemed but that’s okay, I would find out in good time what new tricks fate had in store for me to tickle its devious funny bone. As intimate as I thought I was with fate I never realized it was planning to teach me about urine stains and enema’s. I had a lot to learn.

Campbell’s Chunky Style Soup Bowl LXVIII


Sources tell me that the big game is coming and it may be cold. In fact its just around the corner now, the biggest game of the year, the one who’s name you cannot mention. It’s The Voldemort Bowl, the most spectacular corporate event and its sponsored by the NFL. Them and all the official companies that have paid them enough money for a title. There’s official pizza, soft drink, beer, bank, tire, soup, snack, battery, wireless communicator, tractor, razor, and who knows what else. All this corporate bullshit makes the actual game seem secondary.
But they will be engaging in a war on the football field here in New Jersey and since I couldn’t come up with enough cash to buy the title official blogger of the NFL I can’t use the term super if it’s followed by bowl. The NFL will aggressively attack anyone misusing their name, and if the NFL is known for anything, it’s aggression. They will allow me to call it “The Big Game” or“The Big Bowl Game” or “Super Sunday”,or “Super Football” but if I call it by it’s actual title I could be up for a lawsuit. I don’t wear suits unless it’s a wedding or funeral and I certainly don’t want a law one no matter how good I look in it. So Voldemort bowl it is, which when I say it out loud sounds better anyway. The Seattle Slytherins vrs. The Denver Gryffendoors plating The Vodemort Bowl at Hogwarts. Better believe I would pay to see a championship quidditch match at MetLife Center, cold weather and all.
Sitting in the freezing cold windy stadium to watch a bunch of guys pound the shit out of each other however is far less appealing to me. That’s a sacrifice I am not willing to make. I’ll stay home and not watch it on TV instead of not watching it live. I will tune in on occasion in order to catch a few commercials though, which for me is normally what the fast forward button is for. I know, its like saying I only by Playboy not for the disrobing of article of clothing but for the actual articles, but honest, I do tune in just for the ads. On Super Dish Sunday the marketeers put out their cleverest and funniest shit. So no football but I will attempt to time the commercials just right. Maybe I’ll tape them so I can do instant replay or further reviews. Anyway the game of football has been coming under fire lately for its excessive violence and concussion causing plays. Parents are concerned their children will become jaded, the way they di from thoe violent vieo games. I still blame Tom and Jerry for that time I beat up Johhny Jones in seventh grade. Just ssay no to football.
I don’t wanna preach here but seriously, Mama don’t let your babies grow up to root for Cowboys. They’ll eventually end up getting drunk in their mancave with their Buds watching violence on a giant screen yelling things like “Kill that mother fucker” or “somebody should shoot that sonova bitch”. During the sex drenched commercials they’ll have their eyeballs popping, tongues hanging out slobbering at the semi naked ladies, “Holy shit check out those melons” “Man I would do her all night” Right! Not without some Viagra for you and some chloroform for her you loser.
Right there is your son’s future if you don’t force them to play nerf flag football but frankly, who would pay for ads for that? Anyway I believe we are a few short years away from allowing the players to advertise the way NASCAR does. Peyton Manning trading in his Bronco uniform for a Papa Johns outfit, Derrick Colemen advertising with large Miracle Ear’s on his helmet and of course the mild mannered Richard Sherman dressed as a vial of Xanax, which by then will be the official chill pill of the NFL.
But back to reality, I’ve always been a fan of The Advertisement Bowl. I go all the way back to the “Thanks Mean Joe” days but more recent examples of ad bowl winners are The Zebra officiating the Clydesdales, The Darth Vader kid, Cute baby day trader, and of course the now infamous Apple Hammer Throw commercial. Now that I think about it, maybe the commercials should be out on the field instead of the players……..
Bud Light drops back to pass, Pepsi comes alive in the Pepsi generation charging up the middle with an all out Motorola no roaming charge blitz. Coke and a smile grabs the ball tossing into the food court. Dorito tips it to Cambells Chunky Style but it’s picked off by Papa Johns. And Papa John delivers, just not in thirty minute or less. Now for some analysis now from the official commentator of the NFL, the E-Trade baby. “ The Budweiser lizard coaching team should know you can’t put all your New Englands Best Eggs in one Peterboro Basket. When he saw the wrong call he should have gotten on his Samsung Galaxy IV and replaced the long lasting Duracell battery” Great commentary but back to our regular scheduled game. The Clydesdale horses have taken the field as a loud heart warming awww emanates from the crowd. “What do you think about that GoDaddy?” Stage left enters a very sexy group of ladies walking past looking like a Hooters ad. “Sorry bout that, I was distracted by all the sexual innuendo. That really gets my backfield in motion. With any luck one of them will have a wardrobe malfunction at halftime.”

Maybe not! Bottom line, do whatever makes you happy on Sunday, if it’s a Voldemort bowl party, an intimate couples night of football, a mancave of action, the local pub, sports bar, or whatever it is enjoy the night and be safe. Here’s what I’ll be doing when the name we can’t mention XLVIII kicks off this Sunday night. Twisting the corkscrew on bottle of Jacobs Creek Shiraz to let it breath, pouring an appetizer glass of Grey Goose vodka over ice, slicing up some Denmark’s Best Dilled Havarti cheese, and checking the On Demand menu to see if there’s a good movie to watch…Peace

Out Of The Frying Pan Into The Mire (From The Potsink Diaries)

joe K

It wasn’t that I wasn’t used to the fecal matter hitting the rotary oscillator it‘s just I wasn’t thinking the fecal matter would figure into my life. The closing of Cumberland restaurant was a lot to deal with and frankly the furthest thing from my mind was me needing a new job. No longer was I an apostle to a culinary madman, no more waitresses to flirt with, no more free beers or paychecks. I was now saturated with disappointment and disillusionment believing the universe had let me down. Maybe I needed to seek another avenue of employment, to shed the dry snakeskin of the restaurant industry and molt to another field. Actually field sounds right I should get as far away from any kitchen, knife wielding Chef or teasing waitress and do some fieldwork. I need a sacrificial rack of lamb. I should do what Ken suggested and go work landscaping for cash. As fate would have it and timing being everything my brother’s ex boss was in need a laborer. I can labor! So it came to pass that I had became the new landscaper laborer for Munsons Field and Dreams. More accurately put, I had become the new lawn mowing leaf raking topsoil carrying shit spreading go boy. I had chosen to become a hard working laborer having my skin scorched everyday by dermal burning threats the sun makes good on while also enjoying the hearty aroma of freshly decayed organic shit. Not just any old shit, but class A number one horseshit Munson got from the stables. Enough about the perks though, there’s also a downside.
Every day ended the same, my arm and back muscles pounding out a rebellious beat building to a painful crescendo.I try and cool the aches and pains with an ice cold beer but it seem as though all my muscles tightened up into ball of overworked subdermal tissues and tendons screaming at every movement. My skin radiates a pinkish aura from hours spent unprotected by those relentless threats of the harsh sun. It left my neck and shoulders feeling rug burnt adding to my misery. As if that weren’t enough there was an omnipresent stench of decaying crap implanting its neverending carousel of stink deep into my nasal cavity. Deep! One of my less enviable jobs was to take compost, decayed animal shit and who knows what and spread the malodorous mixture across a field. At first the smell of evaporating morning dew so earthy and rich comes up off the ground like a wisp of warm steam in a pleasant tease just waiting for its replacement. Breathe deep and enjoy that nature while you can because within seconds the dank aroma of compost rises triumphantly up the nasal passages. Its a blend of some of the most offensive smells I could ever imagine, if dogs smelled that stench when they sniffed another dogs ass the species would go extinct. The steaming stench of a mountain outhouse combined with a quarantined fraternity bathroom joining forces with week old spoiled milk creating a cacophony of disgust that slowly creeps up my nose making an all out aerial assault on my entire being. The assault continues for hours even after my work day was done. Like pigpen the stench takes on an identity of its own following me everywhere even stalking me all the way to the shower where it finally meets it’s match and scurries defeated into the drain. A small portion of it sets up camp in my clothing as a rank reminder of my newly acquired hopelessness that was eased but never eradicated by the cold beer.
I began doing diet pills every morning to keep me awake and give me the energy to bust my ass out in the shit fields. An expensive proposition because on days that it rained I would be sent home making no money for the day, needing beer and weed to calm me down from the pills. Between the pills, beer and weed I went through all my savings after just one week of solid rain. Penniless I was gloomily staring out Munson’s tool shed listening to the rain wondering how the fuck I got here. As if on cue fate suck its fat foot inside the door forcing its way in. Out of the blue my friend Patrick came by with an offer to become an assistant groundskeeper for a local dude who owns three nursing home properties. It’s a full time job despite weather and Patrick was quitting. The job was open and he promised to recommend me. Think how cool it would be to be able to use my newly acquired skills on three locations where you get paid even if it rains. That’s how it was that I became something different. Now I would be a shit spreader with a title. The assistant groundskeeper of the Vieros Health care facilities. I was still in charge of manure movement but now I can add garage cleaner to my resume. Whatever, I was working and making money on a regular basis again. Besides the work wasn’t nearly as exhausting so life was good again. Adios Munson, now I can concentrate on saving up money to get the Hell out of here.
I found myself spending most of my time at one specific locations, Mimi Dee’s. That was the nickname used by the staff at the Miriam Deegan Adult Home owned by the Vieros one of the richest families in town. They also owned two other homes but I only worked at each once a week. Vieros Ault Home was a full scale nursing home, and the Lighthouse was a health related facility, which is a fancy name for old folks home. The only difference in the two being that about eighty percent of the “patients” at The lighthouse and Mimi Dee’s could care for themselves. Those at Vieros couldn’t even wipe their asses but that was already too much information for me. My concern was making sure all the properties were well kept, trimmed and mowed so the families of the patients would believe that no expense was spared in the upkeep of their parents dwelling. Mimi Dee’s was sort of their flagship home so most of the attention was bestowed on that property. But I was happy mowing lawns and raking leaves, even trimming the shrubs which I knew by name. Not the Latin names, the names I made up for them to keep me sane while spending hours alone caring for properties. Big Zebra, Burning Bush, Sticks, just weird names to entertain me. One great benefit was not having the shit stink hanging around me all day and night.
So here I was in a quaint little Long Island community called Cool Springs working on a property of a former Pratt Mansion turned Rest Home. Tending to the chlorophyll producing zoo of colorful organic plants and flowers busy enjoying their days photosynthesizing away and looking pretty. My boss, Fred drove from property to property and left me alone most of the time. He drove me to Mimi Dee’s, gave me daily chore lists, and went about his business. A questionable bonus was being invited inside for lunch everyday. Not the taste bud tingling foods Jimmy made but it was decent and best of all free. Maybe that wasn’t the best part that would have to be the company at lunchtime. I sat around the table with two other guys, six cute young nurse’s aides, and two nurses. On most days I was the center of attention and I dug that. The free meal was back, the flirting was back, and the paycheck was back. What could possibly go wrong?

The Legend Of Streaking Beauty


From The Sick Bastards Fairly True Fairy Tale Series

Once or twice upon a time, in the Kingdom of Warner, King Stephan and Queen Leah (once a princess a long time ago, far far away in another galaxy) were unsuccessfully attempting to have a child. They wanted a daughter in the worst way so they could betroth her to soon to be born son of King Stephan of The Time Kingdom. They were hoping to merge the two Kingdoms into one huge kingdom, The Time/Warner Kingdom which would make it the biggest kingdom on Fairy Wall Street. After numerous unsuccessful attempts at making love on pink frilly sheets Stephan decided to try the Sting School of Tantric Sex. One lesson was performed in Finland during the Aurora borealis. They meditated out in the cold prior to having sex and despite the incredible phenomenon known as shrinkage Leah was impregnated that evening. Their child was named Aurora because she was conceived amid the Northern Lights.
Both kingdoms were excited by the news. The King and Queen proclaimed a holiday to christen their new Princess and announced the plans of the arranged marriage at a future date. They invited all the royalty from around the country, as well as hundreds of other guests. Everyone who was anyone was in there. Also in attendance for the christening were three members of the cast of “The Real Fairy-Wives of New Storyville” Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. They had a table in front and were having a wonderful time exchanging rumored gossip while drinking buckets of alcohol. Stephan and Leah brought the new Princess Aurora to the table to receive gifts from the fairies. Flora gave the child the gift of a beautiful face, long flowing hair, perfect features, and lips that would never be in need of botox. Fauna was next, offering the child a future of a killer body, large round voluptuous breasts, a figure to die for without having to be on a celery diet, and long legs that would one ay make Price Phillip ecstatic when they were wrapped around him. When Merryweathers turn to offer a gift came around the conviviality of the room was disturbed by a booming and very angry voice, “You had a goddamn party an didn’t invite me? You bitches.” the room grew awkwardly silent when Merryweather spoke out, “Oh eat shit Maleficent, nobody want s your fat ass here. You’re a just two faced slut looking to bang anyone’s husband but your own. You weren’t invited because no one likes you.” Maleficent was livid as she grabbed the lip of the table tossing everything up into the air. She literally turned the table on her so called friends laughing as all the glasses and plates crashed to the floor breaking up into hundreds of pieces. “Ha! Nobody wants me here huh you bitch? Well then I should give this little twat her present before I leave.” She looked at the helpless child, “You’ll be beautiful and have a sexy body allright, but how’s this fort a present! You will finger a prick while on a spinning wheel and die before sunset on your sixteenth birthday.” Maleficent cast the curse then stormed out amongst a roomful of gasps. Merryweather walked over to the princess, “My blessing is not strong enough to break her curse but I can lessen it a bit. I will have her sentence reduced from the death penalty to deep sleep with chance of parole by true loves kiss. You must then run naked through the kingdom.” Stephan and Leah just stared angrily at Merryweather who responded, “What? it’s the best I can do I’m no miracle worker. I’m not the one who neglected to invite her.” The die was cast.
In an attempt to disguise their daughter they entered her into the witless protection program under the name Briar Rose, and was relocated to a woodsmans cottage outside of town. The three cast members of fairy wives that where at the heart of all the trouble gave up their designer wardrobe and went disguised as Walmart shoppers to watch over her. They promised to return after her 16th birthday (once they burner their low class clothes and got decked out). If they kept it secret Aurora would be safe from the curse. Maleficent went nuts trying to figure out where the princess was being hidden but had no luck. She finally hired a private investigator from Nevermore associates. Nevermore use avian drones disguised as ravens which had been very effective for many others.
The raven drone had lots of aerial pictures but nothing that Google earth couldn’t have provided until the one day when Briar Rose decided to go into town. It was the day before her 16th birthday and she wanted to get herself a treat. The three masquerading diva’s accompanied her to watch over her, but Fauna went to Manolo Blaniks store, Flora was coerced by Merryweather to go to Sax Fifth Ave leaving Briar on her own. With the fairy wives occupied Briar Rose seized the opportunity and went down to the teen hangout, Pogo‘s Froyo. There at the counter with a red velvet frozen yogurt covered in butterfingers was Phillip. The sight got Briar Rose a bit flustered an when Phillip turned an saw her he dropped his pants. No no!! His yogurt, he dropped his yogurt, sorry. Anyway, when the silver spoon from Phillips yogurt hit the ground sparks flew an their eyes met. Love at first sight. (Hey, it’s a fairy tale!) They went for a walk singing love songs to each other. Even the bluebirds sang.
Phillip told his ole man who flipped out. “First of all Phil, she’s from a poor family, and anyway, you are marrying Aurora after the curse is over. You my son, will be the CEO of Time Warner Kingdom.” Briars story fared no better an the pair were told to forget about love. Briar cried but guessed they were right.
The raven drone recorded the entire incident, and flew it back immediately to Maleficent via the NSA. She recognized her former co stars all dressed in atrociously drab clothing and knew instantly that the little slut they were with must be the princess. She quickly created a devious and dastardly plot. As the trio attempted to sneak Briar into the palace to celebrate her sweet sixteen Mallie lured the girl through a magic fireplace into a room with a spinning wheel and a naked man, the man she ha fallen in love with. She noticed he was in a trance yet still getting hard and Mallie said, “Go ahead my dear, touch it, he’ll love you for it.” As she fingered the prick she fell into a coma. “She didn’t die? Damn that Merrybitch, she did this to my curse! No matter, you’ll never wake up my little bitchie boo.” She hid the sleeping beauty in a bed in the east tower.
When the ladies went through the fireplace looking for Briar they found a spinning wheel and Phillips cap. They realized Mallie had captured the future of the entertainment industry assuming Briar to be in a coma somewhere. The three stormed into Maleficents home and the fight would prove to be the best season ender ever for the Housewives show. They rescued Phillip and explained the situation prompting him into action. Phillip stormed the castle finally finding Briar/Aurora, stripped her naked and laid a big swap spitting frenchie on her. She immediately awoke from he coma, took one look at Phil an ran as fast as she could.
Aurora became addicted to streaking naked through the kingdom but she only appeared to do it after her and Philly boy made love. Eventually he joined in and after every lovemaking session, the two ran naked all over town to the delight of all the people. Their escapades were soon recorded an a new reality how was created owned by Time/Warner. The two kingdoms had merged, and everyone lived happily ever after. Except Maleficent who had an unsuccessful spin off after she was dropped from the Housewife series.

Another One Bites The Dust (The closing of Cumberland Restaurant)


From The Potsink Diaries

Cumberland Restaurant was more than just a job to me it was my Mecca, a culinary cathedral where I was transformed from just another punk kid to an integral cast member of a gastronomic theater. I was important there and having put in many hours of work in the kitchen from scrubbing floors to stuffing mushrooms to making and plating deserts I had become an equal. We were all the same in terms of importance, all pieces of a whole. I adore my time with the staff we even hung out sometimes after work. I had seniority over the weekend warriors, the kids from high school who were mere part timers. Hordes of classmates had come through those doors searching for restaurant enlightenment but few achieve it. To me Cumberland was the Taj Majal, my place of worship. I had earned my position of cooks assistant and head suds buster at Cumberland having dominion over all the kids that came to work were to be trained by the master, the holy soapsud king. It gave me a sense of purpose, the staff was my family without the blood relation drama. Alone we were circus sideshows, totally misunderstood, but when the Cumberland family was together we were a unit, a force to be reckoned with. I was looking forward to going to work on this warm spring evening if only to get away from the chaos that cluttered my daily life. Being a central figure in the restaurant absorbed my inner spirit projecting me to another world.
I had learned so much at Cumberland, not just about cooking but about life. Jimmy had taken me under his wing though he’d never admit it, and I alone was privy to his paternal side. He had become my sensei, my benefactor of chefdom. Even Andre had begun teaching me things although I suspected his motives were more about getting me to do his work for him. Either way I had become the kitchen protégé in line to one day have dominion of my very own kitchen. All the basics plus some tricks of the trade on soups and sauces. The more he taught the more I absorbed. I had became a gastronomic sponge soaking up everything they offered. Plus I was earning as I was learning.
The second I walked up to the back door of the kitchen finding it locked I sensed something amiss. I peered through the grease smeared window but it appeared all the lights were off. I double checked my watch then looked to the parking lot. Jimmy’s car was parked in front with a few other cars so I walked around. Fuck man I hope Jense isn’t gonna yell at me again for using the front door but what else could I do? I could just hear him in his condescending European accent, “Chay Dee! Vat do joo tink dis iss here? Zhew tink we air r-r-rrunning a pup-you larraty conest? Deese eess a r-r-r-r-r-eeeerrrrestarant!“ I opened the front door staring at the scene perplexed. Across the dining room at the bar sat Jimmy, Andre, Didier, and Rod the bus boy with John behind the bar. I walked up and noticed an almost deathly glumness on their collective faces. “Hey guys, what’s up? The back doors locked.”
Jimmy broke the ominous silence and said “Zeet down JD. We gots some bad news today. Johnny, give JD a beer.” My happiness was rapidly sneaking out the door allowing concern to take its place as John poured me a cold beer. It was Didier who spoke up next. “ Vucking Jense und Laura have run off with all zee restaurant money. Zey broke into zeee safe, took alla da cash.Tooka zee cash fromma registers und dezzappeared.” My face turned a whiter shade of pale. “WHAT?” If I told you I was stunned I would have been doing the emotion a terrible injustice. More accurately I was stunned, shocked, astounded, flabbergasted and blown away. My entire world and every world within a hundred light years had been rocked to Hell! I looked intensely from face to face hoping one of them would reveal the fact that they had played a fabulous joke on me but none offered a scintilla of a smile. “Jeeeeesus fucking shit! When did what, how did they, fuck man did anyone call the cops?” While Didier explained everything the news slowly seeped into my cerebellum aided by the cold beer. He came to work this morning and found the front door open and the alarm shut off. The cash register was open and empty, there was an empty bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne on the bar with two empty glasses. He ran to the office which was also wide open as was the safe door. He called the cops first, then Jense. Jenses wife said he left for work early and should be there by now. Didier started doing the arithmetic and called Laura whom he had expected of having an affair with Jense. The cops came and took away the champagne bottle and glasses but it was pretty obvious what has happened. “I put all zee numbers togezzer, und she come out four.”
Man this was a lot to digest. So many things raced through my mind. Classic restaurant scandal, Maitre d’ and head waitress give each other head then rip off the restaurant running off together. “Wait-What?! Laura and that fucking airhead asshole Jense did it? The bastards took all the money? They took ALL the money? Wait, what does that mean?” I turned to my mentor, “It means JD my boy that we ain’t got no more restaurant. No mas trabajo amigo.” I looked at Jimmy with an empty confused stare. So that was it man. No more job. No more Laura. No more money coming in. No more Cumberland. It was painful. Didier explained that the restaurant would have to withhold my paycheck until the investigation was over. The six of us sat at the bar and drank for hours until it was time for everyone to leave. We said good bye to each other, Jimmy and I talked at his car for another 30 minutes where he assured me when he found another job he would call me. A nice gesture but I knew this was the last time I would ever see of Jimmy again. Or any of the other people who had become such an integral part of my life. Now they would all just be in my rear view mirror, a speck of dust in my memory bank. Feeling sad and somewhat broken I walked home. Actually I sort of stumbled home having consumed more than my share of the free flowing beer. The summer was barely beginning and Cumberland days were over already! I stopped off on the way at Kens to score some ludes to ease the pain.
When I got to Kens room he was flying high and slurring even worse than me. “Hey bro, what’s the matter? You look like you been crying or something. Here man take these, they‘ll cure anything.” Ken had handed me two white tablets that looked like huge aspirins. “Jesus shit man, what the fuck are these monsters?” I trusted Ken to the end so I downed the tabs without waiting for a reply but still I was curious. “Morph tabs bro, gonna kick your ass six ways to Sunday. So what’s eating you bro?” I pulled a joint from my cigarette pack, “Oh man, fuckin’ Cumberland closed down man, like forever. That chick Laura ran away with the dickhead Maitre d’ and took all the fuckin’ money. They even downed a bottle of Dom Perignon before running off. Now I ain’t got no job. Sucks man!” Ken seemed shocked but was so stoned he had a hard time convincing his face to respond. Almost vacant. “Whoa! Holy Jesus fuck man! That does suck. Hey man, I hear Munson is hiring, you can mow lawns right?” Ken’s eyes were tiny slits and he was nodding. “Dude how many of them morphs did you take?” ken held up four fingers and accepted the joint from me which we puffed halfway down. In the middle of talking Ken fell out so I laid him comfortable in his bed. “Maybe you’re right Buddy, maybe I need a break from restaurants. Tomorrow I’ll go check out Munson’s Landscaping.”

Kaleidoscope Joe and His Amazing Psychedelic Jean Jacket (Act I)

joe K

(Dedicated to Deadheads and music lovers around the world)

In the attics of my life
Full of cloudy dreams; unreal
Full of tastes no tongue can know
And lights no eye can see
When there was no ear to hear
You sang to me

-Attics of my life- Robert Hunter/Grateful Dead

The storyteller never tells you what to think, merely observes and reports the facts as he or she observes the world around them. Every once in awhile if a storyteller is extremely lucky they are afforded insight into stories that predate paper and shed light on mystical ancient occurrences, like looking through a kaleidoscope into a scattered view of history. This storyteller had the great fortune, or misfortune as some may call it, to have worn the coat of past truths and peered into a life that has so long ago finished its tale, and attempt to formulate them into a narrative in such a way as to enlighten the listener. The day I put on the psychedelic Jean Jacket I viewed the tale of Kaleidoscope Joe, son of Jacob the Ganja man from Canaan. My duty is to shed a light on that which I saw and allow you make of this tale what you will. No need to pay me off in silver, I offer this up as a storyteller, a humble servant of the universe. Let me just say this though, if ever you find yourself in the position to don the jacket an open mind and little weed of wisdom will make the journey much more colorful and far easier to understand.
How I came across this magic jean jacket is not a special story, just a bit of luck while clearing out the attic of an old acquaintance that recently passed over to the next realm. In a small cabinet marked “Peyote Pinechest” was an assortment of smoking aids and implements designed for inhaling intoxicating fumes of various mind enrichment products. Folded neatly at the bottom was a jean jacket of rainbow dayglo pigments, a “coat of many colors.” A rather unexciting and mundane find although steeped in fond memories of the days Kevin and I ruled the world. But then I tried it on. From the moment it covered my shoulders I knew I had inadvertently stumbled on to something unique, not only in look, but in attribute. You see, anyone who wears this visionary jacket begins to see past truths, ancient occurrences that have long been forgotten and stored away in the attics of the mind. This is the storytellers account of just such a leap of faith.

Act I
The Music Never Stopped

All I know is something like a bird
within her sang
All I know she sang a little while
and then flew on
-Robert Hunter-

As I opened the peyote pinechest it made an unusual sound, a sound that seemed to have been waiting forever to escape its pinewood confines. The sound was followed by an aroma, one not altogether unfamiliar. It wasn’t a musty mothballesque aroma nor a musty mold laced scent one might expect, but rather a sweet woodsy smell, reminiscent of an excursion of mine back in ‘73 to Jamaica. I was in Ochos Rios when I met a Rastafarian, Herbie. Herbie had long ago thrown away his comb so he sported long matted locks of hair almost to his waist which he called dreadlocks. He looked to be all of 25 years of age though his eyes betrayed a life long and hard, an old man with the eyes of the world. He sized me up, a white American youth with very long hair and a semi full beard. “Welcome my friend, I am a Rasta, cool like you Mon. My name is Herbie, man of the Herb, please come into my hut.” I would later learn that the early Rastafarians fancied themselves the equivalent of American Hippies, a generation of rebels who took a stand against government and borrowed the term “cool“ as a bonding statement. The hotel I was staying at had warned me about dangerous Rasta’s and scams in town designed to have Americans incarcerated. Bunny, the banjo player at the hotel explained to me that in Jamaica they believe all Americans are rich, and some corrupt cops set up buy and busts with phony Rasta’s expecting the young Americans to call home and send money to avoid jail from illegal possession of Ganja. I ignored the warnings because Herbie was cool. Like me. Once inside the hut my ignored fears disappeared completely because my instincts were correct. For a change. Inside Herbie’s hut a small boom box rumbled out some obscure reggae tunes. An Ethiopian flag was hanging on one canvas wall and posters of Bob Marley and Haile Selassie scattered on the others. An assortment of pipes and rolling machines in a makeshift bookcase was propped up on the back wall. Sitting on top of the bookshelf under a knitted cloth of red green and yellow stood a small Buddha statue with a trail of smoke emanating form its head. Inside the statue was not incense, but fresh Jamaican ganja that actually smelled of sweetness. It was that aroma this chest invoked and that’s where my vision begins.
I breathed in as if I could get a hit of that sweet smelling ganja as I examined the contents of Kevin’s peyote Pinechest. A spectacular looking jacket reached up and grabbed me by the eye. I vaguely remembered my best friend Kevin wearing it back in our youth. It was a Lee Rider jean jacket his girlfriend Bonnie had customized for him. Bonnie was a Native American young woman with an exotic air about her. Her long straight hair was so dark black it earned her the nickname Onyx. Onyx came from somewhere in Arizona part of a Yaqui Indian tribe who were known for their spiritual pipe smoking out of body practices. It was rumored they often used hallucinogenic herbs and roots of cacti in their rituals which explained the peyote pinechest. Onyx was skilled in various art forms having air brushed a number of vans in town but her local claim to fame was art of silk-screening. She had a fine business making extraordinary psychedelic looking tee shirts of rock bands but she silk-screened Kevin’s jacket for him special as a birthday present. It was magnificent, bright color in an intricate design that that would make peter Max jealous. I tried it on which put me in a trance.
There I was back in Herbies hut, Herbie rolling a stick of ganja in paper coated with oil essence of hashish. We shared the joint which was even tastier than the smell from Buddha’s head when a very old man entered the scene . The old man looked as though he walked out from the Old Testament, dressed in tattered rags and sandals and sporting a long scraggly grey beard and long thin white hair to his waist. He motioned to me come over which I did. In his hand he held a three foot long pipe made of human bone he was filling with something. He lit it, took a long inhale and passed it to me. “I am Joseph, from Carlisle in the land of The Canaanites, perhaps you know me better as Kaleidoscope Joe.” I took a long hit from the pipe, it seemed like it took all my breath to get the tiniest hit of smoke all the way from the bowl to my lungs. I shook my head to let him know I had no clue who he was. He handed me an old photo of a very sad looking man perhaps from the Middle East staring at a strikingly beautiful woman. “Well then, finish this bowl of ganja, I’ll tell you a story.”

Lady With A Fan
His name is August West, and he was in love with that lady there, Pearly Baker, the lady with the fan. Unfortunately Old August had a pension for wine, but not just any wine, his homemade power burgundy. Pearly was beautiful, a wonderful woman an August loved her true, in fact I was in love with her too. You see, August there is my brother, and Pearly Baker came between us forcing us to choose. August, drunk though he was, had a fierce determination and wasn’t afraid of anything. Pearly pitted us against each other with a challenge. “Which of you to gain me tell will risk uncertain pains of hell?” She tossed the fan into a pit of vipers, “The first to retrieve my fan from these snakes shall have me in every way you wish.” I sensed Pearly enjoyed the power of having us fight to be the one to bed her. I weighed my options, will having my way with Pearly justify what I would need to o to my brother? Even if I could beat August what kind of a wife would Pearly be? I doubted that challenges would ever stop, her desire to challenge too great but August wasted no time at all. He pushed me aside, reached into the pit of vipers risking venomous snake bites grabbing and offering up her fan as proof of his devotion. The old man paused looking at me. “You saw it didn’t you? You didn’t hear my tale you experienced it right? It’s okay, I know, this pipe is filled with wisdom which has entered your soul. You will see things you probably should not see many years from now. We will meet again my friend, when you are ready.” The man left so I turned to Herbie, “So Mon, you lika my ganga? Twenty bucks for you because your cool like me Mon.” I handed Herbie the twenty dollar bill and he gave me an ounce of preamo weed. He had been doing something with a razor on the table, I asked, “Did you know that old dude Herbie?” He smiled, “No Mon, no old man was here. But many strange ting happen in my hut, have a taste of dis before you leave Mom, make sure you come back.” Hernbie handed me a mirror with two long line of a whitish yellow powder and a short straw. I sniffed the coke an walke3d back out to the street. What Herbie had for sale was so good I knew I would be back tomorrow for more. As I walked down the street I heard someone say, “Strategy was his strength and not disaster.” Kevin would never believe me if I didn’t bring some back.

With that I found myself back up in the attic all by myself remembering how I smuggled ganga and cocaine back for Kevin in a container of baby powder . Apparently I was sweating and had removed the psychedelic jean jacket snapping me from the trance. I folded the jacket and put it aside trying to remember if that ol man was a real memory or a hallucination from the peyote pinechest as I explored the other treasures inside its confines . Kevin had stored quite an assortment of smoking utensils, a few chamber pipes, a meerschaum pipe, a cob pipe, a half dozen bongs, two hookahs, and at the very bottom of the chest was his prized chillum. The chillum was a ceramic straight conical pipe which you hold between your fingers in a fisted hand and smoke through the thumb an index finger essentially making your fist a bowl of smoke. We both loved that pipe, it was so unusual. Reminiscing I lit up the chillum to smoke any remnants from resonated bowl. I thought back to when he first bought the chillum, as usual in those days Kev and I were together. We had set out on a mission to Woodstock NY to get a tattoo at the Shooting Star Tattoo Parlor. The owner/artist, Country Paul, had gone to the original concert and never left town. Along with his artwork of potential tattoo’s he had a showcase in his shop filled with various pieces of crystal and a few small pipes. Kevin spotted the chillum right away and had to have it. It had an Indian Hindu inspired design, a very cool looking concentric design of geometric shapes Country called it a Chakra, or wheel. Of course Kevin had that design tattooed on his bicep while I viewed some of Country‘s other works he had on the “wall of choice.” Being in a dark period of my life I was drawn to a picture Country Paul called The Redeemer and the clay. It wasn’t like Christ the redeemer it was an old man with long hair and a long beard in a long red robe walking with a cane with a human skull on top. He was pulling an old wooden wagon filled with clumps of clay. It looked so cool I had it tattooed on the inside of my forearm. Those were the days, when we believed ourselves indestructible. As I smoked whatever remnants I could scrape from the chillum I stared at my tattoo. As I exhaled the old smoke I realized the redeemer pulling the wagon was the same man I had seen, or maybe not seen in Herbies hut so long ago.

What shall we say, shall we call it by a name
As well to count the angels dancing on a pin
Water bright as the sky from which it came
And the name is on the earth that takes it in
We will not speak but stand inside the rain
And listen to the thunder shout
I am, I am, I am, I am
-John Perry Barlow/Grateful Dead-
The Wind And Rain
Jacob was a good man, a successful man living in a place called Canaan. A farmer who plowed the fields in which he grew the sweet mind bending tobaccos which afforded him a fine home for his wife and family. Jacob was happily married to his second wife Rachael and an outstanding role model to his twelve boys. His first wife Leah was Rachael’s older sister and the mother of eleven of the boys. Jacob and Rachael had only one son together, Joseph, who was shown special favor by his father. While the other boys worked the fields that supplied Sativa and opium for the royals of the Orient with their father, Joseph stayed behind to help his Mom. Joseph was an amazing cook who had a natural talent for making hashish cupcakes. “You must knead the hash in softened butter first before adding it to the batter. That’s what makes them so special” He often entertained himself by spending hours looking through a cylinder of changing colors and shapes. This earned him the nickname Kaleidoscope Joe, and the jealous wrath of his siblings who simply called him Clyde.
“Why are we out here busting our asses while that little priss Clyde lounges in the kitchen staring through that stupid cylinder of his?” “That wimpy Clyde never worked a day in his life.” The grumbling never ceased. As always Jacob stood up for his favorite son, “Come on guys quit complaining, we have fields to tend to afore all that’s left is the wind and rain. Joseph is the best cook ever and his cupcakes are to die for. You guys all enjoy the food so he works the kitchen while you work the fields. Now lets finish up here, there’s a barn dance Friday and I understand the woodcutters daughter will be there. They all turned to look across the field to the riverbank where the woodcutters daughter often knelt down at to gather water. A beautiful woman with dark skin, as brown as the bank. It’s said she knows secrets the water has told her. She wasn’t there today, only the sun sparkling off the reeds into the sea. Jacobs son August was especially smitten with her. “Oh man, she has the sweetest voice, her song is the latch on the door to my heart. I live to follow her as she walks the path to the river shore come the morning sun.” The other boys began chuckling as Jacob shook his son from his daydream, “Okay poet, enough of that talk we have fields to plow. The work of day measures far more than the planting and growing alone. We must let it grow.” August was still dreamy, “For the time I shall break ground to reap bushels of cannabis and poppy meal, but Friday I shall dance with my lady in circular motion, just me and Pearly.” Jacob laughed, “Right now you can dance in the furrowed field my son, you only reap that which you sow. Tread lightly with your lady friend, if you plant ice your gonna harvest wind my son”

Did you ever waken to the sound
Of street cats makin’ love
And guess from their cries
You were listenin’ to a fight?
Well, you know…
Hate’s just the last thing they’re thinkin’ of.
They’re only trying to make it through the night.
-John Perry Barlow/Grateful Dead

Excitement had been building all week so when Friday finally arrived the air was ripe with anticipation. Jacobs twelve boys would be out on the prowl and the ladies in town stood no chance. As usual it would be refusal and then surrender, the boys eager to sow their wild oats. Jacob was concerned for his son Joseph because Joe didn’t posses the strength and experience of his older brothers so before they left Jacob presented him with a special coat, a coat of many colors. Now Joseph would no doubt be the sharpest dressed man at the dance and have a much needed edge. While Kaleidoscope Joe was overjoyed, his brothers were angry and grew ever more envious of how Joe was shown so much favor from their father. Joe was oblivious to his brothers envy and openly admired his good looks in the mirror. “I can’t believe how great this coat looks, I am gonna get me a fine woman tonight, a woman I can cook for.” August sneered, “You just hang around Loose Lucy little brother, save the real women for men who know what to do with them. And stay far away from Pearly, she’s mine tonight.” Joseph teased, “I don’t see no ring or no name on her brother, but I’m not interested in hr anyway.”
At the dance Joseph was strutting like egotistic peacock flashing his baby blue eyes and full on smile at all the ladies which only added fuel the burning flames of jealousy which crackled within the boys. Especially August. When Joseph began flirting with Pearly Baker the mule shit hit the fan. Livid and pumped with jealousy August rounded up all the brothers and formed a cabal outside the barn. “Guys we just can’t have this anymore. Something needs to be done about Clyde and it has to be tonight. Even after I stuck my hand in a pit of vipers he flirts with the girl of my dreams. I have a plan to get rid of Clyde forever” They were all in agreement, each hating their little brother for differing reasons. August continued, “There this guy Jack Straw who smuggles slaves over to Egypt and not only will he take Clyde away, he’ll give us s few bottles of whiskey on top of it. We can dip that hideous colored coat Dad gave him and coat it with goat blood. Then We’ll tell Pops he was killed at the point of a knife. We can rid ourselves of that nuisance and get on with our lives. We can share the women and we can share the wine.”
So it was, Kaleidoscope Joe was smuggled out as a slave, the boys telling Jacob his favorite son had been jumped for his ring, kaleidoscope, four bucks and change outside of Delilah Jones brothel. Jacob cried for nights wishing it weren’t true but he had the coat of many colors all covered in blood. The next thing this story teller saw was Joseph dragging a cart of clay. I realized I was no longer looking at my tattoo and the chillum was gone. I shook my head back an forth with great force in an attempt to regain some reality when I heard a voice from the past. “JT that coat looks beautiful on you, you should keep it. I have no doubt Kevin would want you to.” I knew that voice instantly. Smiling I turned, “Onyx, my god how are you? How long has it been? You look fantastic.” That’s when I realized I was once again wearing the jacket Onyx had fashioned special for Kevin. I removed it and found myself drenched in sweat. I folded it up, “No Onyx, you made it for him you should have it. I’m not even sure why I had it on.” To my dismay I was alone in the attic, no Onyx, no Jamaican Rastafarian, no Joseph from the old testament. I took the coat flung it over my shoulder. Time to get a drink.

Snow Zombies To Attack Northeast


Oh my God Northeast , have you seen all that white stuff? And my doppler radar forecasts much more of it lasting a whole bunch of hours. Since we aren’t sure of how many hours, all TV stations will cover the storm 24/7. We have experienced journalists who spent countless hours in school for just such an occasion, to go to neighborhoods performing dangerous stunts like sticking rulers in the snow banks or watching people spin their tires in the snow. Possible in the exact spot they all froze eggs in pans two weeks ago ….Don’t look now but it’s the snowpocolypse, the hailmaggedon, the end of the non snow world as we know it. The heavens have opened the freezer door and are defrosting it right on top of us. Its sure to thaw out the snow zombies. What are we gonna do?? I know, we need to flood the grocery stores and remove all of their milk, bread, water, and eggs. That’s the only thing that can stop this global warming disproving climate threat. Then we can run to Home Depot to make sure all of the salt bags, shovels, and snow blowers are all gone. That way, when the snow zombies come around they won’t have the staples of life. I suggest full body armor when you hit the supermarket because you will nee to fight off the geriatric special opps troops attempting to stockpile food for their underground shelters.
This storm is unprecedented, like nothing anyone in the Northeast has ever had to deal with before. Oh sure you may hear some of the elders chatting up about past blizzards before but that was before the snow zombies existed. And they are poised to attack!! Fortunately the government has intercepted their communications, (how do you like the NSA now, doubters?) and have a fantastic line of defense. They are soaking all the roads in brine so when the zombies attack, they will be tempted by sauerbraten turnpike. So buy as much milk, bread, eggs, and water and lock yourselves inside. No work, no school, no nothing. Do Not Attempt To Fight The Snow Zombies!! They are waiting outside making snow angels as you read this. Stay ssafe, I hope to see you all back here in the thaw…..

The Tears Of An Onion

bd onion

No matter how you slice it the onion will never escape its association with crying. They are the butt of many a culinary joke being the runt of the produce litter bringing even the most well seasoned chef to tears. It’s simply a misunderstood edible member of the gastronomic universe with a bi-polar multiple personality disorder. It suffers from identity crisis whether yellow, red, or white, Spanish, jumbo, pearl, or cocktail, shallot, leek, or scallion. One minute its an essential flavor enhancer and the next a breath altering kiss killer. Is the onion is a taste bud joy bringer or is it a tear jerker? Both. This mood changing bulbous veggie staple is a well known in kitchens throughout the world being embraced by virtually every culture. People are often compared to these versatile ever popular alliums. “He is a complicated Person, with as many layers as an onion.” Indeed concentric in nature the royal onion is as complicated as a vegetable can be. “An onion a day keeps everyone away” That man was so ugly he could make an onion cry.” “ A cat has nine lives but an onion has seven skins.“ “An onion by any other name will never be a rose.” Okay, I made that last one up but you dig what I‘m saying.
Ranging in size from tiny pearls to giant softballs the onion can in fact be peeled one layer after another. A staple in nearly every culture despite having an essence so peculiarly strong and venomous it rivals the skunks ability to cause others to pinch their noses shut tight in an effort to avoid its foul odor. It can turn ones breath into a date breaking whiff “It’s not you baby, its your breath.” Point in fact in many an episode of The Little Rascals Alfalfa was turned away by Darla because he had recently indulged in extra curricular scallion chewing. But to infer that it is somehow evil is a disservice. The onion has a unique ability to coax salty droplets of liquid from our tear ducts which are normally saved for emotional outbursts. Only the slightest provocation of cutlery piercing its flesh brings teardrops scampering down our cheeks in a sometimes uncontrollable frenzy. This audacious vegetable permeates our olfactory senses across the entire kitchen in an all out assault that challenges the garlic’s long standing reign as king of tasty but offensive vegetables.
What’s the reason these bulbous alliums make tears come to our eyes? The official culprit is the result of a chemical reaction that is much too scientific to cover in brief format but suffice to say the onion contains amino acids in the sulfur family that get released into the air. These guilty gasses travel up into the air and rub their irritants into our eyeballs prompting the tear ducts to come to our aid and flush out the acrid acid with a tear or two. I have heard of many sure fire methods to work on these all important taste supplements without caving to the olfactory shock and awe campaign the acids wage. A gas mask will work but its rather uncomfortable and hard to find since the decline of the home bomb shelter. Besides it may frighten the children believing an alien to be cooking dinner. There are more prudent methods which involve keeping your mouth open while cutting into the alliums. In fact that will work for a while because you will inhale the noxious fumes into your lungs via your oral cavity increasing that kiss kill impulse much earlier, but eventually so much gas will enter the atmosphere you will still tear up regardless and have onion breath on top of it. Other methods such as running water, cutting near a flame or on the back burner of a stove produce even less successful results. Keeping something in your mouth is the same principle of an open mouth but for the less disciplined of us. The only real advice I have on this is to keep the onion as cold as possible or keep a small fan blowing away the fumes as you slice, dice, mince, or chop.
Once past the tear inducing cut up stage the onion performs its intended task, the enhancement of flavor to almost any dish. In Cajun cuisine they call the onion and its often present partners peppers and celery the Holy Trinity of cooking. It is the basis of nearly every soup an stew in the world, it adds umpf to pilaf, zing to zucchini and pop to popcorn shrimp. Its in sauces, dressings, dinner entrees, salads, appetizers, starches, sides, veggies and all type of combos. Fried in rings or just bloomin it makes solo appearances and it even has a starring role in cocktails. Yes the onion has a many faceted personality and it brings tremendous flavor enhancement to just about any dish. With a presence so pronounced in the culinary world you would think it deserves a huge birthday celebration, happy onion day, a day all its own. Only problem is, we have no idea exactly when the multi-faceted vegetable icon was born.
Along with its bi-polar identity crisis its origins are nearly impossible to trace, even with vegetable/ confusion reigns. Some botanists say it was born in Iran and some say Pakistan. Still others argue it’s originally from Central America but the omnipotent onion seems to have been around forever. Many anthropologists believe it was used by our cave dwelling ancestors which could potentially have acted as a form birth control, or perhaps they used the huge onion as a weapon of ass destruction, but either way it makes determining the birthday impossible. There is evidence in ancient Egypt the onion with its potent aroma was use in an effort to revive the dead. At least until the first unfortunate soul tried shredding the much more aggressive horseradish which may very well have the ability to awaken the non living. The royal onion even found its way into Bible passages. The book of Numbers has the Israelite children lamenting of a diet filled with leeks and onions as they traveled the desert. The Romans, Greeks, and Indians all recognized the healing power of the vitamin rich veggie. The Olympians of ancient Greece fortified themselves with onions before their grueling events. Even the Middle Ages showered glory on these globes of culinary prominence. The three main foodstuffs of that era were cabbage, beans, and onions. The magnificent onion was believed to have incredible medicinal properties curing everything from mouth sores to insomnia. These ever popular kitchen necessities were even taken on board the Mayflower thereby sneaking into our history by adding their special flavor enhancement to the first Thanksgiving feast. It was one of the very first botanical treasures planted by the pilgrims on American soil. Yet still no birthday celebration even after all they’ve done for us. No wonder it seems sad.
Despite all its rich history and near mystical appearances still no mention of a birthday celebration for the used and abused reigning king of culinary staple foods. Perhaps that’s the reason noxious sulphuric vapors seep into our atmosphere. Maybe, just maybe the tears we shed are the tears of the onion itself, living in constant pain of the neglect it experiences because we never gave it a birthday to celebrate like we do. The least we can do for this loyal bulb is grant it one. No reason we can’t heap salutations on this fabulous culinary workhorse, this noxious yet tasty bulbous veggie, this fortune bringing, tear coaxing stench causing staple of the vegetable kingdom. So from this day forward, lets make today, April 4th the official birthday of Allium Cepa, the illustrious and attention deserving onion. Don’t cry for me Argentina, just slice me a few of those birthday onions to have with my champagne. Happy Birthday you many layered edible gem you……PEACE

Transcendental Medication (Exploring philosophy through drug enhanced acupuncture)


Previously on TM
A tear trickled down my cheek, a tear of pure joy. Ambrosina was here! I turned to absorb her soul swearing I would not let this be our last time. I don’t care what Kha, Shea, or anyone says, Ambrosina is not leaving me this time. There she stood, arms stretched out waiting for me.
Episode 8
The Garden Of Truth

We embraced so tight, neither of us wanting to let go, my body was shaking. “Ambrosina, tell me this is all real, it has to be.” I was burning with desire for her, but this time it was emotional desire. Don’t get me wrong, I also wanted to make love with her, like forever, but I wanted her to fill me, to fill my soul with her sweetness. “Lets not talk about that now JT, come take a walk with me.” I let her free from my bear hug and we held hands as we strolled along the garden path. “Where are we going?” Ambrosina seemed conflicted, both happy and sad. She lightly squeezed my hand, “This way baby, I have something to show you, just follow me along the stream.” We walked along a running stream filled with large rocks, I could hear the sound of water crashing down on the rocks up in the distance, “Are we going to a waterfall?” She looked at me smiling, the most beautiful smile ever, eyes sparkling and full of love, “Just come with me JT, don’t ask so many questions. I’ll take you where you need to go.” I silently obeyed walking along this utopian path upstream simply overjoyed to be with her, not caring anymore where we go as long a we’re together. A strange thought hit me. I almost asked her if she was God right then but thought better of it. We walked along the stream in silence, our souls intertwined.
The pounding of water got louder, Ambrosina let go of my hand. “We have to cross here baby, jump across on the driest rock you can find. When we get to the waterfall you will be almost where you need to be.” She pranced off jumping from rock to rock crossing the stream to the other side so I followed. I hadn’t noticed much because I had been looking at my feet trying to stay on dry rocks when she stopped, “What do you think?” I thought I had seen more beauty on this island than possible until I looked up at the falls. Sheets of crystal clear water rolling off the top of a forty foot mountain, reaching out in a glasslike cascade into the stream. Sunlight beamed down off the arc of clear water and shot out in shards of energy. The water bounced of the pool on the bottom of the stream and spread cool mists of fresh water vapor over us. I couldn’t speak. “There is a special place at the top of the falls I want to take you. From there we will be able to see everything. Everything the Garden has to offer, including truth.” I had no clue what she meant but I followed as she climbed up towards the top, using the greenery as a stepping ladder.
We climbed without words, our labored breathing getting shorter with each advance. Twenty minutes of hiking through natural splendor, being refreshed by mists of water, listening to its pure force crackling through the air. The natural wonder was putting on an audio and visual spectacular just for us. At the very top the view offered a completely different perspective. We were on top of the world, nothing but beauty below us. Ambrosina pointed to an alcove off to the right as she stepped in the water towards it. She waded waist deep in the water heading near the falls which worried me. Was she thinking I might like diving down the water? I hope not, I’m definitely not ready for that, but she stopped right at the edge. Carved into the rock was a perfect tub, the water rushing around it and the tub filled with warm still water. Ambrosina removed her clothing waiting for me to do the same. She held out her hand so I joined her, both of us naked in a natural hot tub looking over a waterfall into utopia. “Isn’t it beautiful JT? We can see the world from here.” And we could, the sky was vast and tangible, a deep cobalt sheet of pure air painted with clouds. The clouds were a vibrant white in perfect positioning, huge billows of cotton animal shapes with stretches of fibers stretching across the horizon. We sat together in the warm water up to our chests and attempted to take it all in. My island now seemed so much bigger, full of life. “Ambrosina, this I the most remarkable place in the world. Do I have to leave here? Can’t we stay like this forever, this moment frozen in time?” She placed her head on my chest circling her arms around my waist. I wrapped both arms around her willing to protect her from anything, not wanting to let go. “I’m sorry JT, but once we’re done here you must go back. But you will have this moment and all of our moments together in your heart forever, the memory is real. And you will find another one to share this feeling with.” I felt blood leaving my face, “I don’t want anyone else Ambrosina, I want you. I love you!” I held her tighter to my body, “What is love my sweet? Have you learned from me what true love is? We had lust filled sex pledging ourselves to each other. Is that what love is?”
I knew what she wanted to hear but I was afraid if I told her I knew now what true love is her time with me would be done. But I did love her, so I couldn’t lie to her, I have learned that that’s part of what love is, trust and honesty. “No, that’s not love completely but it is part of what love is. Love is total surrender and total commitment. When you dominated me I surrendered myself to you sexually, but also emotionally. It wasn’t an unpleasant surrender, I wanted to be consumed by you. Yet when I dominated you it was you who surrendered and I enjoyed that more than I thought I would. Not to rule you, but to have you care so deeply for me you were willing to be whatever I needed you to be, as I was for you. Love is a mutual surrender and a mutual acceptance. Not a surrender of defeat but a surrender that gave me strength I didn‘t realize I had. I know sex and love are related but of that I‘m not sure exactly how.”
Ambrosina glided across the a water embracing me warmly. “Sex is a physical feeling , a tangible expression but love is a concept my dear. We have sex in order to alter our biological evolution, to force mutations so we may move forward as a species. We fall in love to stabilize our emotions, which spin out of control with each evolutionary advance because of the mutations, the co-mingling of cultural emotions. Look down at those beautiful flowers, each one is programmed through evolution to have an inviting look and aroma to attract an insect, like a bee. The look and smell of that flower determine if an insect will come courting which is crucial to the existence of them both. Neither the insect nor the flower have a clue of how significant their intense love making dance has been, they only know its enjoyable so they do it. In that respect nature fools them using the enjoyment of sex to increase the number of sexual encounters upping the odds of their progression. Much like us. The more enjoyable sex is the more often we have it, resulting in more children to grow and repeat the process. Without passionate love making we would be emotionally weak and have less opportunities of offspring. It has come to represent an expression of how deeply we are committed to each other, that’s why you burn with desire, not sexual desire but the desire to express your love far beyond words to ensure it stays. Unfortunately love doesn‘t stay all the time, sometimes we progress differently in our emotions and that makes us unhappy.” I ready to ask her the one question I needed an answer to.
“Ambrosina? ….Are you God?” Her smile embraced me, “No JT, no I’m not God, you have yet to speak with her. Think of me as a substitute teacher, I’m here to shine a light so you can see the dark truths better. Maybe I shouldn’t tell you this but I’m a manifestation of someone in your time stream, someone in your future. You won’t recognize me at sight, but there will come a time when you will be aware of me but you mustn’t say anything, she won‘t be aware. The time is almost here baby, soon you need go down the mountain to Shea. You still have the four truths and the cosmic truths to learn. I’ve completed what you need to know, you have understood much. It’s not many who have the opportunity to understand love at the quantum level. Come let’s make love to me one last time.”
Without a word we stood up and Ambrosina lead me to a clearing at the top of the falls and we made passionate love, both of us giving and taking throughout. I had never before understood the true meaning of unity in love but Ambrosina and I had become one person, one concept. Love is bliss, a joy expressible in words. I have no idea how long we made love, or how many times, when I’m with her time doesn’t exist. But it does end, and like the previous times it ended with us collapsed tightly in each other arms until we closed our eyes, our bodies, our minds, and slept. The shouting of my name woke me up, the familiar voice of Shea, “JT! Comer on buddy, its time to go.” This time I wasn’t angry, I wasn’t panicked, I was okay with it, with everything. My huge smile and I walked down the mountain oblivious to our surroundings.
“Well someone is sure happy.” Shea was correct, I was happy, I was ready for the next step. “Yes Shea, I am. I understand it now, its not about possession, its about unity, full and true unity. I’m ready now, what’s next? God?” Shea’s eye’s revealed instantly what was next, “I’m afraid this is it for this visit JT. I have to bring you back to Kha. But remember this my boy, we all have the ability to alter our present. Our opening scene and final scene are set, but if you want it badly enough, you can alter the act. Change your plot JT.”
That was the last word spoken on the trip. I was physically and emotionally drained and followed Shea like a sheep as he led me back to my row boat. Once I got in the boat Shea began pushing it out into the river. I took one last look back at my paradise island smiling. I’m really going to miss this place! The boat moved with the current and was picking up speed. Before I knew it I was moving at a very fast rate caught in a rapid. The boat was taking on water and I lost my balance. From the bottom of the boat I could see the water rushing in over me covering me. I feared I was going to drown. Suddenly the boat was lifted up and the water cleared away. It took me a half a minute to realize I wasn’t in a boat at all, but I had been lifted from Kha’s deprivation tank. Oops there goes gravity, back to reality!

Born To Cook (Culinary Nirvana Begins At The Pot Sink)


“I got a job!” I was so excited, no more paper routes, no more Deli boy, now I have a real job, one that pays decent money. Mom was excited too, “A job where?” Beaming with a sense of pride I uttered, “At Cumberland’s Restaurant on 25A.” Mom looked a bit disappointed, “ A restaurant? So We’re going to have a chef in the family? I was really hoping you would be our doctor JT.” I wasn’t letting her deflate my enthusiasm, “Mom, I’ve told you, I’m not smart enough to be a doctor, and besides its just a job, not a life. I’m only sixteen I have no idea what I wanna to be yet.” That was true, all I wanted was to make some money so I could party and buy stuff for my girlfriend. I had no plans of staying in a kitchen for the rest of my life, its just a job. Fates plans however differed from mine which was clear on my first day.
“Hey chef! Da new boy is here, you want I should show him around?” The chef came walking over holding a huge knife in his hand an a scowl on his face, “So youda new kid eh?” He lifted the knife up so I could see the shine of the blade, “Jus don pissa me off boy and you be okay. Grab a apron and shirt and get washing. Take himma downstair Ernie.” Ernie was an old dude, real skinny and wrinkly. He made me nervous at first, the stereotype image of a pedophile or serial killer with a slight emotional handicap. “Foller me son, whatsa you name?” He had a slight limp as he led me down the steps to the basement. I followed hoping this wasn’t where they stored the dead bodies or something, “I’m Justin, my friends call me JT.” We stopped at the bottom and Ernie pointed to the left, “That’s a walk in over there, dry food there, and this is the lockers. The shirts and aprons are over there JD, take any locker you want.” I walked in grabbed a shirt and apron and changed while Ernie stood and watched. A tad creepy. “It’s JT, not JD.” Ernie looked confused, “Wha? JC? Likea Jesus Christ?” He laughed, I wasn’t sure if he was kidding or not, “No, it’s JT, not JC or JD.” We went back an forth a few times before I just said, JD is fine.” I didn’t care man, I had a j-o-b, I was a pot washer.
Despite all the bad karma that seeped out of the sink drain I knew instantly that nothing would drag me away from this. Maybe one day I’ll be the Chef, I’ll be the raving lunatic who screams at anyone unfortunate enough to be within range of my booming voice. The insane culinary Guru who proudly sports a tall white hat like my chef Jimmy. Like him I’ll probably have a huge vein popping out from my forehead that can intimidate people all on its own. Mentally deranged king of the kitchen who is permitted by law to carve up carcasses with an array of razor sharp knives of all sizes. I can’t help thinking how proud that would make Mom and Dad. Oh the hell with being a surgeon Mom, I wanna slice up dead animal carcasses and cut the muscles into edible portions of food. I want to carry big ass knives around and scare the shit out of the dishwashers. My gastronomic voyage would be completed once I became the all powerful illustrious kitchen Buddha, The Chef.
I was born for this industry, lured by some mystical force. I wanted to be one of the “restaurant people!” A cosmic group of mix-matched misfits. I was spellbound by this diverse group of dedicated individuals, who work together in a form of impromptu performance art centering around biodegradable remnants of the tastiest and most orgasmic morsels of nutrition I had ever indulged in. Each one plays an integral role in this daily drama. Like an experienced stage hand I would set up the props over and over, so the chef could turn organic ingredients into edible works of art, perfectly arranged on the plates I keep clean. Our lead waitress, Laura would put these recently cleaned now presently food adorned plates on a large oval tray (also cleaned by yours truly) and with swanlike grace effortlessly carry it off to be placed in front of some alcohol saturated patrons. The patrons would then eat the wonderful dish of blissful organic delight, inadvertently leaving something on the plate that would eventually become my responsibility. The waitress would entertain them with a variety of skits, ranging from cute and flirtatious to downright suggestive. The performance continues. Meanwhile, backstage, the chef, Jimmy ( his given name was too hard to pronounce) is performing voice exercises and using my deer in headlight eyes as his focal point. Rapidly building to a spit filled ear shattering crescendo. I listen intently to the chefs advice, disregarding the part where he assures me I should leave this God forsaken establishment or die. He further suggested I engage in a sexual act with myself I felt to be physically impossible. (Not that I wouldn’t try) That too I chose to disregard. Once sufficiently emasculated, red-faced, and disenchanted, I returned to my post, my pot sink, in a highly evolved state. Taking a “the show must go on” attitude, I needed to ready myself for the onslaught of table remnants that our patrons found objectionable. In walked the lovely leading lady, flashing me that piercing knee buckling waitress smile. I began to daydream, or maybe fantasize until Laura began emulating the chefs thunderous performance. Thankfully, it was not directed at me, but rather on the only person here that was as lowly as me, Rod the busboy. Now I got an opportunity to view my peer’s reaction to a brutal lexiconic work over so I might gain some insight on how to deal with it or hone my anti-beration skills for the next portioning of verbal abuse. No doubt it wouldn’t take long before I resort to my improvisational skills of defense. The burning narrowed eyes of the seductive angry waitress met mine and for just two seconds held me in a frozen state. Her face made a remarkable quick change while flashing her signature come hither smile her eyes softened and in that songbird voice, asked, “JT, sweetie will you set up my next tray?” With a wink, she was gone, the busboy was fighting back tears, the chef was deciding my fate, and I of course, was setting up Laura’s tray, like it had never been set before all the time thinking, “she called me sweetie.” As the chef pondered the proper English translation of various swear words and insults to more effectively crush my spirit, I arranged Laura’s tray oblivious to my surroundings. The chef began to explain to me who I was working for, but fortunately for me his lung pounding performance was interrupted by the appearance of an enigmatic presence. The next character to enter, stage left, was a tall, tuxedoed, and very suave Frenchman, bearing the title restaurant manager, Didier. Didier’s job, as I understood it, was to make the entire cast miserable, so we would reach deep down to our inner selves to come up with the performance of a lifetime. I wanted to reach deep down and pull out a Smith and Wesson.
I did however find myself motivated by the threat of that French penguin. That, and a paycheck, and another opportunity to allow Laura to know what an awesome dude I really was. Didier began to roar at all of us, and yet then again, to no-one in particular. It was delivered in a language foreign to me that sounded oddly complementary. Rod the busboy assured me that those seemingly sweet words that came thundering out towards the entire cast were in fact foul French slang that could make the50 pound sack of onions break down and cry. Didier loudly explained to us how important it was that we comprehend the significance of his tirade as a team while we all just looked down at the floor. Even Jimmy looked worried when Didier was in the kitchen. Oddly, the only one that was not intimidated was Laura, the vivacious waitress, who seemed to render our fearful leader speechless using only her eyes. Like the Wicked Witch of the West, Didier disappeared in a puff of smoke. Or maybe Jimmy was burning something, I really don’t remember. But he was gone, Laura’s tray was set to absolute perfection, Rod the busboy had regained his composure, and Jimmy was ready with the next round of tantalizing treats arranged in artwork on my clean plates. All had performed admirably in Act 1.
Anyway, you get the picture; This performance goes on all night, every night over and over. Some of the actors change, but the results remain the same. I can’t explain why but the seething emotional combat combined with the intense pressure of service time was intoxicating. Curiously at dinner time Jimmy took on more an air of compassion that made me think of my own father on some of his better days. He would speak ever so softly and hold out a bowl of beef stew which because it had some wine in it, was referred to as Beef Bourgogne. But delicious it was. No Dinty Moore for this restaurant worker. As quickly as everything had gone to hell in a mixing bowl, the calm and serene peace of family meal changed the entire setting. I sat at a small table with Ernie, the old man who was in charge of maintenance. Funny, because he could barely maintain himself, and as I later found out, he was the 65 year old uncle of the manager. I cleverly positioned myself so I could catch a glimpse of Laura each time she entered the kitchen. It was these Zen saturated moments that made us all forget how loud and harsh the decibel level could get at service time.
My gastronomic voyage had officially begun. I dove in with a work ethic beyond reproach. I have arrived,
an almost spiritual transcendence, having a job and being part of something that lifted me to a higher plane. I was fortunate enough to find myself in the employ of Cumberlands’s restaurant, in the socially envious position of pot washer. Four nights after school, and Saturday nights, I was the lead pot washer. But, being the envy of my high school buddies was short lived when I discovered that the “lead pot washer” wasn’t really in charge of anything other than some sudsy water, and that it involved way more than merely washing pots. I was also permitted, implored even, to use my hands to scrape and clean the organic food remnants, and other indefinable residues left on the plates by our satisfied customers as well as floors, utensils, machines, and anything that neeed cleaning including the managers and the chefs cars. So it was that this head pot washer was cleaning everything in sight, in the restaurant or the employee parking lot. Poised at the suds busting helm I decided that I was going to be the best washer they ever had until that day I rise up the culinary ladder to take off to enlightenment.
On one particular night I felt compelled to let everyone in the kitchen know my lofty intentions of becoming a black belt in the art of pot and pan scrubbery. When I told the chef, the absolute ruler of the kitchen of my plan I was certain he would beam with pride. I really looked up to the chef even though he was so old. Man that dude must have been in his 60’s. I believe he always worked hard and the years had been kind to him, although not without consequence. Deep furrows stretched into spaghetti lines across his face, and he always seemed to be deep in thought. Quite fit for an older guy, and he was deceptively strong. Crazy coot could throw 50 pound bags of potatoes halfway across the kitchen with ease. He always wore a dirty and tattered black bandana under his chef hat which concealed the badly receding hairline and his eyebrows sported the thickest hair he had. Like caterpillars on steroids those eerie brows housed some very dark and serious eyes. Eyes that narrowed instantly at the first sign of anger. Like holy shit man it wasn’t only the eyes, but that bulging vein that stood out and threatened you personally. I prayed it wasn’t the angry face that was building up inside his maniacal mind. Not siree it was not the anger I was about to get a full emasculating dose of. He looked me directly in the eyes, and with his most compassionate paternal demeanor, his eyes teared up, and he laughed uncontrollably. A laugh that came all the way from the balls of his feet. In between his deafening guffaws the chef attempted to tell his sous chef Andre what my intentions were, and that was met with a roar of laughter that could cause a soufflé to fall. Regardless of their snickering daggers of contemptuous chuckling I maintained a stiff upper lip, and decided I would take charge of my own soapy destiny.
As empowering as it may seem, it wasn’t the joy of busting suds for a living that kept me coming back. It wasn’t the dream of one day being admired, no revered as the Chef, the absolute ruler of the kitchen. It wasn’t that soul warming food, it wasn’t even the lure of the attractive and flirtatious waitresses that continually tempted my teenage libido with a false sense of possibilities beyond imagination. No, there was something else about this experience that tugged at my inner Cheshire cat causing me to smile from ear to ear. They paid me.