Out Of The Frying Pan Into The Fertilizer

field

Last time: “Maybe you’re right Buddy, maybe I need a break from restaurants. Tomorrow I’ll go check out Muncies’s Landscaping.”

By J.T. Hilltop

It wasn’t like I wasn’t used to the fecal matter slamming into the rotary wind oscillator it‘s just I wasn’t thinking the said fecal matter would be literal and figure so prominently in my life. The closing of Cavelieri’s 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, but worst of all no paycheck. I was now saturated with disappointment and disillusionment believing the universe had let me down. All my meditating and chanting was for naught. Maybe what I needed really was new path to follow, a change for the better. Time to seek another avenue of employment, to shed the dry snakeskin of the restaurant industry and molt to another field. Actually field sounds right Ken was 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 exactly what Ken suggested and go work landscaping for Muncie and earn some cold hard cash. As fate would have it and timing being everything my brother’s ex boss was in need of one more laborer. Hell man I can labor! So it came to pass that I had became the new landscaper laborer for Muncies Field and Dreams Landscaping. 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 like they were rug burnt adding to my misery. As if that weren’t enough there was that 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 and assorted cheeses 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 down 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 taking diet pills every morning to keep me awake and give me the energy to bust my ass out in the shit fields and then swallow down pheno barbs at night to sleep through the amphetamine rush. An expensive proposition because on days that it rained I would be sent home making no money for the day, needing extra 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 Healthcare 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 Muncie, now I can concentrate on saving up money to get the Hell out of here. Maybe even look for a new kitchen job come the fall.
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 Viernos 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 floral 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, like mow the two acres of lawn, trim the hedges, or weed out the flower beds, 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. The best part about eating inside the nursing home was 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 the aides attention and I dug that. The free meal was back, the flirting was back, and the paycheck was back. What could possibly go wrong? Little did I know at the time, but fates fat foot was a mere ten feet away teasing me by tapping out the familiar sounds of pots and pans banging, plates clinging, and sizzles sizzling out a kitchen concerto. How I miss and love those sounds.

Cooking On Empty, The Disappearance Of A Restaurant

another

J.T. Hilltop
Cavelieri’s Restaurant was more than just a job to me it was my Mecca, Café Nirvana, a culinary cathedral where I was transformed from just another suburban punk kid to an integral ensemble cast member of a gastronomic theater troupe. I was a cast member of great importance at Cavelieri’s and having put in many hours of work in the kitchen I had graduated from understudy to be in the main cast of an improvisational culinary troupe. From scrubbing floors to stuffing mushrooms (sometimes while doing mushrooms) to making salads, plating deserts, and even light sauté work I had become an integral cog in the culinary Karmic wheel. We were all equals in terms of contribution, each of us being essential pieces of a performance art jigsaw play. I adored my time with the staff, the laughs, tears, and beers. At the end of each shift the manager bought rounds of beers to all of us, even to us underage cogs. Many an evening we even hung out after shift for over an hour. I had total seniority over the weekend warriors, the kids from high school who were lowly part timers. Hordes of classmates had come through those doors searching for restaurant enlightenment but only a select few achieve it. I was one of those who reached the pinnacle kitchen edification and Cavelieri’s was my Taj Majal, my temple of pleasing palatable worship. I had earned my position of assistant to the high priest of chefdom. All the kids knew I was the head suds buster at Cavelieri’s having dominion over all the other cogs that came to work were to be trained by the holy soapsud Shah. It gave me a sense of purpose organizing and training the utility staff. The entire staff was my family without the blood relation drama. Alone we were circus sideshows, freaks and geeks all totally misunderstood, but when the Cavelieri family was in the house we were 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 realm.
I had learned so much at Cavelieri’s, not just about cooking but about life. Jimmy had taken me under his wing like I was his son although he’d never admit it. I alone was privy to his paternal advices and concerns. 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 abnormal 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.”
The all stared at me as if they had no idea who I was. 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 running out the drain allowing concern to sneak up in 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. As Roget could more accurately put it I was bewildered confused dismayed astounded stupefied flabbergasted floored and blown away. My entire world and every world within a hundred light years had been rocked to it‘s apple core! I looked intensely from face to face hoping one of them would reveal the fact that they were punking the shit out of 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?” I was good at the obvious. While Didier explained everything the harsh news slowly seeped into my cerebellum chased 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 already 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 zero.”
Man this was a lot to digest. So many things raced through my mind. Classic restaurant scandal, the head Maitre d’ and head waitress give each other head then rip off the restaurant and head off into the sunset. For someone who was at the helm of the stainless steel pot and pan bathtub so often it took a while to sink in. “Wait-What?! Laura and that fucking airhead asshole Jense did it? The bastards took all the money? They-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 Cavelieri‘s. 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 Cavelieri’s days were over for good! 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 things elephant tranquilizers? 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’ Cavelieri’s 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 in kind. 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 morph pills did you take?” Ken held up four fingers laughing goofily and accepted the joint from me which we puffed halfway down. In the middle of toking Ken fell asleep 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.”

Whats A Nice Guy Like You Doing In A Jail Like This? pt1

rewrite

Welcome to South Carolina, take your handcuffs off and stay awhile, hear?

A rewrite to JT Hilltops great American novel “Zen and The Art of Culinary Maintenance”

Here I was on the first day as I moved into my new digs, a guest suite in the local detention center of Aiken County South Carolina. I remembered having detention in high school. Often! It’s a form of scholastic punishment for any of a variety of mischievous and normally mundane infractions. Detention in my high school was even nicknamed “Brig” to accentuate the feeling of being locked away. This however, was quite a different form of detention. Instead of sitting in a room with the other shenanigan producing student inmates forced to pretend we were working on homework after school I was given my very own guest suite. It wasn’t an especially large room in fact I’ve seen studio apartments ten time the size and this particular living arrangement came fully furnished yet totally unadorned. I suppose you could say it was decorated in minimalist style, complete with four bare walls, a stainless steel toilet and sink, a pamphlet thin mattress on a wooden platform with a polyester sheet and Government issue wool blanket, and…..well actually, that was it. That was the extent of the furnishings, all the comforts of home for a down and out hermit. Whatever the case it was to be my new living arrangements for the next thirty days. So here I am, this young suave New Yorker, locked up somewhere in the deep south where I feared I may never be heard from again. The pace in this city, I think I heard it called Grandmaville, or Grannyville or some shit was anything but urgent. Great, I thought to myself, here I am in Petticoat fucking Junction. There’s Uncle Joe he’s a movin’ kinda slow!” Somewhere between Mayberry and Hootersville. “Jesus shit,” I thought, “Not a familiar face anywhere and not a single person left to turn to.” Thirty days in this hell hole with no beer, no weed, not even a fucking TV to help pass the time. Just me, myself and….and a band of hillbilly cops. Actually, I wasn’t completely alone, it was kind of a low life criminal condo.
Along with yours truly, and against their wills as well, were five “block” mates each with their very own sardine can housing unit and each sizing up this long haired city boy. I could tell they were wondering what skyscraper it was that I crawled out from under. I was relatively certain I detected a mix of urban admiration and good ole boy Yankee hatred, but I may have been setting their intelligence bar higher than I should have. Having been in the wrong bar at the wrong time on occasion I instinctively I understood the importance of establishing the “upper hand”. I had heard some of the other detainees, let’s call them “Inn” mates, refer to the guards as“turn-key”. So it was time to establish my dominance with my jailors while developing my “street credentials” with my new roomies. I determined that a perfect place to start was right this very moment by showing these local yokel criminals how we do it up north in the big city. So in my toughest NYC voice I let out an authoritative directive. “Ay Oh, Turn-key. Yea you in the uniform over thar, I need to make my phone call.” I had attempted to inject just the perfect modicum of disdain and rebellion as was necessary to achieve my goal of upmanship. An awkward silence befell the cellblock and I‘m not 100% sure but I believe I felt a slight wind from the eyes of my roomies opening wide in astonished disbelief. I was half expecting Barney Fife to come take me to a phone but instead a burly mean looking police officer began to stare at me with such a deadpan sarcastic glare I almost felt jealous. I’m from New York, where sarcasm is taught in kindergarten and is a second language. This dude had such killer swagger in his walk he read me a cynical short story without even uttering a single word. I began to wonder if I was taking the proper approach or if I should rethink my technique. It was then that this komodo dragon in uniform began to saunter quickly in my direction with a slow and deliberate pace that screamed “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” The oily haired officer got his face as close to mine as humanly possible and just stared at me a moment. I could feel his smoky foul breath dancing across my cheeks and I felt the lashes of his eyes as they blinked. Little hard eye hairs that could successfully cleaned under his fingernails if he had the gumption to appear clean. I had a sudden and humbling movie memory penetrate my tough NYC exterior and turn me into shimmering mass of spineless amoeba. “Suey, let me hear you scream suey!” Before my ‘Deliverance’ became a reality I attempted to coax myself back from my baseless paranoia and re-establish control. Oh Hell, stop thinking like that and get your shit together tough guy. You faced bigger opponents in Spanish Harlem just three days ago. You’ve spent countless hours in a Pagan Motorcycles Club bar. You have faced off with New York City detectives. Not very successful with the detectives, but stood up none the less. Well maybe stood up was not the right term, more like whimpered through a face full of mace as I dropped to my knee’s, but I did get a kiss my ass pig in which my friends found impressive a few days later from the safety of our hometown bar. I gave my head a hair clearing shake, swallowed hard and began to feel like I was back in charge again. Apparently, none of this impressed Sergeant Komodo Dragon. He began to speak, and I swore the voice was the same voice I recalled from that scene in Deliverance. “Say what boy?…. Did I hear you say turn-key you long haired New Yoke piece o’ shit? Are y‘all gonna tell me y‘all came alla way from da big apple jess at git an ass kicking here in Aikon County?” I couldn’t help but detect a certain note of arrogance and alarming disdain in his voice. But alas it was too late the drama had begun. I sensed that any second now the proverbial pig shit was headed directly in the vortex of the rotary oscillator. And the fan was humming a darkly ominous Dixie tune! The two of us stared each other down for a minute and the silence raised to a tense ear shattering level that damn near burnt my ears. Then as if right on cue a big shit eating “who the fuck does you think your dealing with” sardonic grin broke out on his upper lip, quickly spread across his jaw until cynicism took over his entire face. He gave my solar plexus a formal introduction to his police baton with a shit kicker smile of an exclamation point. Now I am staring directly into this shit eating evil Cheshire Cat’s angry eyes and what’s most obvious is that it’s giving off some very serious vibe implications. I had to think quick to get out of this predicament, to ease the tensions and repair the relationship with my captor while not losing face with my new room mates. Something big and potentially life altering was about to go down. But let me back up a bit and explain how I even came to be here in the first place.

Take The Long Road Home (by J.T. Hilltop) pt2

road

Where There’s Hope…

When I thanked the sheriff for the ride it occurred to me he may have had an ulterior motive. He wasn’t saving me in the name of Jesus, he was getting me the hell out of his Dodge. I was a hindrance, a public relation nightmare. If some of his people were to engage me in a game of full contact Red Rover and leave this New Yorker dead on the side of a road in his jurisdiction the repercussions to tourism would be staggering. The mother fucker left me off in the middle of nowhere, full on darkness and a stretch of road so straight and lonely it begs tires to rotate as fast as they can in an audition for NASCAR status. The side of road across from me was dotted with a few little shacks, a general store, and a pub advertising a pool table. My side of the road was a fucking swampland. Nothing but marshy woods mainly due, I would soon find out , to the fact that you can’t build a decent structure in mud. The only thing that could survive this side of the highway was Swamp Thing or some genetic mutation thereof. But there was life somewhere because I could hear a deafening din of some kind of amphibian-like croaking. A group of frogs are called an army and this sounded like The Amphibian Marine Corps out on massive combat maneuvers. They shocked and awed me! I had never heard so much ear shattering croaking in my life and the voices in my head were nice enough to remind me of the intimidating alligator congregation so the level of fear intensity was through the roof. I was imagining killer frogs and mutated swamp things waiting for me to take one step too many. Nothing to do but start walking and hitchhiking with my back turned to whatever went whizzing by in the hopes that another pearl white Chevy truck would come my way and not a gaggle of goose stepping backwoods hicks looking for some boot practice. Well it was neither, after the first ten vehicles raced past without as much of an acknowledgment a foghorn drowned out the incessant croaking. An eighteen wheeler was barreling towards me not signally a ride but letting me know in no uncertain terms would it slow down or move over for me. A tense decision, either close my eyes and hope I’m not road kill or take a few steps into frogland. The thought of some Appalachian chef dicing me into human roadside stew swayed me and removed my fear as I stepped into the marshy terrain. With my eyes closed as tight as I could I felt the cold muddy substance on my feet and the most amazing thing happened. The fucking frogs clamed up! I mean like every last one of them.
It was downright spooky, the silence would have been laughable if I had even a scintilla of laugh hormone left in my body. The truck blew past me so fast it kicked up a wind that forced me to dig into the mud to maintain my balance. A header into Hellswamp would have been the end of my existence for sure. Feeling ever so slightly angered tempered with being scared shitless I decided to listen to the voices this time. To hell with it all! I stuck my middle finger up as high as was humanly possible while he blew past down the road and shouted out a resounding FUCK YOU! Even the army of frogs were taken aback and remained silent allowing only a smattering of croaks, mostly from deeper in the marsh where I promised never to find myself. It felt surprisingly good until my reality check bounced. I’m alone on Swamp Boulevard in the town of “Deliverance”, there’s a tavern back about a half mile that’s probably filled with inbred cousins of the gorillas shit kickers from Camden and their drunk ass selves would be piling out of that bar stinking drunk in a few very short hours looking for something, or someone, to do. Being a New Yorker would definitely not work in my favor under those circumstances. My pace tripled as I power walked down the road just hoping to find a somewhat safe area.
A new game for me, step off or become road kill. It took me a good two hours to get past this stretch of hopeless landfill and find at least a bit of road with some shoulder to it. Every time any vehicle came by I just stepped into the marsh and with my back turned with my thumb out to begging for salvation. Nary a ride. But I was past the worst, at least where I ended up had a hint of human civilization to it. Feeling completely exhausted, hungry and dehydrated, and having come down with a chronic case of hopelessness I spotted a tiny abandoned gas station surrounded by wood. I had little to no strength and the station offered at least a modicum of cover so I went around back to find the door open. I always try to see the bright side of things but this was really challenging. Well I can add hobo to my resume? Didn’t cut it, but there was a tiny sparkle of bright. The garage was empty, smelled a tad rancid but not overwhelming, and none of the local anarchistic militia truck drivers will find me. As unsettling as the garage was it was still a haven. I settled in, laid down and began to contemplate where the fuck I went wrong in life and how I ended up tired and starving in some tiny backwoods southern town where not one soul knows I’m even alive. Hopelessness came out in tears of self pity so I gently cried myself to sleep.
“Cold ground was my bed last night, rock was my pillow too.” A line from the Bob Marley tune “Talking Blues” that had become my reality. Not sure how long the burning sun had been shining the full force of its ultraviolet rays on my face acting on behalf of the alarm clock association but it was long enough to impart the slightest hint of reddening discomfort. I woke up with an aching body wishing I was home in bed, feeling dejected, tired, and hungrier than I ever remember. I found a water faucet in the back of the old store and gave myself a hobo shower giving some extra splash to my face to compensate for my lack of caffeine. I chanted a positive mantra to myself in the hopes it would renew my luck and perhaps withdraw a touch of good karmic returns from my good deed bank. I needed something.
I set back out on highway 22 convincing myself that the sleep and light of day would bring me fortune. The third car past me was a small Volkswagon Karmann Ghia with a young long hair college boy with a full beard and the idealistic life outlook that had been missing since I began this ordeal. He drove me all the way into Myrtle Beach chewing my ear off about politics and the southern “head up the ass” mentality that prevailed with most of the young robotic clones in South Carolina. It was like Karma jackpot, someone I could talk to and who understood, perhaps even viewed me as a sort of Kerouac’s Dean Moriarity type character. He claimed not to have much money on him but when he dropped me off on the outskirts of town he bought me a soda, or pop actually, and a buttered roll. Then he gave me the half a pack of cigarettes he had. “Well its sure been a pleasure chattin with Y’all JT, in I hope Y’all fine what it is yer searching for. I’m meeting my Mom and Pops up in Columbia so this is the end of our road. This here’s Myrtle Beach, that a way down there is Conway, a lot cheaper place than the beach and up that away is North Myrtle Beach which is touristy but more for camp like tourists. Make sure y’all check out the boardwalk and be careful.” I didn’t want to leave, almost suggested I go to North Carolina with him but this was my new path, I was going to find out what Myrtle beach South Carolina is all about.
What is it all about? Unfortunately Jonas the preaching sandwhich maker was right, it’s all about money. You can get whatever you want if you have enough money but if your looking for a helping hand its not here. Everywhere I went people tried to hustle me until they discovered my finances, then they would dismiss me with contempt. I was getting more and more hungry by the minute and was walking in circles. I could feel the dust had formed a film of dirt on my face. I was a mess, again busted disgusted and can’t be trusted. My stomach had gone from growling to downright snarling and I couldn’t barely walk any further. Weak from hunger and almost completely dehydrated I took a chance on a KFC.
My feet were filthy, my flip flops had flopped, and I was too exhausted to even formulate my puppy dog eyes but I knew I had to give it a shot, I desperately needed some water. I entered the Kentucky Fried Chicken getting in line behind one other person. When I got up to the counter a young African American boy looked at me curiously saying, “how can I help you sir?” I gave him the readers digest condensed version of my plight pleading, “Please, all I want is some water, this is my first time in Myrtle Beach, I’m trying to get back home to new York and I can’t even get a drink of water anywhere.” The young man gave me a look that said okay but he said, “one minute sir.” and started putting together an order for the drive through window. I was thinking he was dismissing me and was about to leave when he returned, looked me straight in the face and placed a box of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, a biscuit, and a large soda in front of me. “Thank you very much sir, have a nice day’” and then he winked at me. I could see behind his eyes, it was a genuine caring for another human being and he was likely going to end up paying for the meal himself. I grabbed the box and with tears of gratitude in my eyes and thanked him.
As thankful as I was gratitude had to be put on hold for a second, because at the moment I was a wild animal who had finally found his quarry. I found a patch of grass in the back of the building and crouched down with my kill, glaring back and forth from side to side ensuring no other hungry varmit was going to make a play for my fried chicken and bisquit. I ate like a starved vulture nearly choking on the bones as I was not going to let anything palatable remain in the box. If the napkins were edible I would have chewed them. When I had finished my meal, the absolute best meal I’ve had in well over a month, I sat like a sated lion, overseeing my parking lot pride as I leisurely finished my large pop. Time to formulate a plan now, where to go and what to do next but this time with a full stomach. I glanced through the window and saw the young man who had so selflessly given a total stranger, one who looked like a psychotic serial killer than a desperate human a meal. No, not just a meal, that young man gave me far more than mere food. He had given me a renewed sense of good, of the best that humanity can be, a renewed sense that there are things in this srtinking world that can rise above the stench of inhumanity and not only cover it up, but totally obliterate it, if only for a while. I promised I would never forget that young man, his face will forever etched in my memory, and every time I do any good deed, I will remember him and his incredible gift to me. The gift of hope! But for right now I’ll just have to settle for finding a friend ans getting back home.
TBC

Apocalypse Wow (part 1) (A twisted tale from the unrepentant liar series)

inflamation

The last one picked is the one no one really wants on the team and Book of Revelations was the last one picked for the Bible. Coincidence? Maybe, or maybe Revelations was too fat, too slow, and too uncoordinated. Or maybe it was just that no one liked it. Maybe it flat out sucked at being Biblical. But whatever the case there’s only one way to find out for sure. No, not from a cable news network, like they’re ever reliable, no if we want to know the truth about Revelations there is only one thing to do. Investigate. And of course there is only one team of investigators we can trust, and that’s the team at “CSI, Garden of Eden.” So here is the story of revelations as told to the Christian Scripture Investigators from The Garden of Eden.

The CSI team has found DNA and other forensic tidbits hidden for ages in the scriptures. Combined with trace elements like epithelia’s, fingerprints, and other secret documents they uncovered the truth of Revelations as it appears in the very end of The Brand Spanking New Testament section of the book of all things. Our crack team of investigators has gone where no man has gone before, the final frontier of the holiest of holy books, the bible. Here’s what they discovered about the book of revelations, or as its known in the business, Apocalypse Wow.
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The book of revelations is somewhat difficult to tell because its told in some unusual circumstances. The CSI team has learned that story was first revealed to this tripped out dude John, who was locked up in prison in Pathos on a drug related beef. John in turn was requested to scribe this story while under the influence of some powerful hallucinogens. John had been a prolific writer who had already had a number of stories published in the New Testament. A few under the epistle category, and a gospel song called Psalm 43 (The P has the right to remain silent). John from Pathos, where he was known as the pathological prevaricating prophet of Pathos tells the testament during this exclusive interview in his own words. It includes the four headless horsemen of Sleepy Hollow, the Liar of Judah, angels, trumpeters, the beast, a dragon, a false prophet, an arched angel, and of course no biblical tale would be complete without a whore, this one straight outta Babylon. Here’s the tape recorded testimony in his very own paraphrased words as he told it to CSI one day back in the late 60’s…..That’s 60AD, the decade of decadence. This is John’s version of events:

One evening while I was studying in the prison library the guard tells me I got this like visitor. Now not many of my friends come by and my family disowned me so my interest is how you say, peeked. A woman, not saying it was Jesus’ Mary cause I would never do nothing behind the J-mans back, lets just say she looked quite similar to Mary Magdalene. So Mary come in and lays a snog toggling of a kiss right on my mouth. I mean she gave me a tongue wrestling, saliva swapping smacker of a French kiss right there in plain view of everyone in the visitors cave. While we was moanin and goanin I could feel two slimy tabs of something slip off Maggs tongue. Oops! Yea I know, I said it wasn’t Mary Magdalene but she didn’t want us to end up some celeb scandal on the front page of the Abraham Inquirer. And let me tell you the J-man was one lucky Jew brother, Mare was one helluva kisser. Anyway She tells me to swallow, something you don’t normally wanna hear in prison, but I swallows the tabs. Then she tells me I just took two tabs of Cobalt Cheer acid. Man I was stoked, that’s some kicking cid right there my brothers, I knew I was gonna be tripping my nuts off. I smiled all the way back to my cell knowing what was coming. I got to my confinement cave and laid down on my stone cot while my bulge subsided, know what I mean?. After about a half hour or forty five minutes or so I hears this voice. Like I sit up right away and look around but there ain’t no one there. So I lays back down when the voice comes back, this time calling me by name. “Oh Jaa-ahn” So’s I shout who’s that, who’s there? And the voice says ‘Its me John, God.’ Now I’m thinking it must be the acid kickin’ in right? I mean the walls of the cave had been like breathing for a while and this voice was like soft and almost girly. Not the powerful deep voice you’d expect God would have, but the chick like voice insists. ‘Really John, its me God’ Then he steps out from the shadows and sure enough it is the almighty himself, God. Amazing how much Jesus looked like him, I mean like the spittin’ image. What else could I do? I sez, what’s happening God?”
Then he walks straight through the bars, not around them, I mean like right through them, like they wasn’t even there. Then he sez, ‘John, I’m going to tell you a story. I want you to write this story down and make sure everyone reads it.’ I’m really feelin ripe about now so I sez to him, you mean like a bestseller or something? To which he replies, ‘Ah…yea, something like that. But first try and get the story into the bible, because the book need a proper ending and this will be the story of the end and the new beginning.’ Now I’m really thinking the acid must be slamming the insides of my brain up against my skull or something but I figures maybe I should like play along and I sez to him, ‘Yea, yea sure Mr. Devine Being, whatever you sez. He goes on, “When I first created everything I had seven arch angels to watch over heaven and protect it. Six of these arch cherubs were cool, but one malignant rascal, Beelzebub, was just a real pain in the ba-donk-a-donk. Had to do everything his own way and refused to follow my directions. Finally one day I caught him rolling in the hayclouds with Gabriel’s teenage daughter and that was the last straw. I tossed him and his baneful ways out of heaven straight down to earth along with one third of the questionable residents of heaven, like my own heavenly flotilla. He went down to earth with the low-lifes and they formed a gang of goblin thugs calling themselves the Crypts. Picked the name of a sacred burial undercroft just to spite me. After that he enters the Garden of Eden, whips out his penis angling it in front of Eve like some big snake. Well of course his phallus being thrice the size of Adams Eves eyes widened, began to water and left her mouth agape which he quickly filled with an apple. He then seduced Eve enticing her to make love, five times, and that’s when all the trouble began. That was the fall of man, when Adam, teeming with jealousy and divine penis envy begins recruiting humans for his own gang to exact revenge. So I had Gabriel, a very trusted angel form a gang up here first because I knew there would someday be a major showdown and the humans wouldn‘t stand a chance. He formed the Bloods of my blood, after my sons prophecy. We call them the Bloods for short, and it created a rivalry that would be the mother of all rivalries. Positive vs. Negative, Life vs. Death, Good vs. Evil, none of them have anything on the rivalry of the Bloods vs. Crypts. One day we would have our gang lords get together for an epic rumble. This showdown will be called The Rapture. Are you getting all this down John?”
Now I knows I’m still tripping and all but I’m starting to think maybe this shit really is on the up and up so’s I keep scraping away on my stones getting down his words so I could one day write the book for him.Being an ancient journalist of course I had questions, so I asks him to explain to me how this Rapture thing is gonna go down. Then something happens that may sound like a fairy tale or a hallucination. He floats up to the ceiling an sez come on up John it will be easier if I show you”
Now I’m flipping ya know? I’m like how the brimstone am I supposed to get up there, but before I even gets to thinking about a strategy I was lifted right off my feet and floated right next to him. Honest to god, from Gods mouth to my ear he whispers, ‘Watch this. These guys can really stir it up’ A light went on and I swear to you it looked like a giant flat screen TV in HD. The images seemed so real. There was a stage with seven muicians. Al Hirt,Loius Armstrong,Wynton Marsalas, Miles Davis,Chuck Mangione,Maynard Fererson, and Dizzy Gillespie. Not just ordinary musicians each stood with a trumpet in their hands. The seven Trumpeters. They jammed away non stop for about an hour and that’s when the real show started!

TBC

Cheffing In December is like…….Death warmed over in a microwave

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(Warning, story contains actual chef language containing both fowl and foul words some may find offensive and shit.)
Here we are embarking on another “holidays” season. Up here in the NorthEast its shrinkage weather. In the morning, I open the front door and if there is immediate shrinkage, I know to dress in full winter weather regalia. Soon after Thanksgiving festivities have come to a trytophanic end, the Turducken Football OD is over, and Alice’s Restaurant has played on the radio, its time for the annual MMA Shopping event Black Friday. That can only mean its time for chefs everywhere to prepare for December. Radios everywhere will play the same tired songs they have for the last 200 years, stores and malls open extra hours for extended full contact shopping, and we make lists of who we need to tip, who we need to get booze for, and who to buy gift cards and presents for. One of the worst examples of our inhumanity in this time of supposed brotherhood is the perpetual argument over how to greet each other. Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas chef, Happy Kwanza chef, So how’s your Hanukah going chef, hey chef, cheers, happy holidays.

Christmastime, Kwanza Season, Hanukah, Holiday season, Winter Wonderland, Noel, No Hell, give it whatever name you want but to a chef its more of a suicide/homicide countdown. It takes all of what’s left of our strength to not kill ourselves, or half the staff working for us. In the prime of my career December was the darkest most evil time imaginable. The December Kitchen wears a hockey mask to cover a misshaped face full of scars and zombie eyes, has hand of metal serrated spikes, carrying machetes, axes, and chainsaws. December cheffing frightens the hell out of any seasoned or marinated chef while sucking the life blood out of all the kitchen workers all over the country. While others argue and bicker over whether to say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays a chefs answer would be about 20 decibels higher and sound more like, CALL IT WHATEVER THE FUCK YOU WANT YOU JINGLE FUCKING BELL LAME ASS MENORAH LIGHTING LIMP DICK HALL DECKING KWANZA DANCING SANTA FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT AND PICK UP TABLE 15 NOW!!!

Yea that’s right, while party revelers are getting drunk, having affairs, doing lines in the bathrooms, and being absurdly ridiculous because of the intake of massive quantities of alcohol, the chef is screaming at the perceived incompetence of workers who are actually stressed and stretched beyond human limits due to the massive pile of work assaulting them. In between his vociferous beration of anyone in sight the chef is sweating and working his ass off. Every morning we need to go to the ass store to buy a new ass to replace the one we broke the night before. So many holiday parties and so little time to get them done in!

The month of December is indeed physically taxing which is bad enough, but it is also super hard on the chef’s family. Communication is reduced to post it notes and telegrams to and from the spouse, swatting at the kids like they’re flies when they jump on the bed and interrupt your one and a half hours of sleep you‘re alloted, and calling Mom and Dad just so you can catch a nap on the phone while they catch you up on the latest afflictions and maladies they suffer from. “So Pops, how’s your arthritis been lately?…..zzzzzzzz. You learn to sleep in the shower during the rinse and repeat cycle of shampooing, you grab your clothes and hope they match because your eyes aren’t open enough to see them, and you eat standing up so you don’t have to take the time to digest. Let gravity work on the digesting, chef’s have more important things to do.

If your lucky like me you get to take mass transit where you can catch a long nap. But beware, often a nap will last four stops past your destination setting your day back before it even begins. Or you may wake up from a nap in a panic and get off thinking your past your stop only to find out you still have six more stops before departing. Or maybe you ease into a decent sleep only to be startled awake because a jolt of fear split your head open thinking you may have forgot to order that 100 pounds of shrimp for tonight that was ordered last minute yesterday. And yes…every one of those scenarios has happened to me at least once while December cheffing.

I don’t want to make it sound too grim, there is a bit of a perk. Everyone and their mother wants to let you know how much they appreciate your cooking so they bring you alcohol (or whatever may be your pleasure). But even that can be a negative perk at times. Like when someone sends a glass of wine to the chef in the middle of service because they’re partying and feeling really good, and generous. Of course the wait staff neglect to tell the patron that the chef is a bit off balance because others have already sent in shots, beers, and drinks from other happy patrons knowing full well the chef is burnt out and at the mercy of not having the will power to say NO THANKS to a bit of happy juice! Instead, its pond this shit down and get back to the heat of the heartless oven.

Yes my friends, December cheffing can really shred ones world apart but thankfully it only lasts until the final push of the year, new Years Eve. That’s the night chefs get to hear every non working person in the world shout in drunken stupors “Happy New Year!!!” while the chef silently says to themselves, Fuck YOU! So this year, while you are out partying and carousing and carrying on all over town celebrating whatever the hell it is you call it, take a few minutes out and thank a chef for all the sacrifices of cheffing in December….Peace

Chefs Of The Future,,,,Ha Ha

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“Professor Renoit, can we see the Café Fete film from 1988 again?” The students at The Academy of Bio-nucleic Culinary and Nutrition Arts and Science University loved viewing the ancient eating rituals of the 20th century. “Well, since it’s a short week I guess we can see it again, message the Audio Visual Center to synch us up with Video CIA/FS11721. I haven’t seen images of Old-Old New York City restaurants in a long time.” Professor Renoit enjoyed the old films even more than the students. It was a fantastic break from all the technological culinary sciences and molecular gastronomic techniques. “ Okay guys, put away the superconductive reassemblers and be prepared to record notes. Pay close attention to the patrons ritual dining experience because I will expect a thesis on 20th century dining and the Amino Acid reaction to the digestive system from eating meat.”
The giant screen lit up and the video began. The title splashed across the screen “Dining In The 20th Century at Café Fete, W145 43rd street Old New York” The narrators voice broke the silence as the camera’s panned through the front door of an old restaurant named Café Fete, “This is Café Fete, and I’m Chef Krandem, executive chef. I am a Culinary Institute graduate and I have worked here in Manhattan for twelve years now. Café Fete is a 180 seat restaurant and catering facility located in midtown Manhattan. We serve what we like to call innovative Pan-Global cuisine, meaning we take fusion into the future by including cuisines from all over the world.” As usual this brought a chorus of laughter from the students as they viewed the now archaic eating establishment boasting of being futuristic. Café Fete was a large and roomy restaurant with 20 foot high ceilings, plush designed with large tables and regal chairs as well as banquette seating. The entire front wall was a bar loaded with a cruvinet for over twenty wines by the glass and fourteen spigots for ales and lagers. Chef Kramden was noted for his daring tell all exposes on restaurants in the eighties. Professor Renoit paused the video, “As many of you know back in the 20th century eating was more of a social phenomenon than the optimal nutrition blending we incorporate today. Back then the culture was all about doing drugs, drinking, and having sex whenever and wherever possible. Chef Kramdem wrote his confessional exposing the restaurant industry’s secrets. He was a self described ‘party monster’ who drank excessive amounts of alcohol, smoked, yes that’s right SMOKED illegal marijuana, and did an assortment of drugs such as cocaine. That was the culture, drugs, sex, and neverending hangovers. His stories included lines of a powdery cocaine on sheet pans, intercourse inside a walk-in refrigerator, and oral sex behind racks of glasses. Kitchens were quite different back then, not like the laboratories we use today ”
He called out “Go” and the video continued, “But today I will take you behind the scenes to watch as line cooks sniff cocaine, waiters and waitresses engage in lustful sex acts, and through it all we manage to serve well over 300 people a night who are totally unsuspecting of the decadence surrounding their meals.” Again Renoit held up the video, “In the 20th century people got together in groups, or in pairs if it was a date, and actually spent sometimes hours sitting at a table eating and drinking. Can you imagine how much information we would miss if dining took us hours? Unthinkable!” The video continued, showing a large area. Along one wall there was a large grill and broiler, five stoves with flat ranges, and a huge sink. There were four cooks at the apparatuses and the noise level was unreal. Screaming over each other, all trying to be the loudest as they cooked food and put it on plates. On the other side of the room was a cold section where they made foods from various vegetation which they called salads. it’s a wonder anything could get accomplished. The students all looked on in bewilderment.
The next scene scanned the dining room which always got a rise of chuckles from the students. Why on this or any other planet would people waste so much time talking and sipping fermented grape beverages? In this multi planetary world such action is a total waste of valuable time which could be spent gathering information. And the sex? My God sometimes it took forever to reach climaxes, not like the auto climax embracing machines they use today. Thirty seconds of embrace and all three or four partners reached climaxes and moved on. And to sit and cut up foods instead of swallowing a bar of compressed energy ion tablets once a day seemed absurd. The video showed a man and a woman sitting across from each other gazing intently into each others eyes. A waiter came out and placed a dish in front of each of them as he described the foods. “For the lady, the pan seared diver sea scallops with avocado balsamic remoulade on a bed of baby spinach from Belgium, and for you sir the grilled Iowa Black Angus fillet mignon with mango and Madagascar peppercorn glaze, twice baked potatoes, and floret’s of broccoli. Enjoy.” The waiter left and the couple daintily began deconstructing the beautifully laid out entrees. Next the video was of Chef Kramden at his desk speaking with what seemed great difficulty about the couple. “Oh yea, he is definitely gonna score tonight with a meal like that. Not to mention the bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from Haut Medoc that he sprung for, probably set him back two hundred just for….for….Oh My God! Yessssssss! The wine!” The camera panned down to see a woman’s head under the chefs desk bobbing up and down then stopping suddenly. The students were rolling and holding their sides having just witnessed the old practice of oral sex.
The students viewed an assortment of sexual acts performed with the cooks ans wait staff in various ares’s of the kittchen, drunk and high workers all around, and all the time unsuspecting patrons dined a social interactive meal. They all seemed to be enjoying it which was perplexing to the students. At the conclusion of the video all of the students cheered and clapped. One hand raised up quickly and the professor pointed, “Yes B22?” A young lady stood up, “What did the woman at the end of the video do with the emission from the chef of the future?”
TBC

Jewels Hollandaise Sauce, The Happy Culinarian

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Jewels Hollandaise Sauce here on Foodie Channel Network with my new show, The Happy Culinarian (THC). Today I am interviewing the once rising star in the cake industry, Bae King Powder, who just recently wrote his tell all culinary confesional book, “Batter Up, The Rise and Fall of A Cupcake Empire.” Welcome to the show Mr. Powder. Let me begin with the scandel you recently found yourself in with the purchase of illegal products that authorities gave you such sought after top shelf cupcakes. How did it all go down, what toppled your empire?

BKP… Thanks for having me here Jewels, You’re a sharp interviewer, I see you like to get right to the point. Yes its true, I was busted, Leavening Agents took me from my bakery in handcuffs. Really no knead for that. But they had been watching my bakery for quite a while. Apparently some of my shcmuck competitors tipped them off I was using illegally obtained PH in my batter. The batter accusation hit me hard! They were way off base and it came out of left field. First let me go on the record, I had no idea PH from Thailand was illegal, and yes it’s true I used it. The cost of inflation was rising but my cupcakes weren’t. After the Cupcake Wars ended and it was revealed that no whip pans of mass induction were hidden in rebel bakeries. Aside from the politically aligned bakeries all cupcake makers were left flat, mine included. Mission Accomplished my ass!

JHS. Of course, we all remember the bad intel The Food Channel got from Halliburton Lard Distributors that lead to the Cupcake Wars but lets get back to you. As I remember it you claim you were targeted because of your sudden cupcake rise to fame. Exactly how did your cupcakes rise so much?

BKP. Well yea, my batter was much different than most other bakers. With high quality ingredients and hard work my cupcakes rose to near cult status, some even referring to them as ‘crack cupcakes’ because they were addictive. Most of those other shmucks were using short cuts. That’s the reason we rose, not because of some illegal powders in my recipe. I got a much fluffier and porous product and that made me a target. All my competitors wanted to see my cakes fall so they set me up. Just about everybody jumped on the Baking Soda bandwagon and that made their products all seem like cookie cutter copies of each others product. People couldn’t tell the difference between Crumbies, Mack Nola’s, or that new place, Two Broke Chicks. They all tasted the same, looked the same, nothing special. I tried to keep my secret ingredient under wraps like the sandwich industry, or like Coca Cola or any other product that wants to keep their secrets contained. The brand of PH I used was as much intellectual property as my recipes, I had no idea we had broken ties with the Thai’s on PH trade. I had agents dumpster diving on my property while my bakery was closed but that didn’t work so they snuck a mole into my kitchen. Once they had their mole in place they called the Health Department. Shut me down because of a blind rodent that was planted in the plant! Mission Accopmplished my ass!

JHS. So after the clandestine garbage hunting failed they snuck a mole on your property then called the Health department? That’s a serious allegation Bae.

BKP. Oh its more than an allegation Jewels, its an accusation. The other bakeries wanted me destroyed and they lobbied with the Cupcake Icing Agency as well as the Felonious Bakers Investigation pitting both the CIA and FBI against me. They sent Leavening Agents to me looking to get a rise out of me by offering me bribes. I had it on camera but the government had it erased. Of course now I can’t prove anything but if you really look at my pudding, you’ll find the truth there. That was my mission accomplished.

JHS. Proof in the pudding? Conspiracy by government officilals? I mean really Mr. Powder, you want us to believe that all these people conspired to bring your cupcakes down?

BKP. You can believe what you want but if you read my book I have no doubt you’ll see I speak the truth. No one is outside the reach of our government. My cupcakes got too big, rose too high and they didn’t like that, felt threatened. That’s what my book will tell you, all about the conspiracies that took the wind from my sales. If tearing down The Cupcake Dude was their mission, I suppose it was accomplished. But the Dude won’t go down without a fight, I’ll take my batter and come out swinging, slam them for a grand at least.

JHS. Okay Bae, THC wishes you good luck in your plight. Well you heard that folks, buy Bae King Powders new book, Batter up to find out the truth behind the conspiracies. I have to tell you Bae, I usually have my staph read these books for me but I actually read this book in two days. How you built the empire was riveting, I was fascinated the entire read. Not only by the conspiracy but by the whole story of your rise to cupcake stardom. One last thing before you go, what’s next for the Cupcake Dude?

BKP. First of all Jewels, my cupcakes will rise again, like The Phoenix. No breads, I don’t knead the dough, but I am working on a new line of alcohol based cupcakes and deep fried mini cupcakes. People today are all concerned about all the GMO crap so it’s a perfect time to sneak the fried foods craze on them. Also, suddenly half the world thinks it has gluten allergies so I’m developing a cupcake made exclusevily with edible plastics. My first attempt was a C4 cupcake which blew up in my face, but edible plastic is the next wave of the future. I’ll be launching a line of cupcakes with Polyunsaturated Urethane Styrene as well as a number of other substances people won’t even be able to pronounce. Plastics are the future and edible plastics will take over the entire culinary industry once everyone realizes what a brilliant concept filling people full of plastic pleasure truly is. Thanks for having me Jewels, and remember, Never Underestimate The Power Of A Cupcake….Peace

High Crimes and Mister Meaner, A Tale Noir (pt1)

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by J.T. Hilltop
The story I am about to tell is true, the names have been changed to protect the guilty
Prologue
The year 1971, the town Centerlawn, a thriving little Long Island community in the suburbs of New York City where four youths chose to show blatant disregard of the law and engage in the heinous crime of sharing a marijuana cigarette. In an attempt to prevent these youths from throwing their lives away down the illegal drug drain two police officers arrested the four miscreant hoodlum youths and took them to the precinct for some instant “wake the fuck up” real world advice dispensing. That’s how things rolled in 1971 suburbia.…

My name is JT Hilltop and I was one of those miscreant hoodlum youths who narrowly averted a lifetime of penal institutions for a taste of the forbidden fumes. We weren’t hardened criminals or anything, just a couple of teens out on the prowl hunting for some fun. Me and my three cohorts were typical suburban kids looking for some cheap kicks to break up the boredom of living in our mundane cookie cutter neighborhood. Our way of escaping the doldrums of our mind numbing existences was to engage in the mind altering practice of smoking anything containing THC. Opting to gamble our futures away for a few puffs on the magic dragon we engaged acts of refer madness that can only be described as….One helluva crazy fun time! This is our story:

Part I
“Hey look, here comes Monty, he got his car back.” Monty, short for Montebello, was one of the cool kids in high school who had a car. Me, Streak, and Jimbo were just hanging around “The Stores”, a local meeting place where youths gathered to plan their evening of hijinx and carousing. Rolling across the tedium of a warm summers eve Monty pulled up in his recently repaired Plymouth Valiant. Not an especially hot car but it beat the Hell out of anything we had, which was actually two sting ray bicycles and a ten speed. In our defense though the sting ray bikes were tricked out with Ape hanger handlebars and Banana seats. One even had a sissy bar. Monty pulled up alongside us rolling down the window, “Hey man, you guys got any buzz?” Buzz! That’s what we lived for, a taste of escape from the unified conformity in Centerlawn that shaped our lives. Buzz was how we described anything that got us high, marijuana, hash, colored capsules from our parents medicine cabinets, or whatever we could get our hands on. “I got some weed man, you got papers?” Streak had some weed. Streak almost always had weed, I could never figure out how he did it but it wasn’t a surprise when he spoke up. We shared buzz all the time because none of us felt like getting high alone. I guess relief from misery loves company as much as misery itself. From the tiniest chunk of hash to the biggest five finger ounce of pot if one of us was holding, all of us high. “Of course I have papers. Get in guys.” Streak got in the front, because with having buzz comes privilege. Jimbo and I filed into the back. “Where ya wanna go to get high?” Streak was already rolling a joint, “Lets go up to the school parking lot man, we can hide in the back corner.” The sound mind of Jimbo, the most rational thinker of our crowd (actually the only rational one) broke in quickly, “No man, not a good idea. There’s no way to escape from there.” Streak overruled his objection, “No ones even gonna see us Jimbo, we can puff all we want, no one will ever know.” Monty and I agreed so Jimbo gave in reluctantly.
Now if we had seriously thought this whole thing out we would have realized that Jimbo was absolutely correct. “The school” was our old Elementary school and far beyond the parking lot in the corner of the playground was where we first learned the virtues of partying. It had been a safe place for us to guzzle Budweisers, or Schlitz if we were low on cashola, or Ripple or Boones Farm wine when we felt all upscale suburban. The cops patrolled it periodically but we were located in a perfect position to run in different directions into the woods. No one ever got caught there and it must have pissed off the cops because they never gave up trying. Or maybe they didn’t really care because it was only beer but there in lay the real problem. We had graduated to the hard stuff, smoking the devils weed, which puts everyone Heroin Highway, a dead end road for drug users. Now we were not just sneaking in a little alcohol to get drunk, we were committing high crimes that suck the soul of youth out of every neighborhood. That only made the police more desperate to catch us. But Hell, we were indestructible and would never get caught. Did I say never? Despite our dark out of the way hiding spot and being unseen by any passing traffic we failed to realize that the cops still made periodic runs through the school. Maybe we were too eager or too stoned but it never occurred to us we were far from the corner of the playground without our safety net. In hindsight the cops had to get to the corner of the playground somehow, and as we would shortly find out, they used the most logical path, straight through the parking lot.
“Just got my car back from the shop, cost me fifty bucks man. So what you guys been up to?” I always liked Monty so I answered him then gave him an offer, “Work mostly man. Keeping it real at the Nursing home, hanging at the beach when I’m off. But I was vacuuming the floor in the nurses office and noticed the medicine box unlocked. I five fingered a dozen Darvon man, got two with me now man, you want?” Monty accepted the two pills and placed them in his pocket as he slipped Jethro Tull’s Aqualung tape into his eight track. We had already passed the joint three times and I was flying, “Fuckin A Streak, where’d you get this shit man, its killer?” Streak took a deep hit answering without exhaling, “It…sss…we chair wee igha fra mahbaath Bobba” We all understood stoner speak, the language spoken while trying to keep your hit of weed in your lungs. He said “its wheelchair weed I got from my brother Bobby” Any weed that was super potent we called wheelchair weed, because after puffing it you felt like you couldn’t walk. The kept the car was full of smoke with the windows up because we didn’t like to waste the smoky sweetness and thought if it hung around it would continue to ply its magic on us. Mistake number two!
Streak took out his baggie of herb getting ready to roll another joint when we noticed two blaring white lights right in front of us bearing down like mini rockets. Because of the smoke we couldn’t tell it was a cop car sneaking up on us but in hindsight it wouldn’t have mattered if we did. The cops were on us within seconds so we reacted in typical stoner fashion. We totally froze trying to make sense of anything while wondering what the Hell was happening. After a few seconds we all three noticed two men running out from the two glaring lights. The message finally made its way past all the smoke and up to our brains so we instinctively began a frantic attempt to roll down the windows. Streak in a fit of panic tossed his baggie of weed with seeming super strength across the lawn. The doors of Monty’s car were flung open and the sight of two men in blue uniforms pointing actual guns at us made us damn near shit our pants. “Get the fuck out of the car and put your hands on the roof!” The voice was scarily authoritative and our “highs” were the only things that had a chance to run away. Now straight and shaking we obediently placed our hands on the roof of Monty’s car. “Hmmmm, smells like you boys are smoking some of that marry-wanna. You boys getting high here?” Desperate to find an excuse Streak replied weakly, “No, ah no, we were just, ah um, we were just talking and listening to music.” As he spoke we all saw the cloud of smoke rolling out of Monty’s Valiant making good on its attempt to completely discredit the story. One of the cops grabbed Streak by the arm and forcefully walked away with him. We could pretty much make out what the cop was saying, “You some kind of wise ass punk? You think we’re idiots?” I prayed Streak didn’t answer truthfully to that question because we considered the cops dopey drop outs. It was obvious he was really just trying to scare the shit out of us. Thinking back, he was pretty successful. The other three of us stood like petrified mannequins with our hands Velcroed to the roof as he pushed Streak back up against the car. Then the other cop came walking over holding something in his hands. He held up the baggie of weed Streak had tossed like it was a prize twelve point deer in a hunting contest, “Well lookie here Finch, seems we got us some Mary Jane here. Are you boys reefer addicts or something?” Then he walked around talking in his ‘I gotcha ya little fuckheads’ voice meant for us, “This here is what we call felony weight boys. Any of you young hoodlums know what felony weight is? I’ll tell you what it is, its over one quarter ounce of a controlled substance like this here bag of marijuana which raises this heinous crime from a misdemeanor to a felony. That means some hard time for whoever owns this shit and I aim to find out which one of you punks owns the dope!”
I was shivering like a naked beachcomber in January despite it being a beautiful warm summer evening. The cops took each one of us for a walk and talk and when returned put handcuffs on. Shit was getting real and I was no longer feeling any kind of buzz. That is aside from the paranoia buzzing in my ears. I was the last to go for the perilous perp walk and by this point they knew my brother was a cop. “Son your brother is gonna be real ashamed once he finds out what a low life criminal his hairbag little brother is. You putting him in a bad spot.” To accentuate the point the had been squeezing my bicep muscle between his thumb and forefinger like he was crushing a peanut shell. “You know what a felony is there Justin?” A million thoughts were flooding through my mind, jail, big bad strong criminals in jail, big bad strong horny criminals in jail, going to jail as fresh meat, and facing Mom and Dad. Jesus I was in deeper shit than ever before. I was hoping he was nicer than Mr. ‘Lookie what I got’ over there so I tried to sound remorseful as I pleaded, “Please officer, I’m not a bad kid, its just a little weed, we weren’t hurting anyone. Have a heart sir, I’m only sixteen and I” He cut me off as he now pinched my arm hard enough to cause a bruise. Apparently he wasn’t the nice cop, he was Mr. Meaner. Not fully satisfied at my wincing he then pushed me hard making me take a few steps to keep from falling on my stoned face. “Have a heart? You’re a cimm ee naal boy, you broke the law! This here is illegal and you did it anyway. Your brother is gonna get a lot of shit for having a felon for a brother. Tell you what though, since your brother is on the job I’ll cut you some slack. All you gotta do is tell me who’s stuff this is and we can work something out.” Shit! Jesus H shit! A rat. He wants me to be a rat. Well there’s no way man, I can’t turn on Streak. “I-I’m sorry officer, I never saw that baggie of weed, all we had was this one joint one of us found, I can’t even remember which of us….” The pain shot through my arm up into my shoulder. Now he was twisting and squeezing my arm pinching the bone as he literally tossed me back towards the car with the others. His voice was trembling he was so angry “Bunch of fucking idiots, all of you. I want to know who’s pot this is and you’re gonna tell me you little shits. Each one of you hairbags are going to jail.” They were rather well versed at intimidating four teenagers with bully tactics that fell just short of abuse in those pre I’m calling DYFS days. The one asshole cop, Mr. Meaner, who had a particular problem with me ruining my brothers cop reputation was eyeing me with evil intent. I saw him move his right foot and the moment his government issue hard leather flatfoot shoe found its target I yelped like a beaten puppy. I could tell there was already a huge lump as I fell to the ground in pain. My calf was throbbing as the other cop, Fitch or Finch or something grabbed both of my arms lifting me up. He flung me like a rag doll against the cop car. I could hear the slight clinking of metal as the criminal containment bracelets slipped around my wrists locking in place. The sharp pain of metal stunned me and I let out a gurgle. “Oh I’m sorry, is that too tight?” Finally some compassion, I nodded and managed a squeaky “A little”. With the ease of a man who more than likely has trouble in bed but found courage and a sense of real manhood wearing a badge of authority, the douchebag tightened the cuffs digging into the flesh at the outer edges of my wrists. Tears welled up in my eyes while they loaded us into the back seat of the police car and proceeded to escort us to the fourth precinct. Apparently what we had here was a failure to communicate.

High Crimes And Mister Meaner, A Tale Noir (part 2)

high crime

By J. T. Hilltop
The four of us were squeezed into the back seat having now had the first chance to actually see each others faces since the whole ordeal began. Every face was sullen, frightened, and slightly angered, as much at ourselves as our situation. Streak had a visible bruise on his temple, and Monty had a slight shiner of a black eye. The cops laughed and taunted us the entire fifteen minute ride in a misguided attempt to cheer us up, or maybe to make themselves feel superior and in control to compensate for any short comings they may possess. Fitch or Fatch or whatever tried to educate us in what life is like for a felon of our tender ages that get locked up in prison. He took a sadistic joy describing the details of the exact sexual activities we might be experiencing and his partner kicker cop just laughed. Their description of jail rape was frighteningly detailed down to a very expressive diatribe of the pain one feels as a new asshole gets torn in a more literal sense. I had little doubt they were feeling sexually aroused themselves just thinking about our fates, but even that couldn‘t cheer me up. Once we arrived at the precinct things seemed far too relaxed.
We arrived at police headquarters and were instantly separated into our very own personal interrogation rooms. Mine was a small room decorated in post modern minimalism with just a small table and a pair of folding chairs facing each other across the table. My fear impulse was pounding like a herniated migraine headache. I’d heard many stories about beatings with rubber hoses and hard punches using phonebooks so as not to leave any marks. I was hoping I had watched too many cop shows and movies and that shit like that didn’t happen in real life. But inside I knew that was being naïve. I stood there doing nothing as confused as a June bug in July. An idiot in handcuffs just standing still for what seemed to be a half hour. Finally a cop, a different one, came in my room. He walked behind me, removed my handcuffs and ordered me to sit down. He stunk of stale cigarette smoke mixed with too much English Leather cologne. He was much older than the cops who brought us in. I weighed the value of that, older and more paternal or cynically old and more adept at hiding interrogation bruises? “Justin Hilltop, possession of marijuana and distribution of controlled substance! I know your brother Randle. Worked with him a few times. He’s a good cop, a good man, why would you do this to him?” He stared at me condescendingly but I just cast my eyes downward. “It looks like we have a bit of a problem here Justin. I want to help you out here, keep your brother away from all this, but my partner hates drug users. Look son, someone here is guilty of a felony crime, and that somebody has to face the music. Its just a matter of time .We’ve talked to each of the other guys, Monty was caught with some pills and everyone swears you gave them to him. Not only that Justin, they also all claim that it was you that threw that bag of marijuana out the window. Your friends are willing to sell you down the river son. You say it isn’t yours but you see how looks don’t you? Your word against the word of three other kids. The brother of a police officer in position of felony weight marijuana. Not only are you screwing your brother, you may be heading off to Sing Sing.” What? No fucking way, they would never! My head was spinning with possibilities. Hope was melting like a mini marshmallow in a cup of hot cocoa. First business is the pills. I reckon I had to cop to that but its only two pills and I didn‘t sell them or anything, I’d think of a good lie for that, but the weed? Did all of them really say it was mine? That makes no sense. I sat in my chair dumbfounded. “Look Justin, here’s the deal. The other guys think because your brother is a cop you’ll get off easier. Personally I don’t think it was yours but someone has to go down and it looks the others chose you. Maybe we have an option though. Here’s what can happen. One, you admit its your marijuana and we book you, and off to jail you go. Case closed, you go to jail and your buddies go home. Two, you let us know who’s stuff it really was and we‘ll arrest him and see what we can do about getting you home, or three, I call your brother Randle and ask him to come in to the precinct and maybe you can tell him all about it. Know what? I need a smoke. I’m gonna go have one and give you a few moments to decide what your gonna do.” Without another word he got up leaving me alone in the room.
The first thing I noticed after he closed the door was a huge mirror on the wall. I had seen enough movies to know it was a two way mirror. Assuming I was being watched my survival mode kicked in and I went into acting gear, pacing the floor with what I hoped was a panicked look on my face. I pounded my hand and started talking to myself to enhance the performance. Starting of in a low unintelligible voice as if I were reasoning with myself I gradually began speaking louder and more clear so the cops could hear me. “I can’t believe those guys would say it was my stuff, why would they even do that. It wasn’t even ours. Oh man, oh Jesus shit man I’m in big trouble now. I did give Monty the pills but its not like I sold them or anything, I just gave em to him. Oh fuck man, the old man is gonna freakin kill me. I’m gonna get the beating of a lifetime, I’m as good as dead man, what am I gonna do?” I continued on like this for a few minutes before good cop came back in with his partner.
“Well Justin, we need to start talking the truth here son.” Before I could even respond the new cop, just as old and weathered with a battling cologne of perhaps Old Spice snarled at my direction, “Just lock his dirty hairy ass up in the back. Let old man Rheingold make friends with a nice young girl. Is that what you wanna be, a girl?” Now it was directly at me and his voice gained momentum, “Cause if you wanna be a girl with all that hair you’ll fit in real well in lock up, they love girly boys in there. And once they find out you‘re the brother of a cop thay’re gonna treat you extra special, maybe even give ya ass a sweet gang rape. You ready to spread your cheeks there ya smelly, dirty little hippie-shit pussy boy.” Wow! He was pushing every button on the intimidation elevator. Not especially articulate but playing bad cop a bit too well. I opted to give my attention to good cop, “Look I admit I gave the pills to Monty, but I swear to God I have no clue if anyone else had more pot than the joint we smoked. I wanna help, I really do, but I just don’t know where that bag of pot came from.” Good cop stared at me as bad cop began pacing and making harumph noises. Bad cop looked like he wanted to kick something, or someone. Good cop looked over at him, “Marty, wancha go check on old man Rheingold while I finish with Hilltop here.” Bad cop gave me a purposeful distained glare as he left the room slamming the door behind him. “ I told you my partner don’t like no drug users, he’ll be okay. Look Justin, here’s what’s gonna happen now. I’m gonna take your statement down about the pills, Martys gonna talk to your brother Randle, and then we will decide what to do with you from there. And that’s it, unless you have anything to add. Think hard about whether you got anything to say boy, I have no idea what the Sarge will choose to do with you. but I’ll tell ya one thing, he sure don’t like marijuana smokers.”
My head was spinning, so much going on. Before I knew it I was sitting at a desk with good cop who was asking questions and writing things down as I answered. “Okay Justin, what kind of pills did you sell Richard and where did you get them?” I was taken aback, “Wait, what? I didn’t sell them to Monty, er I mean Rich, I gave them to him!” I felt like I pleaded my case well but good cop was not feeling it. “Oh sorry Justin, I thought you knew. The law see’s no difference between giving and selling when it come to controlled substance. Its called distribution. It doesn’t matter whether you accepted money or not, legally you distributed illegal drugs. So lets start over, tell me where you bought the pills.”
I felt completely busted, they tricked me into confessing and I knew I had to give them something in order for them to back off about the baggie of weed. Thinking fast I came up with a story about an unattractive older woman who gave me the pills as a way of gaining my sexual friendship. They ate the story up believing they were on to a sexual predator. Or maybe they were getting off on it, but it worked. I’m not sure how long it took for them to give up searching for a heavy set dirty blond thirty something woman in Cold Spring Bay driving a Pontiac Firebird and surfing for young boys with a vial full of pills. Actually, thinking about it would really suck if anyone was hassled over my fable, but I had to do what I had to do. They finally relented on the marijuana charge, I thought I threw them but found out later that Streak admitted to owning the wicked weed. My brother came to the precinct to take me home which sucked, because it meant a long lecture and an extra few cc’s of disappointment guilt serum before going before the firing squad in my house. This too shall pass.
The legal part of the ordeal was over. Randle explained to me that my friend Jack (Streak) had admitted to owning the pot so Jimbo and Monty were released to our parents and I was given the added bonus of being released to my very angry older brother. I begged him not to say anything to Mom and Dad, trying the old it will kill them routine, and he told me to wait in the car as he went in to talk to them. It was a weak argument but I had to give it a try. When he called me inside I knew instantly he told them by the look on both my parents faces. They had somehow been able to register an array of emotions on their faces. Anger, disgust, profound disappointment, sadness, the feeling they failed as parents, the feeling their son is a drug addict, and more anger. I didn’t know it at the time, but once I became a parent I would possess the same super power of making a child feel like shit just by shape shifting the expression on my face.
As for the four of us delinquents, we got scoffed at by school mates for being idiots but also acquired a bit of street creds for being arrested. We avoided each other over the next few days, none of us knowing what the others went through, but once we finally did speak our tales were remarkably similar. The cops took us each aside and dangled the “everyone else told us it was yours” bait in front of us, and just as I assumed Monty and the rest sold me out for the pills, Streak was sure we had sold him out as well. In retrospect the cops were not as stupid as we thought them. We miscalculated believing them to be dim witted asshats but they fooled the shit straight out of all four of our pants to get to their “truth”. I was grounded for the remainder of my teen years which actually sounded fair, but I knew it wouldn’t last because they would grow tired of me constantly moping around complaining about where my friends were and what they were doing. I grew tediously disenchanted with television and snuck joints up in my room among other things to help pass my home incarceration sentence. All in all I learned a valuable set of lessons. One, always have an escape route when getting high, two, if a level headed member of the group suggests a place to be unsafe hear him out, and three, if ever again I get pulled into the station for a crime, remember that the cops are smarter than they look, they lie their faces off, and cannot be trusted about anything. Oh yea, one more thing, always keep a stash of something hidden in your room in case you ever get grounded for life.
Epilogue

In the end no real harm was done other than our parents finding out we smoked pot and Streak having to get a lawyer to go to court. Streak received an ACOD, adjourned in contemplation of dismissal, meaning if he got in no trouble for six months the charge and conviction were stricken from the records. Streak never really treated me or Monty the same, even after hearing that the cops tricked us by telling each of us the same thing about everyone else saying it was ours. I think he always had doubts. Jimbo and Streak however remained close friends, maybe Jimbo’s sound mind quality made him more believable. Time passed and life continued to happen. Jimbo and Streak eventually cut off all ties with me but I was leaving town soon anyway so I lost contact with pretty much all of my Centerlawn friends. Even now in the Facebook reunion age Jimbo wants no correspondence with me which is fine, some parts of our pasts are best left behind and forgotten. As for Monty, I went my way, Monty went his, I have no idea where or how he is but we parted as friends. I am certain of one thing though, if I were to somehow get in touch with Monty he and I would get a big laugh reminiscing over this tale and other assorted teen age escapapades we shared. Monty and I remained friends even after our being memorialized in the Long Islander newspaper Police Blotter section. Not like BFF best friends maybe but a friendship that traveled beyond schoolmate acquaintances. A friendship unchanged. As I stated, the bust have a lasting effect on the shattered friendships of my other two compadres. Once childhood friends now a casual friendship built on distrust and tension. Jimbo remained the sound voice, forging his life as one of Centerlawn’s upstanding citizens to this day and by all accounts he’s happy, but as I understand it Streak found himself on the wrong side of the law later in life in a much more serious capacity. I think about three of those compadres every now and again, and especially the night our heinous disregard for law and order altered our relationships. One night, one incident can have a ripple effect on our universal existences, turn friends into acquaintances, but in the end we really only need to answer to ourselves. As for me, well I continued my evil pot smoking ways for a long time to come, had my own minor brushes with the law, but in the end if its true that a persons measure is in their deeds and character, then I’m okay with myself. My deeds, counseling of youths, and assistance to others in need far outweighs all of my minor mistakes. Life is not always easy and all four of us had our share of dark times, but then again, sometimes you need to feel around in the dark for a while in order to appreciate the light. Peace