I got to quit settin' myself up for a disaster.
Alright, so I was down at T.G.I. Friday's, and that ain't normally a hang for me, but I was needin' some fried artichoke hearts in a bad way, and ain't nothin' better to go with some artichoke hearts and ranch dip than some sweet-ass rum and Cokes. Yeah — that drink totally cuts through the lingering fry taste, and hella cleanses up the palate for the next bite. Scientists call it symbiosis.
It was around eleven-thirty, and it was pretty much all families and kid birthday parties in there, but I had a little booth to myself in the back corner and was able to read my USA Today in peace. The hearts showed up, with my rum and Coke, and I was poised. I had my fork in my hand. I hit the hearts, still sizzlin', with a dash of salt and squeezed a little lemon into the ranch. I flattened out an article about some kid in Ohio who's the national sit-up champ, so I could read it with no hands. I sunk the fork into the tender, crispy heart, wiggled it just so perfectly in the sauce, and raised it to my mouth.
Some damn guy was standing there drawing my picture! He had on this Uncle Sam top hat, and a checkered tailcoat, and a big goofy necktie that was like eleven inches wide. I told him to cut it out, didn't he see it wasn't my birthday and that I wasn't five, and that I had a rum and Coke, but then he spun some bummer rap on me. He looked over his shoulder to see that the manager wasn't around, then said all these sad things about needing to raise money to finish art school and he had no rent money and even some stuff about his mom recently having passed. Just to get Whiney Dan outta my face I stuck a ten-spot in his coat pocket (still sewn shut, of course, so I had to just drop it onto his clipboard) and awkwardly ate my hearts in silence as he finished the portrait. Man, I had to strangle every damn bite down my throat, what with this kid obviously starin' at my face, knowing that he had just bared his (possibly fake) soul to me and I was sitting there eating a salty little treat and having a cocktail. It was real uncomfortable — I don't even think I tasted the food.
When he was done he handed me the sketch, which was actually pretty decent — although he made my nose way too big — and said that he worked for tips. That kind of pissed me off so I pointed out that the ten-spot had been his tip, and he just walked away. Just walked away. Jesus, kid, you're gonna get exactly nowhere bein' a cock to people who just gave you ten dollars to draw them with a nose the size of a baseball.
I already had bad memories of the drawing, so I looked around at all that knicknack crap they got on the walls at TGI Friday's, and found a framed picture of Annie Oakley that seemed about the right size. I tore it outta the wall (no small feat considering all the screws they use to hold their stuff down), inserted my picture, then worked it back into its original mounting place. I stuck the picture of Annie Oakley (cut outta some elementary school history book, can you believe it?!) to the gum on the bottom of the table, dropped some cash, and dodged. Don't you hate it when something as simple as a lame guy ruins something for you?
Man, I bet that guy didn't even work there. I bet he has a thing where he tells the manager he was hired by one of the eighty-five birthday parties goin' on. Not like a manager at T.G.I. Friday's cares about anything other than going home, doing crank and watching The Terminator DVD on 4X speed, mind you, but still.
Anyhow, the upshot is that I'm gonna get a recipe about making fried artichoke hearts at home, and I already know how to make rum and Cokes, and I'm gonna hire Téodor to draw my caricature while singing O sole mio. He may want to use Adobe Illustrator on his laptop, which is fine with me, so long as he's singin'.