I left the Allways Lounge a bit famished, having not supped since luncheon some nine hours prior. On the ten block walk back to the structure I call my demesnes, there are a number of comestible options to choose from, that with the most propinquity being a venerable late-night establishment called Rally's. I'm no chicken; I crossed the road. And I waited at the outside window, said institution not having a proper dining room.
There were a couple people standing about awaiting their order, I presumed. My presumption proved correct when the scullery maid slid open the window and fairly barked at a girl standing near, "Wotchoo order? A Oreo smoovie?"
The girl nodded. The wench retreated back into the bowels of the restaurant to begin smoovifying some Oreos, never mind the new prospective customer (your humble narrator) waiting patiently at the window to deliver his order.
When she had finished her machinations, she slid open the window again and handed the prize to the lady in waiting. "Uh, there's no damn Oreos on this," she rolled her eyes at the harried serf. The frosty cocktail disappeared back into the aforementioned bowels and more ministrations were thrust upon it. Your servant, this humble narrator, once again went not only neglected, but unacknowledged—a most perplexing existential crisis suggested itself!
Meanwhile, another worthy employee flung open a side door holding a paper bag and a chalice of Sweet Tea. He approached the other gentleman waiting for his order with this chilling confession: "You got da burger with da Swiss? Here. Them muthafuckas be SLOW! Bitches be ruinin' my night! I'm OUT, y'hurd?" The worthy, having delivered the required répas, stormed off into the night, throwing his name tag into the sewer, illustrating further his displeasure with the situation he had just departed.
The scullery maid continued to busy herself endlessly over the Smoovée d'Oreo, finally finished, delivered the treat, then began a jaunty chaw with another kitchen hand. Oh! what laughs they shared in the kitchen as yours every so truly and patiently continued to stand in the window, awaiting acknowledgement of my existence, said existence rapidly becoming more elusive and transparent even to my own self.
Another couple of hopeful hungries had queued up behind me in the last ten minutes. I turned to the closest and opined, "Fuck this fucking ghetto shit," and bemade my way down the beavenue on the route behome.
Appetite in no way sated, I espied the nearest option on my path. The Château du Donald's. As I veered towards the establishment, to my ears came the acrimonious wafts of controversy.
"Muthafucka, you want a PIECE!?" Two fellows seemed, as the plebeians say, "at it" in the parking lot. Nothing spoils an appetite like bloodshed, so I crossed the street towards the delicatessen yclept "Subway", which beaconed warmly with its OPEN sign gleaming in the night like a siren to a sailor.
As I neared the eatery, I bethought to myself, "Wouldn't it be perfect, given the results of my last two attempts at sustenance, if, at 9:37pm, a totally random time, the OPEN sign suddenly went off?"
I approached the edifice and placed my hand upon the door. It was at that precise moment the OPEN sign, erstwhile the light at the end of my hungry, hungry tunnel, winked out to darkness, and a becostumed wench on the other side of the door turned the lock and waggled her finger at me, à la the Delta Airlines 'No Smoking' Lady.
A rare moment of religion crossed my mind as I once again realized that such events as I had witnessed in the last eight minutes did in fact prove the existence of Intelligent Design, and I was the butt of this petty, bored god's joke. I sallied forth to the next dining option, a ghetto corner store with a late night deli. I had little hope of exiting the place alive, not to mention with a meal, but the absurdity of the evening bade me thither, and posthaste!
I walked up to the kibble kounter to witness a client giving instructions as to how she would like her sandwich prepared. In a meth-rattled screech, she bade the sandwich lady to, "Put mo' mah-naize on dat shit! Nah! Now dere be too much! Take summa dat shit off!"
To her credit, the poor charwoman followed these conflicting instructions without a grumble, delivered the result to the harridan, and turned to me. I was relieved, I do not mind confessing, that she could even perceive my presence, for I was still afraid of the weft and warp of my very corporeal fabric after such lengthy neglect from my sweet Rally's wench. I do exist! I thought triumphantly.
I bestowed my order of a hot sausage po' boy to the good lady and she was on it like a rabbit on … another rabbit. Such was her vigilance that when a stoopèd and grizzled mountebank approached the counter and began barking orders at her, she replied in not-too-broken English, "I make something else. You wait your turn." She was my unlikely champion, and I mused over the apparent success of my quest in such a base establishment, after such failures at the more 'respectable' eateries I had tried.
As I waited for my coveted po' boy, the next customer approached – a woman with an elaborate up-do-rag, neon Spandex culottes, flip-flop footwear encrusted by the lapidist Swarovski, and an in-no-way-matching neon midriff blouse belying the fact that the woman was, as the saying goes, 'in trouble.'
'In trouble again' should have been the saying, as a toddler freshly sprung from the bun oven three years ago clung to its matriarch's leg like dryer lint, whimpering almost inaudibly, but incessantly. It was occasionally favored with a brisk smack to the Fontanelle by its mother. Quelle tendresse, thought I.
"Gimme dat chicken!" demanded the churlish figure, poking the Plexiglass barrier with knock-off designer sunglasses as she motioned towards the fowl that entranced her.
"You wait. I help another," replied my angel behind the counter.
"Fuck dis shit," rejoined the breeding thing as she stormed down the chip aisle grabbing snacks hither and, yes, even thither.
My po' boy assembled, I happily made my way to the cashier, only to find the neon-beclad woman already at the station, handing money over to the proprietor and beckoning to her progeny gently with, "GITCHO ass over here 'fore I SLAP you!"
I paid my po' boy tithe and made my hasty exeunt, exalted, sobered, a wiser and sadder man.
That which does not kill us gives us po' boys.
Another few blocks towards my Shangri-La, I came across my old friend from Rally's, he who had ceremoniously discarded his very identity into the gutter with a gutterish roar. He was sitting on someone's steps, barking into a cellular device, "Bitch! Pick me up! Ho! Bitch! Bitch-ho! Pick me UP!"
My eavesdropping did nothing to further my wisdom, though my sadness was duly augmented.
I made my way home and munched my po' boy with desultory gloom.
It was a delicious sandwich, by the way.