Lest you think there is any substance to the mud being slung your way, allow me to put your minds at ease: to sleep is more like it; this stuff is awful.
Rye Whiskey, I Cry
Unfazed by my futile efforts-thus far-to procure that which I sought, at least five gallons of extra-hot coffee, I was now sprinting full speed ahead, or so my feet tried to convince me.
Did I say five gallons? What I meant was I was searching for a cup of hot coffee of any size, and any flavor but that hideous vanilla swill. I like mine with half-and-half, and I was willing to go to any lengths to find it.
Sprinting may be putting it a little more wishfully than it actually was, but inside my head, you must realize the hamsters were getting antsy.
|Nate (aka The Bull) and Casey|
“Cup of coffee, rye whiskey,
Rye whiskey, I cry!
If I don’t get a cup of coffee,
I think I shall die.”
The words rang out across the dusty plain, or at least they would have, if I had thought it would have helped. Once again I approached Checkpoint Charlie, and presented my papers.
One of the guards examined my wristband closely and then authorized my passage. The volunteer in question was wearing a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball cap, and it stopped me in my tracks.
“Are you really a Pirates fan?” I asked sympathetically.
Automatically, he responded, “Yeah, I’m a Pirates fan.”
If he were surprised by the question, he didn’t show it. Probably more dramatically than required, I lifted the front of my tanker to reveal my San Francisco Giants Phanny Pack.
Hopelessly mired thirty years behind the rest of our culture in terms of style, I had glommed onto this outdated conveyance as a solution for my failure to get more than six months (or 10,000 photos) out of a camera.
Though unfortunate, my dropping of the second camera I owned (like the Titanic-on its maiden voyage) into a creek bed, forced me to adapt a new strategy for trying to get some longevity out of one of my wonder boxes.
The first model I had simply made a mockery of, carting it around in any pocket of any article of clothing I was wearing, blissfully ignoring the fact that dirt, sand, food, rice hulls, straw, cannabis, lint and whatever else is hitching a ride in my pockets, are not specifically conducive to happy cameras.
Now I was on my fourth. It’s a good thing that Wal-Mart seems to have plenty.
Addressing Long John Silver, I commented, “I guess you realize you are in the home of the Giants. Who’d a thunk a shortstop would hit the first grand slam in Major League Baseball postseason history?”
He snorted and shook his head, but even as he did so, he said, “What can I say? 2014 was an even year,” and left it at that.
My reference to Brandon Crawford’s epic blast on October 1st, 2014, marked the occasion of the Giants’ victory in the one-game WildCard showdown, leading eventually to the third world championship in five years for San Francisco.
I hit the clutch myself, and shifted once more into high gear, making serious moves down the stretch to the reggae gas station, on the lookout for slow-moving Rastafarians.
Heart racing faster than it did when the helicopter landed that one time, I charged up to the front door, and almost went through it before I realized that the doors were still locked.
I broke down and cried like a baby.
OK. I just felt like crying, but being the mature paragon of grace under pressure that I am, I simply nodded in quiet acceptance of my fate, one worse than perpetual damnation to the fires of hell, and sprinted off.
Preposterous! Nay, absurd! The unmitigated gall of some business owners!
These thoughts stampeded through my [impaired] mind in random fashion, along with thoughts of chaos and general mayhem, as I tried to lasso them back into the corral.
It was a futile gesture at best, a last gasp at worst.
There was no alternative: It was Melody’s Kitchen, or bust.
[Emphatic note to self: The word “bust?” Puh-lease.]
Normally, a ten-twelve minute walk at best, I got there in no time by commandeering a side-by-side at gunpoint, and forcing the driver to take me to the kitchen.
I’m lying, obviously. Would you believe I crawled under a water-delivery truck and hung onto an axel, grittily, I might add, and allowed myself to be dragged along until I reached the point where I could release my grip?
OK, that is a bit out there too.
How ‘bout I simply hoofed it over there as fast as my OSHA-approved, steel-toed, unfastened sandals could get me?
And while you are still digesting that morsel, would you believe after all of the drama, I did not even partake in Melody’s kitchen’s fine brew?
As I barreled down the stretch, the finish-line clearly framed within my steely gaze, I ran into a tightly-stretched cable across the main road, which effectively stopped me in my tracks, albeit, flat on my back.
Forward momentum, you know.
There on the RIGHT side of the road, a direction with which I have little familiarity, was a beacon of unfettered joy, a welcoming ray of sunlight. The sign said, “Lattes.”
There were many other informative words on the sign, words that I might under different circumstances have actually read, but there was no need for such extremes at this crucial juncture in time or space. The facts, good Sir, just the facts.
One latte in my hand was worth my undying loyalty for at least fifteen minutes.
Then I was struck by a heinous thought. Picking myself up off the ground, I wondered aloud just how much of a king’s ransom would be demanded in exchange for that which allows life to continue.
Can you put a price tag on happiness?
Five dollars, it seems, was the price of happiness this fine morning, and oh yeah, a buck for the tip.
Tomorrow: [Could you draw in here a little closer?] War Admiral in the fifth, at Belmont. You didn’t get that from me.