The Preacher's Robe is Full of Meatballs (9/26/2002)
Spaghetti sauce on my plate, with noodles I ordered from church. A rotund, balding man approaches and says, "Would like like some fresh ground pepper?" He opens his robe to reveal lemongrass and other condiments. He leans over and pours me some tea, revealing himself gradually.
I do not admire a man with no shame. So, I leave no tip but a note carefully scrawled on a napkin: Meet me at the wharf, monsieur. As I leave he gives chase.
"But I am not French," calls he.
"Nevertheless, you may come."
The next day, I pack cement carefully into a silver heart-shaped box.. What will become of this? Wonder is better left to the imagination of a Catholic waiter at a Catholic diner, making extra tips to buy extra candles to burn to save an extra soul.
Later, as planned, we meet near the docks, and I give him the silver box. He returns a knowing grin and nods, then turns to the great, green mass. He quickly runs to the water's edge and pivots slightly as he launches himself into the air. I expected such. I did not expect his arms to stretch out perpendicular to his body.
"Save me," he cries to the heavens, choking on these last few words. I stand, waiting to see if anything happens. Nobody is saving him, and I certainly am not.
I'd rather stand here with my hands in my pockets, crumpling my dining receipt.