I’ve enjoyed writing for many years. I'm dedicating more time to the craft in my retirement days.
A Brunch in Nawlins
“Leggo my Eggo,” I said.
She hit right back like she’d been prepared, waiting for the joust to begin. She raised her right hand, extended her pinky. She easily could have been one of those stuffy, pretentious rich folks who’d just used a sterling silver knife and spoon to place a dollop of Grey Poupon on their plate. I could picture her in the back seat of the Rolls Royce as it wheeled along the byways of a peaceful green British countryside.
“I demand you release from your clutches my blini!”
She yelled so suddenly and forcefully it startled me, and I at first gave her a blank, uncomprehending look. Then after a second or two, we both broke into hysterical laughter. We laughed and laughed a good long while, then toasted with our long-stem water glasses and started to dig into a feast of waffles with fruit, pancakes and maple syrup, and blinis topped with caviar and smoked salmon.
“Happy Fat Tuesday!”
“Cheers to you, to Carnival and to Mardi Gras!”
“No, no! Cheers to you and Pancake Day!”
“A toast to Shrove Tuesday, my love!”
We clinked glasses, sipped the icy water together while staring into one another’s eyes, only looking away when it was time to place the drinks back on the table. Then we began our feast in earnest, knives and forks clashing, slicing, grabbing, hoisting, relishing.
I chewed slowly, making exaggerated mouth movements as I savored a bite of strawberries, whipped cream and waffle. “Mmmmm.”
“Delicious, no?” She spoke the words with a foreign accent that was so affected, so really-not-good, that I opened my eyes and burst into laughter, raspberrying water all the way across the table in her direction. Most of it impacted the vee of bare skin showing just above her collar, then rolled its way down and into the front of her white cotton shirt.
Now it was her turn for the confused look, the protracted timeline of comprehension. She looked down at her chest, up at me. Then down again. Then up at me.
The moment seemed to unfold like a video on one-frame-at-a-time speed. Finally, after who-knows-how-many long, painful ticks of the second hand, I could see a small curl beginning to form in the corner of her mouth.
Oh, please, please, please…please be a smile. Oh, God, please give me this one little thing, will ya? I’ll do whatever you ask, really. Oh…I know! I’ve got it! I promise I won’t sneak over to Wienerschnitzel for a hot dog during lent. How’s that? Will that work? Come on, God! Hook a brother up, here, will ya!?
Just when I thought I read that little mouth curl right, when I was sure God had heard me, had accepted our bargain and intervened on my behalf, as I was preparing myself to laugh out loud once again and right along with her…just at that moment…the curl of her lip turned south. Not only that, but her eyebrows made an exaggerated cartoon-character vee, too. The symmetry with her shirt collar was intriguing, but the look itself was frightening. It made me think of the tiny spits of water and spews of steam immediately preceding an Old Faithful eruption in Yellowstone.
Without a word, she grabbed the white cloth napkin from her lap, threw it down into the center of the table. She then stood up, spun on her left heel and stormed away toward the restaurant exit with quick, angry-looking strides. I raised a hand and index finger after her, opened my mouth to speak, then thought better of it and lowered my hand to my lap.
Just then I looked around the dining area and noticed that nearly all the other adult patrons were watching me. Some were shaking their heads as if in judgment, others were leaning in to whisper to their table mates. I raised my hand again—this time toward the waiter—and called for the check.
When I stepped out of the restaurant, I was approached immediately by a young man trying to sell the last of his green, blue, silver and purple bead necklaces. “No. No. I’m good. ‘Preciate the offer, though.” I waved him away, pulled up my collar and started walking down the sidewalk to nowhere in particular.
Maybe I should check out the scene, the scenery, the debauchery on Bourbon Street before I fly out of here in the morning.
I looked down at my feet as I walked along, rounded the corner onto Bourbon Street. In all the wild hustle bustle, I didn’t immediately realize I was being hollered at from behind.
“Hey there. Pardon me. Hello!? Excuse me!” I was certain I recognized the voice, knew its owner, but was somewhat bewildered by the terrible fake British accent.
I stopped, turned around, and there she was. The vee in her brow was gone, as was the vee in her shirt collar. She’d gone back to the hotel to change, apparently. She smiled, all bright white teeth and upturned mouth corners.
“Would you have any Grey Poupon?” She folded her hands in front of her, looked down, swayed from side to side. When she finally looked back up at me, she batted her eyelashes exaggeratedly and repeatedly.
I smiled, laughed and turned slightly, offering up an elbow for her to grab onto.
“But of course, milady. Shall we?” She took hold of my arm, wrapped both hands around my bicep. As we strolled through the throngs of people dressed in Mardi Gras attire, I looked up into the cloudy mid-morning sky.
Hey, God? Look…about that Wienerschnitzel thing…
© 2021 greg cain