Of Good Times and Swollen Bellies  

Last week got off to a pretty rough start, but was otherwise really good. Whether that has any correlation with me also having a guilt- and blog-free week is hardly worth consideration. How about we just say that after 30 days of assaulting you with pink tacos and me sounding/looking like a woman, everyone needed a break. That and the ten days of inactivity were necessary to get me off the first page of Google results for "Bigfoot in drag."

Over the weekend I was fortunate enough to spend some time with an old friend of mine. One of those special kind of old friends that -- even though your paths only cross annually -- little changes in your dynamic. The conversations are the same as they were when you lived together over a decade ago, laughs remain shared, and you are yet again reminded of their seemingly unnatural ability when it comes to coercing an excessive amount of controlled substances into you.

Is it me or did I just make my old friend sound sort of like a gay frat boy date rapist? Whatever you're thinking right now, rest assured that only two of those three things accurately describe him.

As is inevitable when hanging out with someone you've known so well for so long, stories come up, tales are told. One in particular that always seems to resurface between us, however, isn't even about the two of us. Rather it was a somewhat sordid happening that involved me and his brother, who we'll call Paul because, well, that's his name. It all went down at a little restaurant in Portland's Chinatown call The Golden Dragon, where the portion sizes are in wonderful contrast to the modest prices.

It's late in the evening, JAY and PAUL are sitting at a large table in the middle of a cluster of fully-occupied large tables, apparently management's way of consolidating service towards the end of the night. Even though the other tables are all filled with parties of 5 or 6, JAY and PAUL's table has quite obviously gone through as much food as everyone else. They are growing boys after all.

JAY: So. Full... It's not even the funny kind of pain anymore.

PAUL: No. We must finish.

JAY: (nodding in agreement) We have indeed come too far to turn back.

Over the next 10 minutes, they both finish in silence. There's now no mistaking the pained look on their faces as any form of enjoyment whatsoever. Between labored breaths, JAY manages to call for the check. He pays and leaves a cash tip on top of the ticket.

JAY: We outta here?

PAUL: Hang on a sec.

PAUL, in a very matter-of-fact manner, makes his hand into a fist and places it over his mouth as if to cough. Instead, he leans forward and through said hand, unleashes hell in a raging torrent of sick all over the table. You know how a clown will pull that never-ending handkerchief from his hand and we're supposed to believe it somehow emanated from inside of him? Yeah, it was a lot like that.

JAY: (halfway through PAUL's display) Dear God man.

JAY and PAUL are treated to the sound of forks hitting tables all around them, a tinkling stereophonic indicator of the restaurant's collective disgust.

PAUL: (finally done) blrglefrumba... ugh... too much...

JAY: Are you okay?

PAUL: Not even close.

JAY: You hit the bathroom; I'll grab your shit and meet you out front.

At this point, a young woman has been promptly dispatched to deal with the mess that has covered literally everything on the table. The floral arrangement, sugar packets, salt & pepper shakers, soy sauce, and so on. She tries to wipe the mess from the table into her bus bin as expeditiously as possible, all the while retching into it herself. JAY watches this for a few seconds before reaching into PAUL's jacket, removing the last $20 from his billfold, and handing it over to the young busgirl along with the money he had previously laid down for the server's tip. He reasons that a few polite words would have been of even less help to the situation.

JAY is waiting outside for PAUL, who at last emerges from the restaurant.

JAY: That was horrible. You scarred the busgirl for life.

PAUL: I guess everybody has their breaking point.

JAY: Seriously, I've never seen someone get sick in such outstanding volume.

PAUL: Maybe it was food poisoning?

JAY: Did I ever tell you about the time I saw Shamu throw up at Sea World? You beat that. Handily.

PAUL: Not to mention all the bonus trauma I just inflicted on the children in there.

JAY: And we mustn't forget the busgirl who will no longer be able to enjoy her native cuisine after seeing what it looks like spilled from the gut of an old man.

PAUL: Too bad I won't have the chance to apologize, since I can clearly never step foot in there again.

JAY: Clearly.

JAY and PAUL proceed up the street to Voodoo Doughnut, as PAUL is hungry all over again, and JAY ends up having to pay because something mysterious happened to PAUL's last $20.

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