The Gang’s All Here

by

Alright, look. If you, the reader, and I, the writer, of this “blog” are in fact going to “get along,” it is imperative that you know something about me. Something deeply telling of my personality and my life, that could literally make or break our reader-to-writer relationship. I, Rod Jenson, absolutely love Chinese food.

I don’t even love authentic, straight-from-China, Chinese food. I mean, that stuff is good too. I’ve had some here and there and let me tell you, it is some good food. Try some the next time you find yourself in a position to do so, because it’s not very often you get that chance, unless you happen to live in China. And who the fuck wants to live in China? I mean, this blog is probably already blocked by their government by now. Shit, all of WordPress is probably blocked by now.

But no, the Chinese food that I love so dearly is in fact the type of Chinese food you get from those little half fast-food, half legitimate “restaurant” style places, that are in the corner of the food court, next to the Togo’s and the Mongolian grill. One in particular, called Golden Chopsticks, has always tickled my taste buds, and is probably responsible for about one third of my body weight today. I go in there at least once a week, usually on Saturday’s, and lemme tell you, it’s fucking good food. Alas, there is one small problem with this restaurant. Well, not so much a problem, as it is a peculiarity. The place is fucking weird.

The inside of the store itself is actually very nice. Well organized, clean, and simple, it is the epitome of easy “get in, get out” fast food. It is for these and many more reasons that I have to wonder why, whenever I walk into this restaurant, be it noon, 5 in the morning, 8 at night, any time of the day, the place is fucking empty! Everybody I know, knows that Golden Chopsticks is a marvelous eating establishment, and yet to this day I have never seen one of them ever set foot into that fucking restaurant. I’ve never seen anybody in that restaurant before I get there. Sometimes I walk in and the employees aren’t even there. The money I’ve taken from the register in such situations is also probably responsible for about a third of the aforementioned weight that the restaurant accounts for in my overall body mass.

Now, the restaurant does not stay empty, not by any means. Usually right after I have placed my order and, as is the custom in this place, immediately received my meal, people start to walk in. Slowly at first, eventually building up to a rate the store can barely accommodate. Initially, an old, forty-something, born again Christian woman will walk into the store, and after very slowly and agonizingly ordering a plate of fat-free food (from a place that specializes in individually frying every grain of rice by hand), she sits down to her meal. Oddly enough, she then grabs the chili sauce bottle on the edge of the table, and begins dousing her food in what is essentially a liquefied heart attack. This is exactly what is weird about this place. The people.

Walking into a McDonald’s, you may find a screaming child or two; you may find a redneck, or even something very out of the ordinary like a firefighter or an astronaut. Meanwhile, at the Chinese place, a pirate with two wooden legs has just stumbled in the door, and is using the support of the tables to move him along the tile floor without slipping. As he struggles to keep his balance, the parrot on his shoulder lets out a squawk and flies over to peck at the forty-something woman’s head. Rather than become annoyed, she takes no notice, instead realizing that the nozzle on her chili sauce bottle is hindering the progress of the chili sauce mountain currently residing atop her side of kung pao chicken. She unscrews the nozzle and continues to pour chili sauce, now through the well-sized hole in the top of the bottle that the nozzle formerly sat upon.

While your adventures at Jack-in-the-Box (or Sonic Burger, for those of you unfortunate east-coasters who don’t possess the privilege of having your very own neighborhood Jack-in-the-Box) have amounted to Bimbo the Clown walking in, squeaky shoes and all, and calmly ordering a Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger with a side salad, I’m sitting over at the Golden Chopsticks, surrounded by the entire fucking rest of the circus, who apparently decided to kick Bimbo out of the clown car a few blocks down the road because he was making racist jokes. As the pirate sits down, ever so carefully due to his wooden appendages, a circus man sits across from him, asking him to pick a card. Glancing past their dull game of solitaire, I notice that the woman in the corner of the restaurant has abandoned her kung pao chicken altogether, and has taken to pouring the chili sauce on her face and body, savoring every last drop of the scalding liquid spices. That is weird. Bimbo’s preference for a delicious sandwich at a famous west-coast restaurant is not.

So the next time you’re sitting in your cozy, normal, fast-food place, and take note at the peculiarity of the sweaty construction worker team that strolled so calmly in, think of me, sitting in the Chinese food place. Because, unknown to you, the same construction workers forgot to put the parking break on their dumptruck, and it is now rolling down the hill, about to crash into the Golden Chopsticks. Peaking through the rubble of the collision, I can see that the pirate, severely weirded out by this point, is crawling back to the parking lot, terrified. It also looks like he’s going to need a wooden right arm to replace the one he just lost in the dumptruck accident. He’ll be back next week.

By this point, fire woman over here is naked, rolling around in a puddle of fucking chili sauce created by all of the bottles having broken during the crash. It was only a matter of time before she would have done it herself. The circus people are busy trying to find a way to all fit into the dumptruck (you’d think they’d be able to, having just come out of that toy car that the truck flattened upon entry). At a time like this, the only thing left to do is to casually step by and snatch sauce-girl’s untouched plate of Chinese food, and walk out the door. Next time, I’m going to fucking Jack-in-the-Box.

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