Good Morning Shadows of Anatine,
“I came from a real tough neighborhood. Once a guy pulled a knife on me. I knew he wasn’t a professional, the knife had butter on it.” ― Rodney Dangerfield
Just JOE’s birthday was celebrated by me and my sons who euphemistically refer to him as “Uncle Joe” which seems to be fine with our beloved associate. We treated JJ to an evening of gluttony and drink at ‘Steak 10’ one of his favorite dining experiences. Everyone working there knows Joe as he’s a frequent patron and is always generous and quick to compliment endearing him to the wait staff.
We were seated in George’s section which was much to JJ’s liking because George is his favorite waiter. This symbiotic relationship is founded upon Ouzo which George likes to deliver regularly throughout the meal and in Greek fashion lead us in a loud “OOOOPPAAA!” Ouzo is particularly nasty and foul tasting; rarely sipped and done as a shooter.
George knowing it was JJ’s birthday was more attentive than usual keeping the licorice swill flowing at a rapid pace and judging from my own besotted perspective, was quickly overwhelming the very fine Pinot Noir I had ordered.
Unlike their drunken father, my sons no longer drink like frat-boys and began passing the shots of Ouzo to JJ who pounded them down like he was in a contest! As usual the steaks and lobster bisque were excellent so the evening continued with increasing decibel levels clearly indicating everyone was having a good time. That said though, the adjacent table was occupied by a young couple and what I assumed to be the parents of one of them. They didn’t appear to be enjoying our revelry.
JJ eventually dominated the conversation and was hell bent on sharing the accounting of his recent trip to the Southeast. Evidently and much removed from JJ’s normal behavior, he had met a sturdy looking woman named Pricilla. According to JJ she is a bartender in Ashville, NC and greatly enjoys whips and leather. This intrigued our boy to the point of meeting her after her shift.
The anecdote had us spellbound! This encouraged JJ to the point he was nearly screaming the story in great detail. “I have to tell you guys her tits barely fit in the black leather holster and eventually bounced out of containment while whipping my bare ass!” This was the last straw for the group next to us and asked to be reseated.
The only available seating was upstairs in the ‘Alibi Room’ but they gratefully accepted the offer and made the sojourn upstairs. We all snickered and chortled at the situation as the wait-staff quickly removed the plates and glasses transferring it all to the ‘Alibi Room.’ I looked at Joe to see his reaction and was surprised to see he was not amused. Instead tears welled up in his eyes, his lower lip pouting and quivering; obviously troubled by this turn of events.
“What’s wrong Joe?” I inquired. “I ruined their evening” JJ bemoaned, “I need to go upstairs and apologize to those good people,” and with that finished off his last round of Ouzo. He wiped his chin and made his way to the stairs. My sons tried to tell him no harm was done and to sit down to finish his meal, but he would have none of it. So we finished the last morsels and noshed on bread while awaiting Joe’s descent.
We didn’t have to wait too long. There was an explosion of broken glass mixed with bellowing expletives and a final thud as JJ fell down the stairs landing on his back facing the ceiling. Rushing over to his side my Fireman son quickly assessed the damage and determined JJ had broken his leg.
It took my boys along with the Paramedics to lift him onto the gurney but was struck by JJ’s last words before exiting the restaurant. He said, “Remind me to finish the story about Pricilla….you should see what she can do with the whip handle…” Jeez