A SELF-SERVING FABLE, FOLLOWED BY DINNER
She loathed and despised the men who sat on the bus with their legs apart. What were they doing, airing their balls? It seemed so dreadfully uncouth, so ill-mannered. When she sat opposite them, it was like they were thrusting their packet upwards, as if to say "here, admire it, bitch".
In another world, she'd smash 'it' with a well-aimed slam of her backpack. Pity she always forgot to add the rocks. Oh well. Those things were heavy.
Instead, she opened the bag from the fish mongers and pointed the lobster in the direction of the offending male, and whispered "snip snip".
Again, "snip snip". There was a hopefulness to her voice
The crustacean waved its claws enthusiastically. Maybe it -- she, probably a female -- was also repulsed by mister Cod Lumps over there.
She contemplated removing the rubber bands.
Mister Cod Lumps reposed in oblivion. His eyes were glassy, and a pudgy thumb lazily scrolled through his e-mails on his electronic pacifier, a sleepy wart hog.
He resembled nothing so much as a blob.
Probably worked at a start-up.
A long day surrounded by programmers made her wish that she could set some of the office yobbos against rapacious outer-space fighters.
Venky against Predator, Gunther facing Alien.
The contests would prove amusing.
Short. But very amusing.
*** *** ***
She had had to fight her way onto the vehicle, as there were several office-types clustered near the back door who didn't grasp that there was plenty of space further in. The driver understood it, which is why he had stopped to pick people up. At this hour of the day buses often cruised right by, filled with selfish paper-pushers from the Embarcadero Center office towers. On her way in she gently pushed the old woman ahead of her up, forcing the yuppies to yield. Elderly Chinatown women are not so much human shields as, with the right encouragement, human battering rams. Make your move wisely, and Grandma over there will part the sea for you.
G'wan, grannie; forward!
On her way to one of three empty seats, she inadvertently elbowed a pudgy blonde giantess in the kidney rolls. She said "sorry", but that merely confused the large woman more. The beast looked around frantically, not realizing that the voice had spoken from somewhere at the level of her overgrown bosom. Where she came from, people were not so small, and she still hadn't gotten used to normal sized humans.
What WAS it with some women and their thing for Hello Kitty? She just didn't understand why anyone would have a Hello Kitty jacket on, if they were physically an adult, and it was a relatively warm day. Hello Kitty fabric does not breathe, and grown-ups wearing Hello Kitty crap don't look cute; they look ridiculous.
The only Hello Kitty clothing she herself owned was a tiny tee-shirt she had put on her Predator
action figure. She would have put it on Hell Boy, but it was far too small, and would have made him look like a poofter.
Or at the very least, very British.
*** *** ***
One man on the bus wasn't playing with his cell-phone, but had something else instead. After a few moments she recognized it as a pipe. He pensively rubbed it with the thumb and forefinger of the hand that held it, and stared off into space. Curiously, he was the only man sitting upright.
She speculated that unlike all the other males, his testicles did not need airing. Were they prematurely dessicated? Or did he powder them before leaving the house?
Maybe he was just 'cool'.
*** *** ***
Today she would have a lobster. It had been so long, so very long! And she was heartily sick of the mediocre lunch options in the downtown, where suburbanites, and their predictable pedestrian tastes, dominated the gustatory discourse.
Sandwiches. Pizza. French fries. Salads. And lots of tuna fish.
It was a ghastly replay of these themes in every block.
The gates of culinary hell.
The fat beaky-nosed engineer had not understood a thing she said, and always treated her like an idiot. She supposed she should not have scowled so fiercely when he had first met her, but he really was exactly like every woman's worst nightmare. Self-absorbed, transparently judging her physical appearance, and clumsily over-familiar. The word "girl" should never be uttered in an office environment.
Unless you are respectfully mentioning a child.
Who is, obviously, not present.
When she scowled, her eyebrows terrified adult men.
Except for lawyers; they never noticed anything.
Strangely insensitive creatures.
Probably all ego.
*** *** ***
It struck her that the bus whiffed of dead body. Were the blondes in the habit of transporting cadavers? Or was it their implants and folds of useless flesh, going bad in warm weather?
Often they were more like animatronic corpses than humans.
Some were indistinguishable from zombies.
Too damned much make-up.
No doubt all of that was necessary to attract the attention of a breeding male. Even during the height of rut or musth
, the type was dense and not very aware of their surroundings.
You could probably hit them over the head without them noticing.
A baseball bat is, when you think about it, very subtle.
She had never gone out with a man, and barely even looked at the species. Most of them were dullards, and could not hide their strange obsession with televised spectator sports. The moment anyone mentioned football, she pulled out a crossword puzzle.
Conversation is over, there is no intelligent life on this planet.
Judging by the specimens on the bus, this transit pod would not be orbiting any time soon. No mother ship would bother beaming these masculine exemplars up, there are limits to what you can learn from anal probing.
The reason for analysing most humans ass-first, she figured, was that spongy brains are all alike, whereas diet affects emotion.
Fatso over there looked like he ate children.
She wished him a probing, soon.
He'd be better for it.
Why did all these men smell of Cheetos? Was it a glandular imbalance? That certainly would explain their peculiar obsessions with sports; the poor dears were chemically unstable.
They probably breathed in the hormones at sportsbars.
A whiff of concentrated testosterone.
From a herd of junkies.
Individually, they were deprived. They needed to congregate for any magic to happen.
Strange things went on in sportsbars. Insane yowling and the like.
Hubba hubba hubba, go team go team go team.
Now, everybody sweat together.
Feel the power.
*** *** ***
She got off, wishing that she wore stiletto heels, so that she could stab some of these big galoots in the arch of their over-sized feet. Mentally she already knew what it would feel like. A moment of resistance, then it sinks in surprisingly smoothly, and only when you withdraw the spike do the victim's synapses fire.
In pained bafflement they raise their heads and moo.
The pipe smoker got off too. He paused to fill the briar, and she passed him before he lit up. He seemed preoccupied.
Several people on the street were walking their dogs. The animals wagged their tails, and sniffed at her bag. Mrs. Lobster inside was making friends, and didn't even know it.
Among dogs, chihuahuas are ridiculous, and completely moronic. There is no character there. No brains! Large dogs like retrievers, however, have distinct personalities. There were only two problems; they didn't understand that they were NOT four-footed humans, and they were very large. If one of them tried to lick her face, she would fall over. Never-the-less, that was one hella personable animal accompanying the bald man. Handsome, too.
She never would have noticed him if it weren't for the dog.
It was the first time she had seen him around.
He must have recently moved in.
Bald men, she knew, had too much testosterone.
It affected their scalp surface adversely.
Probably everything else as well.
What did pipe smokers smell like? Actually, she wasn't that curious. Like all men, if she spoke to him, he would reveal a perverse fascination with spandex bottoms on the football field, and mention beer and pizza.
No doubt about it. Men aren't interesting.
A very predictable lot.
Time for lobster.
*** *** ***
GINGER SCALLION LOBSTER
['geung chung lung-haa']
One lobster, about two pounds.
Quarter cup chicken stock.
Quarter cup cornstarch.
Quarter cup sherry.
One TBS oyster sauce.
Half a Tsp. freshly ground pepper.
Half a Tsp. salt.
One thumb of ginger, peeled and slivered.
Half dozen scallions, cut diagonally.
A few drops sesame oil.
Oil as needed.
Mix sherry, soy sauce, and one tablespoon corn starch in a bowl and whisk smooth. Add chicken stock and set aside.
Dump lobster headfirst into a cauldron of boiling water, and cook for about three of four minutes more after it returns to a boil. Remove, rinse under cold water. Drain.
The head may be removed and cleaned to decorate the serving platter, OR chopped in half and whacked, cleaned of some of the weird stuff inside as you see fit, and treated the same as the remainder of the beast.
Some people like sucking on the head.
Twist off tail and claws. Using a heavy cleaver split tails in half along the length, then across into large chunks. Whack each part of the claws to expose the meat.
In a large bowl, dust the lobster pieces well with the cornstarch and the salt and pepper, tossing to coat.
Heat one or two cups of oil in a large wok till almost smoking. Slide in the lobster pieces and fry till pale golden and barely crisp. Remove and drain in a sieve over a metal bowl.
Decant almost all the oil, and heat what remains till almost smoking. Add ginger, scallions, and stirfry fragrant. Return lobster to pan and stir to mix. Re-whisk the sherry and cornstarch mixture, and pour into the pan. Once the glaze thickens, add a few drops of sesame oil and slide everything onto a platter.
you could substitute abalone sauce for the oyster sauce, if you wish. Either one is perfect, if used as a minor flavour additive when cooking lobster. Or crab. Or large shrimps. Or oysters and abalone.
Oyster sauce was invented by mr. Lee Kam-sheung (李錦裳) slightly over a century ago in Naamseui village (南水鎭), Guandong province, just south of Canton. Within a few years it had become such a beloved and essential part of their regional cuisine that most Cantonese-speakers cannot conceive of life, food, love, insurrection, or philosophy, without it.
is a nice variation on the same theme.
I rode the Number One bus this afternoon, in case you were wondering.
It may have affected my otherwise sunny disposition.
Today's tobacco was red virginia flake.
In a semi-bent Hardcastle.
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Labels: Talk-story, The Girl With The Awesome Eyebrows