Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Moving Feast

I stopped in for lunch at Efrain’s on the corner of 63rd and Arapahoe and you know it is a fine restaurant, and the food is good, and the atmosphere cheap. It is everything a Mexican restaurant should be with its chili pepper Christmas lights hung all year round, the dark and stained plywood paneling, and the tiles are cracked and the English is broken. The locals come in in groups of two and four, the liberal fascists wearing political buttons and unwashed hair yelling about GMOs and the homeless and the world going to hell. The pistol carrying conservatives in button down shirts that are too tight, and jeans from Sears quietly complaining how the world is going to hell and you better have gold stored in your basement along with plenty of guns because the liberal fascists are trying to take them all away.

I took a booth in the back, and slid across the emerald vinyl seat, my jeans catching on the corner and I thought I hope they never fix this charming feature. The waiter was short and heavy-set, and seems to be a constant here serving food, nodding politely. He placed a bowl of chips and salsa on the table and filled with hunger I grabbed at a chip, dipping it in the salsa, which was red, and hot and fought its way down my throat. I spilled it on the menu that was laminated and quickly wiped it off before my short heavy-set waiter came back.

He returned with a plastic tumbler of water, and it was cold, and icy and it felt good against the salsa that burned my mouth and tongue. I ordered a chicken chimichanga covered in cheese with green chili on the side so the corn tortilla would stay crunchy and crisp. He said ok.

I tried sketching in my small black moleskine I carry with me, but my plate of food arrived and I was hungry and bored and wanted to eat while it was still hot. It reminded me of the time I went fishing in Mexico for swordfish, and of running with the bulls in Pamplona, and making love to a young senorita with coal black hair under a olive tree while she played the castanets, but I quickly realized I hadn’t done any of those things. I ordered another tap water.

Now the chicken chimichanga covered in cheese with green chili on the side so the corn tortilla would stay crunchy and crisp was already moving down and threatening to leave before I did. I was an old man with a sea roiling inside me and I sat wondering if my heavy-set waiter was any good at lavarse las manos, or for that matter if anyone in kitchen was good at lavarse las manos.

I threw my cash on the wooden table and slid out of the booth with the emerald vinyl seat and again my jeans got caught on the corner and I thought why don’t they fix that damn corner? I walked briskly towards the door with my ass cheeks held tighter than an armrest at a dentist office when the drilling begins and the nerve exposed as beads of sweat cascaded down my forehead. I reached my Volkswagen and sat down and drove the shortest way home because that’s what I needed to do. Moments later it happened.

My deepest apologies to Mr. Hemingway.

A request from a client.