This story originally appeared in The Local Voice #205. To download the PDF of this issue, click here.
Surfer – restaurant owner and Carpenter’s best friend, adventurist, ladies’ man, musician, artist, idealist, trickster and care giver.
Carpenter fell from the back stairs of the restaurant and got a huge bump on his head. He refused to go to ER, cursed everyone, clumsily trying to run away and get to his truck, but was captured by Surfer and a couple of others, restrained, buckled up and locked in the van.
On the way home he slurredly declared: “I! Want! Chicken!”
“Not a problem, man, we gonna stop and get you some.”
“Sure thing, just let me get there”
“I !!!!! WANT !!!! CHICKEN!!!!!”
“Damn it, I told you, we’re heading that way!”
“IIIIIII!!!!!! WAAAAAANT!!!!! CHICKENNNNNNN!!!!!”
“Shut the f**k up and let me drive!!” Surfer was losing his shit.
Finally there was a drive through.
“What do you want, bro? Leg, thigh, breast, chicken strip?”
“I want CHICKEN!”
Frustrated Surfer just ordered a whole bunch of different pieces, got a paper bag and handed it to Carpenter, who slowly took it, looked down, squished it with his big working man hands and played back and force sort of like making a snow ball.
Then – SMAAASH – threw it all on the floor. Legs, thighs, chicken strips flew all over, red ketchup and yellow mustard spilling on a top of it. The abstract picture was not looking bad at all. It was not smelling bad, either. “Dammit, Carpenter, what a f**k!? It’s my Mom’s van, what would she say?! Why did you do it?”
Carpenter was already nodding his heavy head. He opened blurry eyes, not aware of all the mess and mumbled: “Surfer…was that a chicken? I am sorry, man. I love you, buddy…” and started snoring.
A few days later they were sitting again at the bar with friends, sipping on beer and laughing, because the scary looking goose egg disappeared, strong Neanderthal forehead didn’t happen to be cracked, and only a dark yellow-and-purple bruise under one of the mischievous Carpenter’s eyes reminded of an epic fall.
Surfer was finishing the story: “And next morning I woke up at 5 am to put some more ice on your forehead! I also needed to check if you didn’t croak on me there!”
“I was not even drunk! I just had a few beers, I don’t know why I was so messed up! It was all that girls who were always fighting over me. I swear they put something in my beer when I was not looking!”