...with our beans baked... (Part VIII)

Understatement: Ernie is bummed. 
“Megadeth, Maaan…” or, 
“We missed Megadeth…” or, 
“I can’t believe we missed Megadeth, man…” 

The rest of this night, 
when his mouth’s not full of diner food, 
beer, 
or pot smoke, 
this is how Ernie compares to a broken record. 

And I broken record right back at him, 
“At least you’re not in jail…” or, 
“Dude, you’re not in jail…” or, 
“You could be in jail right now, dude…” 
Or, “You got more pot?” 
Because this was my night to indulge.

Going back to the western ‘burbs, yes, there’s more pot. Only, out there, there’s nothing to do; no one we know. Staying here, he’s still got stuff in the car, but not much. Staying here, it’s the city—everything’s goin’ on. The trouble’s finding it. Which is easier for some than for others. 

Things, they don’t happen to me. 
They happen around me. 
I live life after-the-fact. 
Whatever that means. 

We end up at Diner Deluxe. We end up there twice tonight. My first Diner Deluxe dinner consists of an omelet, biscuits and gravy. Also a Butterfinger milkshake to wash all the aforementioned down. 

Ernie says, “The shake. How is it?” 
My response, “Underwhelming.” 

He tells me the waitstaff, almost anywhere you go, are made to make the milkshakes. I tell him they must treat the waitstaff at Salt & Pepper much, much better; because, there, the milkshakes are extraordinary; sometimes, they’re overwhelming. I highly, highly, highly recommend, which is to say that I cannot recommend enough, their delectable creamy, creamy, creamy peanut-butter milkshake. We’re talking a sugary assault on your taste-buds that climax in eye-popping ecstasy. 

But more than eating, Ernie’s more interested in what he’s missing at the Riv. He orders a Reuben and fries anyway. Every time he starts up with his Megadeth lament, I point a stiff finger at his Ruben and say, “Eat.” 

In the parking lot, on the other side of our booth’s window, an elderly driver reverse gears deeper into his space. He doesn’t stop until his battleship Cadillac rams the wall of Diner Deluxe. Our window and the bricks below it hold—though maybe some plaster dust settles over my omelet. Like the driver, nobody on our side of the wall seems to give a damn. Welcome to Chicago. The battleship Caddy course corrects and sails out of the lot, presumably in search of new ramming opportunities. And so, yeah, that was the time a Cadillac Brougham nearly backed into my rib cage. 

19 & 20 November 2004 

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