a Paranoid Food Blog: Cherry Cricket of Denver (or “Vic meets a Woman from the Past”)

Posted: December 6, 2013 in a Paranoid Food Blog
Tags: ,


From within the cemented bunker
of a suburban Denver parking garage
a curiously-clad and burly bearded paranoid perches as a slightly-more-animate gargoyle
spying out at the onslaught of precipitous precipitation.
The precipitation was less rain than
snow that just couldn’t keep its shit together;
it fell hard,
as hard as underachieving snow could fall betwixt the competing STOP lights.
The crossroad traffic signals twisted and swung in the wind
(a red-light dance-off),
its illumination reflecting off of the precipitation
until the rain shone like splattered neon blood.
All the while,
the un-stoned gargoyle watched from the concrete stairwell of the aforementioned parking garage.

Cherry Cricket of Suburban Denver

Cherry Cricket of Suburban Denver

Across the street existed a popular burger joint, the Cherry Cricket. I, the aforementioned gargoyle, arrived early to the parking lot to perch and wait… only to descend and arrive late to the agreed upon restaurant. I opened the external doors like a space cowboy on zero oxygen and a taste for whiskey (not just any whisky, you see, but that requiring the extra-e). Once within, Bubba at the door assumed Charlie’s Checkpoint position and asked for my papers. I showed someone’s identification and was immediately allowed entry into the innards of the establishment and once there I came across the vision of Her: sitting as a lotus flower amidst a swarm of buzzing menfolk seeking to pollinate. She brushed off their advances as her eyes summed the arithmetic that was I. Her maths figured me to be the remainder of Victor Neverman, a young lad she knew once in another life. Lily Kudzu smiled warm enough to break the Arctic and spur me forward.

Vic's fourth grade class photo (Lily Kudzu is top left with 'LK')

Vic’s fourth grade class photo (Lily Kudzu is top left with ‘LK’)

“You asshole.” She chimed in songbird harmony from her side of the booth we were escorted to. Her words alone could be read out of context if you did not witness the exhibit of mirth upon her face. “Upon minutes of friending you on Facebook, I am suddenly followed by vans with excessive antennae and I always get the TSA ‘upgrade’ at airport security. Who are you?”

“Do you not recognize me?” I asked, curious and waving off the waiter.

“I expected someone less bearded, half as tall, with no white hairs.”

“You may be perceiving time too relatively.” I explained, consciously reminding myself to stop pulling nervously at the edge of my beard. “I’ve grown some since last sighting and these hairs are black with some excusable silver. No white hairs.”

“Blame it on the fluorescent lighting.” Lily Kudzu shrugged away her apparent misconception.

She wasn’t exactly what I remembered from the fourth grade, either. She admitted that her 80’s hairdo was gone and she had chosen eye contacts over the windshield of spectacles that had rivaled my own in those days of lore. She no longer looked as I remembered. She looked… a Woman.

“I do realize…” I admitted with utmost candor, weighing my words within a dramatic pause. “You are a woman.”

“That’s a good start.” Lily Kudzu admitted hopefully, her worried brow in a furrow.

“Why did you agree to meet me?”

“Because…” Lily Kudzu began as any earnest mirage of vaporous memory forming in the desert of your mind would begin, at least, until, that mirage sights you attempting to eat a hamburger topped by sloppy green chilies. “Vic, you are really a messy eater.”

“I, um…” I stumbled with a verbal response as I rejected the messied burger in my hands. Pulling half-chomped onion and specks of green chilies from my beard, I admitted, “I may have bitten more than could be chewed.”

Lily Kudzu studied me with an expression that was attempting to be supportive in a “your poor thing” kind of way. As in, “you poor thing, you’ve been a feral child living off of corn cobs for thirteen years, of course you don’t know how to consume a sandwich without it turning into something resembling a finger-painting project.” Of course, I wasn’t a feral child who had lived off of corncobs, which left her sympathy even less deserved.

My sense of civility dented like a participant in a school bus derby, I put my burger aside and listened to Lily Kudzu’s story. There was a man from her recent past. He was a dick. They were married, then unmarried and then he really became a dick. This man, the ex-husband, was allegedly a purveyor of dental implants. Yes, “dental implants”, otherwise known as the trade of spook.

Lily Kudzu's ex-husband "sold dental implants" (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

Lily Kudzu’s ex-husband “sold dental implants” (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

While it might seem improbable to the mainstream flotsam, there are hidden keywords – cryptographic double-entendres, if you will (and will you must certainly should) – that may mean something benign to the virginal ears of the uninitiated and yet something entirely different to the well-spooked. “I sell dental implants” is practically synonymous with “I am more or less a domestic spy with an eyeglass pointed at your bathroom window, a camera behind your mirror, a bug on your phone, a GPS under your car and a drug-dog snouting your luggage.” If you are at a common dinner party choosing amongst the ill-catered charcuterie and some fellow with a misaligned smile introduces himself as a dealer in dental implants, you shall be well extolled should you douse his mustachioed face with whichever inebriant elixir you possess in hand for this scoundrel is surely a member of the Military Industrial Intelligence Complex and likely already intimately familiar with your web-browser search history.

Where was I before I was so misled by an interrupting thought? Ah yes, Lily had an ex-husband. I offered to Lily my unique set of skills to assist in sabotaging whatever life direction this X might have had in mind, but she wasn’t interested. She wasn’t vengeful, she was proud of the strength she found in his absence. Why… then, did she agree to meet me: this Gypsy drifter, rolling through town like a tumbleweed with green chilies hanging from its beard?

“Because I wanted to know if you really existed? I mean, it’s been so long, I wasn’t sure if I just accidentally dreamed you some night.” Lily Kudzu then inquired in turn, as she had patiently waited for this, her turn, “Why did you ask to see me?”

“Same reason.” I responded, eyes wide with admission. “I wanted to know if I really existed.”

Cricket burger with monster green chili

Cricket burger with monster green chili

CHERRY CRICKET RESTAURANT: burger joint with real burgers, a variety of toppings and a damn good draft selection. High energy & loud enough that others cannot eavesdrop on your conversation. A good den for conspirators. I give it 5 out of 5 NeverStars.

  1. Rakib says:

    This cherry cricket is awesome in taste. I have tasted it, If you didn’t yet, you should also try.!!!!!

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