CHEAP EATS You thought you were done with this, I know, but I forgot to say that I did get a couple of correct answers to my months-ago riddle: what my mom said when I came home crying after the beating I took for peeing on my kindergarten teacher's hot-car-melted poodle.
Two readers got it right, but only one accepted lunch on me, and that was my new friend B.B. Teaspoon, who earned her fried chicken salad by crafting her answer into a brilliant, Ogden Nashish, Shel Silversteiny no, downright Dr. Seussian poem:
If the poodle made you piddle
And the puddle got you paddled
Cuz your teacher was so addled
When her poodle's life skedaddled
Did your mother try to straddle
Moral lessons that a lad'll
Never learn when he is rattled
Cuz he's maybe too gonadal?
Even electronically, her hesitance to hit the send button was palpable, yet B.B. Teaspoon actually did send these exact words, line breaks intact, to me, Chicken Farmer. I publish it here, in spite of pronoun-induced discomfort, because it's been too long since I printed a poem in Cheap Eats and I was about to lose my accreditation as a literary magazine. Plus what the hell, everybody knows I grew up boy. Or lad, if you will, for the sake of rhyming.
Not surprisingly, B.B. Teaspoon is a songmaker and a teacher of children. I told her about my new part-time job, nannying and cooking for a family of four: two musicians and two budding musicians. They have a dedicated music room full of entirely on-limits drums, pianos, toy pianos, a stand-up bass, and other stringed things. I tried to find a way to express, in words, the cacopho-symphonic potential of a 3-year-old boy, a 9-month-old girl, and me in this room while Mom and Dad are away at band practice.
Words didn't work, so I tried interpretive dance, but that didn't exactly come across either.
B.B. Teaspoon was telling me about a kids' song she sings about a noose, and, in spite of my morbid curiosity, I suddenly realized I was as cold as I had ever been. First unofficial day of summer, sunny California. Could of been New Years Day, Canada.
We were sitting outside because that was the only place you could sit, at one of several ironing boards on the sidewalk. Maybe she said "moose." I happened to be wearing my beloved rabbit fur jacket, not because I'd guessed it was going to be Canadian out so much as to annoy vegetarians.
But not even that, and not even the many jalapeño slivers in the coleslaw, could melt my cold, cold ...
Come to think of it, the other guy who correctly punch-lined my stupid joke was a musician too. We could have been a band! A really, really, really annoying band. Sike.
A lot of people love alliteration.
And I'm just going to let that line sit there, by itself, until it proves it's ready to join the rest of the class and behave. A teacher! Of children! Other people are having kids, right now, even as we speak. Still others are adopting, or having sex real hard.
Me? I'm Dani the Tranny Nanny. As predicted.
I like to rhyme.
My new favorite restaurant is Bakesale Betty. Fried chicken sandwiches, fried chicken salads, sidewalk ironing boards that are probably pretty fun when it's nice out. By salad they mean coleslaw, no mayo! Also famous for its strawberry shortcake and baked goods, this funky little Temescal district joint is not undiscovered (as in: lines). The good news: you might get a complimentary cookie out of your wait. We did, and we weren't even in line we were sitting there talking. It was buttery, cinnamony goodness.