We’ve been discussing book characters and characters in real life lately. This got me to thinking and when that happens, unusual things take place. LOL!
This past weekend, we drove up to North Carolina to bring our youngest son his belongings after we had taken them home with us from Oklahoma when he was scheduled to go to Air Borne School. What a beautiful drive! Dogwoods, Redbuds and Cherry trees in bloom! We made it safely and were able to visit with him all day Saturday.
He had many errands to run and we set out to help him lasso his needs. Going into our foray into this North Carolina town, we didn’t know much about, we were equipped with a GPS. Using it didn’t turn out as easy as we expected but by 9 p.m. (Eastern Time) we were ready to eat dinner. By the time we got to a Japanese restaurant, we were famished and were ushered in to a Hibachi room.
Across from us were seated three men, two women and a couple with their teenage daughter. Seated to the left of us was a younger couple (husband having just gotten back from Afghanistan and celebrating his 23rd birthday!) and to the right, a couple with their 9 yr. old daughter. Very cozy!
The first chef arrived to cook and serve the table across from us. We watched him perform his duties, all the while becoming more aware of the three men on the other table. One gentleman’s face got red, his eyes a bit woozy. He put his arm around the woman next to him. Okay, my writer’s brain is beginning to sort this all out. The couple are married (man had on wedding ring and she did too) and are out celebrating with friends, which would explain the Saki they drank and chased down with beer.
The woman next to the man spoke animatedly. She teased the men, cracking jokes, leaning back on her mother, using “Mama said,” quite often in conversation. Finally, the chef did something fantastic and the woman’s voice rose with a most notable southern accent, “You done good, baby! My mama always said if I told a man that, I would go far.” (I nearly busted out laughing.)
Meanwhile, the couple and teen at the end of their table cast awkward glances about them. We, on the other table, watch as though expectantly waiting for the next weirdest thing to happen.
Happen, it did! While the spectacle escalated, our chef arrived. He was very creative, but it just so happened that he was missing his front tooth. He began to shuffle his spatulas like they were numchuks but had a mishap. He said, "I'm much better with knives." My eyes bugged out of my head! (Imagine an oriental chef with no front tooth, knife twirling problems, and a southern belle making a ruckus across the way.)
To add to the escalating chaos, the southern woman held up her breasts with both hands, in front of the men, and gazed down into her lap to see if she’d spilled anything. The man next to her got up over and over again, once swerving as if he didn’t know where he was. He always returned and put his arm around the woman who laughed and conversed with them as if she’d known them all her life.
Our chef — remember him? — cooked shrimp then flicked one of the tails onto the man’s lap. He never noticed and we busted out laughing. But our wily chef wasn’t done with us. No! He had an ever greater trick to play.
Be patient, grasshoppers! Wait for it!
Where was I? Yes! Oh, our chef was very creative. After he cooked shrimp and mixed vegetables for us to snack on, he then unloaded a ton of rice onto the Hibachi grill. Tons! Enough that he was like the Michelangelo of the Hibachi Grill. He worked the rice with his spatula. "Is that a football?" I asked. He grinned and continued to sculpt. “Is that an arrow?” I asked again because I’m always curious. Another sly grin.
Now, I beg of you to imagine the Hibachi grill in your mind’s eye. See a big lump of rice molded into an arrow shape. Yes, you’re almost ready… He sculpts some more, smoothing out the sharp edges of the arrowhead, which now looks like a long shaft with a curved base. I looked at hubby. He looked back at me. I turned and looked at the woman next to me. She looked back at me and then we both looked at her 9 yr old daughter. The chef squint his eyes appreciatively, his hands ever working the rice sculpture with ease. He then took out some sesame seeds and— wait for it! — covered the now duel / rounded shaped base in patches. I looked at the woman next to me and busted out laughing. Was it? Did he? All eyes go to the 9 yr. old girl who is thankfully oblivious. Our laughter cannot be staunched. Can you envision the image before us? The sly/jovial chef then slits the long rice shaft and puts half of a lemon on the base. OMG! “It’s a rabbit!” I cried with relief.
“You people have dirty minds,” our chef said with a wink.
Meanwhile, across the Hibachi more mischief is going down. The waiters come over and sing Happy Birthday with bongo drums and threadbare enthusiasm. The woman then stands, does a dance, then sings over the man’s shoulder, “Happy Birthday to you, Your wife’s gonna kill you!”
All hope of ever keeping the 9 yr old in the dark has now passed. The young girl repeated the lyrics, singing them and laughing out loud. The singers then turned to our table and began the tune (with drums) again. Our returning war hero stood and performed the Sprinkler to the delight of his wife and all of us. We applauded his return from Afghanistan. But our odd evening was not over. No! Before the southern belle left table across from us, the man she'd spent her meal with had gone on another bathroom run, and she found the other two men haggling over the bill, thinking to rip off their buddy. “He’s too drunk. He’ll never know,” they said. The young womanizer swerved back into the room and as the woman passed him, she yelled over her shoulder, “You’d better watch out. They’re going to rip you off.”
Then, as mysteriously as she'd entered our lives, the southern belle was gone.
I turned to my husband and said, “You just can’t make this stuff up.”
What stuff have you seen that simply could not be real? ;)