the ontological noodle:
samuel saint shomas
I could have, I suppose, picked up enough at the market for several parties all at once. But I liked the immediacy, the excitement, of rounding the aisles at prime speed. Hungry people were coming over. And throwing a party is important business, especially when it’s for classmates. So, straight from Philosophy 457, as I’d done all semester, I threw my book bag on the back seat of my old Saab and headed over to the market. A pound of extra firm tofu, some tomato paste (3 cans for a dollar), one stick of salted butter, four cloves of garlic, a pound of generic Swiss, and two large bags of fresh spinach linguine. The organic extra virgin olive oil, double fermented soy sauce, and the secret herbs I always stocked. Then, to the wine shop for cheap Slovenian cabernet. Double bottles. Value.
Even before I’d unpacked my bags, the pan was hot, butter and garlic already volunteering their sensual scents. You see, my sauce, the only sauce worth serving, is built from the bottom up, slowly, and definitely will not be hurried. It could take hours. And what goes in it, is, and will remain, top secret. So don’t ask. All the more reason I melted, chopped, dashed, browned, and ground my herbal invention before my friends arrived. Then, as I watched it work and bubble, I got the first bottle of wine off to a proper start. Soon enough, though, the whole event began to rise right out of the pan. Crazy revelers would be knocking, and there was plenty of wine.
But no one ever actually knocked. It was more like a welcome break and entry. When Ken came through the door, Josephine was already there, standing near the sauce with a canning jar of wine.
“Canning jars, yeah,” she said, “They’re unbreakable.”
It was near zero outside, yet all Ken wore was a depreciated tee shirt under his thinning old Harley jacket. He styled himself tougher than he really was. Or maybe it was the other way around; I could never tell. Nevertheless, he was the only person on campus with sleeve and turtleneck tattoos.
“All I had was a bagel all day,” he said. He stood there in the doorway to the kitchen, leaning, hugging a glass of wine, telling candid tales of growing up in a dysfunctional family, a mad mess of things. He had, most likely, thought all day about what he wanted to say. It was as if he were waiting for...