to the Cool Chop House
on Route 40-Something

by Karen Laven

98 percent humidity dampens my
appetite...for meat. Air
conditioned sign lures me inside a hole in the wall--
it means I only got the 3 bucks
that I jammed into my jeans
last night. I plunk
down at the counter wherever I am
(somewhere below Indiana)
and order a $1.99 turtle sundae from a scathingly skinny
guy named Levon--his name's tatooed upon his rib-roast
belly--who brings it to me real fast and
before you know it, I lift my greasy
spoon and see a teeny
amphibian head bathed in creamy, yellow ice
cream...and it's starin' at me (but it's, you know, dead)
and I yell, "Hey! Are you slooooooow or somethin'?
I'm allergic to reptiles!" and Levon looks perpelxed
and says, "I don't think it can hear you..."
Then I glare at the server-boy 'til he finally understands
and apologizes pro, er, prof, um, pro--a lot,
and takes the item off my bill
(thank goodness, that cap was weighing me down)
and then he plunks something from Betty
Crockher in front of me--the "Special" of the day--
on the house--head cheese
cake, and I can hardly wait for him to climb down
from the roof
so I can...Hey! When I hold up my knife I can detect Levon's reflection
behind me brandi, er, brandis, um bra--holding a massive
grin...and a shiny machete, too. "I can see the CAKE, Levon," I blubber,
"but where's the he..."

        Background by Artgekko.