19 Puffs of Smoke #11
Copyright James Crawford, 2014
“Whoa. Wait. This stuff is legendary!” I bobbed up and down slightly. “I have to write a review.” I giggled. “That is, if I remember it later.”
Katsu took the opportunity to speak up, by possessing me.
“I don’t know about the smoke, but I like the thing we’re smoking from!” He used my hands to pull the thing to my lips, and licked the glass orifice before taking a huge lungful.
“Hey!” Tina, the First Femme cried. “You just spoke Japanese! I didn’t know you were fluent! That was the best Kansai accent I’ve heard outside of Kyoto!”
“You lesbians aren’t as uncultured as I thought,” Katsu said through me.
I thanked my lucky stars that Tina thought that was the funniest thing she’d heard in years.
My spirit guide let me back into my body just as we pulled up to the house. My ass. Stan Jingle lived in a fucking mansion with a metal gate around the property! The reality of that hit me through all the pot vapor in the limo. That little dapper man was loaded.
Somehow, he’d arrived before us. He orchestrated our procession into the house, probably for the photographers, after he used a fan to blow all the smoke away from us. We tumbled out of that limo in a cloud of burnt weed.
It was a stately parade into the cleanest room I’ve ever seen, and one of the largest, too. It was all white, with pale peach accents that matched the marble floor. Insane, just insane. The buffet line seemed so far away!
Stan gave us a little formal welcome to his home, explained that the tables were set up on the veranda beyond the buffet line. The bridal party would be the first to proceed through the catering extravaganza, and tables would be called one by one after.
“Oh,” Stan pointed to a nook on the opposite side of the room, “please avail yourselves of the bar. It is complimentary, but please tip the bartender! Okay, everybody, let’s celebrate!”
“This is some spread, you secret queer.” Katsu whispered in my brain. “I hate to give you credit, but you were right, lesbians know how to party.”
My only complaint is that the music leaned so heavily on The Indigo Girls.
True to Stan’s plans, our table (or two) was the first to run the gauntlet of impressive food. As much as I wanted to know how much all of this cost, I really didn’t want to know. There’s something about eating very pricy food for “free” that bothers me.
Once in a while, I feel like a sham. Then I get a blast of clarity from the universe and I’m right as rain again.
“What’s that thing that looks like a little round pie?” Katsu asked me, and I told him I didn’t know. “Well, as the serving girl what it is, and get her phone number while you’re at it.”
I ignored the last part. “Hi, miss! Could you tell me what these adorable little crusty things are?”
“Certainly, sir! They are baby brie en croute, with a warm berry reduction on the inside of the crust. Would you like one?”
“Please,” I said.
“I want to sleep with the cute gaijin girl. Get her telephone number.” My spirit guide urged me on, and I blatantly ignored his ass. He was sulking until we got to the beef tenderloin.
The plate that I carried back to the head table required both my hands. I spent so much time at the buffet that I missed the first toast to the happy couple.
Shannon’s father, who had been drunk before, was nearly catatonic, but he had enough presence of mine to catch me before I reached the table.
“Le’ the Rabbi shay a prayer fore we eats,” he slurred to the assembled merrymakers. “Got to than God fore eatin’!”
I didn’t expect a round of applause from the room. My wrists were starting to hurt from the weight of the plate, and I did a quick calculation in my head. I’ll get to the table faster if I pray right now.
“Would everyone bow their heads for a moment, and pray with me to the universe, or to whatever great spirit holds your heart?” Every head dropped, and Shannon’s dad passed out. “We thank you for this beautiful day, these tender people, and for the love in the union we witnessed. Bring joy and blessings upon all of us here, and really, really, pretty stuff. Amen.”
I tanked at the end, but the plate was becoming a painful challenge. As soon as I hit “Amen,” I rushed to my seat at the table and put my dinner down. Everyone clapped and took their seats, too.
To me, that had been one of the worst impromptu prayers I’d ever uttered, but you would have thought I’d been spouting William Shakespeare from the way everyone was acting. Maybe they were all high, too. Considering what Karlye’s family did for a living, it was completely possible that they were as baked as we were. It certainly made me feel less paranoid.
The food was awesome. Really, awesome.
“This would have been a 400,000 Yen dinner in Tokyo,” my ghost commented, “and it would have been worth it. I didn’t eat this well when I was alive, and I was a movie star!”
“Really, I thought you would have had feast, after feast, after feast.” I responded in my mind.
“No, I had to watch my weight for the movies.”
“Oh, I never would have known that. You’re such a portly fellow, after all.” I don’t know where that came from inside me, but I delivered it deadpan.
The superior expression came off his face and was replaced by puffy, purple, cheeks, and fiery red eyes. Steam rose from the crown of my Bhodisattva’s head. I anticipated a tirade of furious Japanese, but it never came. All I heard was a rapid tweeting noise as his lips moved, fluttering like red sparrow wings at sunset.
Feeling pleased with myself, I drank some of the really nice red wine that had appeared in my glass. I don’t know wine like I know weed, but this stuff did things to the brie en croute that turned it from amusing into sucking on the boob of Mother Earth joy. I forgot about the pissed off spirit in my head, and got down to some serious exploration of viticulture.
Honestly, I felt amazing. I don’t think puffing on my Buddha had ever quite lifted me to the loving, floaty, heights that the food did. The same for the wine. There was bliss. Then there was an attack of the munchies, piercing in intensity.
It seemed like seconds before my plate was empty and I was trotting back to the line.
Somewhere in the back of my brain, I noticed that I was not the only one feeling this way. I was awash with a feeling of loving kinship, and hugged everyone of the people who were returning for more food. Some of them kissed me. I kissed them back.
Touching people felt so good and so right!
When I got back to the table, the brides were making out. That sort of thing seemed to be spreading around the room. Where people weren’t sucking face, little knots of people were cuddling as though their lives depended on it.