Chapter 34…

Cooking has always been one of the few things I do that actually seems to impress people, especially women.

I think it allows them to perceive what they see as a domestic feminine side to me that actually isn’t there.

Well, maybe a little. I just have never understood the concept of comfort food. Isn’t it all comfort food?

We could all just chew on dry dog food ( or the human equivalent, known as Fritos ) and stay alive, you know. But French Onion Soup has history, and you should always indulge a little when you indulge a little. Food is just so damned good.

So I actually followed her instructions. Got the groceries, drove to the address in Narragansett. Nice area.

Also threw a ball peen hammer in the bag so I could knock this girl upside the head if she didn’t start talking soon.

Because those security cameras had all kinds of stuff on the DVR. Both sisters, Jenn’s daughter, Jenn’s daughter’s boyfriend, Fucking Bobby, another guy who I presumed was Jenn’s ex- husband, and another guy who I couldn’ t place at all.

But I knew someone who could. So I made her some scrambled eggs with sauteed bacon and scallions, cornbread from scratch, mixed some pineapple juice with orange and split it with seltzer water. Eight O’ Clock  coffee ground from beans. ( Have Grinder, Will Travel.) Sweet potato home fries with a spot of maple syrup and brown sugared butter that goes with the cornbread nicely, too.

Pretty damned good. And for my client too, based on her finishing everything and then trying to chew the blue flowers off her Pfaltzgraff plate.  I served her seconds, and put a copy of the greatest hits of the security footage down beside her plate. I had already made a few extra copies.

” Let me get you another coffee. You’re not going to like this much. But it’ll be OK. As far as the legal ramifications go, I know a guy.”



Chapter 10…

” So do you need to stop for anything before we get on the highway? I see a few clean spots on your shoulder there.”
More wryness.
We consultants thrive on wryness. Snappy comebacks are stock in trade for us.
” No…but thanks for your… concern…”
Timing is everything with snappy comebacks. A just ever-so-slightly ascerbic tone, slight mid-sentence hesitation…and just a wisp of a sidelong glance. Devastating.
We consultants need to keep a semblance of control.

” So have you tried the new broccoli-and-cheese soup bowl at Panera? Your choice of rye or pumpernickel. I think you could use a little green right there, by the pocket.”
” Why, you poor emaciated little thing. I may have to buy you lunch when we’re done. There’s a Panera on 44 in the Home Depot plaza.”
” I know, I sort of live around there.”
“And it’s probably on the way. Exit 7?”
Another wry smile, and a telling silence.
” I just bought you lunch, didn’t I?”
” Nothing personal. I just hate crullers.”

Semblance of control…don’t leave home without it…


Friday night at 2000 hrs ( 8 pm for civilians), and I’m at work. I’ve been doing Friday 3-11’s lately. One of the few who is maniacally responsible enough to show up for duty with a blizzard en route. There are 5 of us here tonight; 2 security, 2 maintenance, 1 engineer. On my security cameras, I’m watching payloaders, backhoes, and a Bobcat ( I so really want one of those…only$ 36,000) trying to keep the connector roads and parking lots clear. Better to move 6 inches of snow 8 times rather than move 3 feet all at once. Have to feel bad for those guys, though. They’ll be going straight through all day tomorrow, at least. It’s snowing sideways at about 60 mph. The building was just officially closed through Monday morning, and there is a full road ban in place ( arrests, fines, and prison time?!! ) Security’s relief has already called out to report for work ( no surprises there )-which means we will certainly be here until the world re-opens. The power is dipping on and off, but there is a huge backup diesel generator that’s supposed to be able to run for a few days. Otherwise, Metlife would would not only lose fax and phone lines, but there would be a threat to the data center. That would be the downside to having converted the acres of paper files to electronic storage. Snoopy will be really pissed. That damned thing better kick in when it’s supposed to. We’ll find out shortly. A large tree just came down and blocked one of the roads off. One less to plow. On the plus side; us security guys brought enough supplies to live through a nuclear strike, and I also brought a fold-up cot, two woolen blankets and a wheat-hull pillow. So no one has to sleep sitting up in an office chair. ( I am such a mother hen- old re-enactor habits.) And, the Chief Engineer phoned in permission giving us access to the full kitchen. So, I’m thinking… fire up a grill, maybe sirloin steaks with sauteed mushroom and onion in a white garlic sauce. Maybe special details aren’t so bad after all. Always wanted to try cooking on a commercial grill. Grill’s hot. Check with you later.


A little ambitious on the sirloin steak idea; but did manage shaved steak with mushroom/onion/hot Italian peppers/ melted provolone on toasted rolls.

Pretty damned good. Breakfast, I believe, will be omelettes with hash browns.

Not the big puffy American– style ones…the thin French ones ala Julia Child. With their choice of fillings, of course. That’s the whole idea. Thank you, Julia…

I’d like to be able to say ” do you want fries with that”, but I’m not sure how to get one of the deep- fryers working. Wouldn’t want to mess up and accidentally summon the fire department on a night like this. Not to mention being summarily dismissed from security.

But then maybe I could work in the kitchen…

Maybe we’ll just go with chips instead. And I’d better get started on a lunch menu…

Coffee Lingo…

I love Starbucks. I hate Starbucks. But I really do love Starbucks. I mostly despise Starbucks.

I am apparently ambivalent in regard to Starbucks.

I like their coffee a lot. It is generally very strong  ( as opposed to the anemic Dunkin Donuts) and would raise the dead, if only the dead could get their hands on some. The retail stores have a wonderful aroma when you go in, and no matter how resolved I am to not succumb, I always do. So after a few pounds of exotic beans, a few cds, and a large dark roast… that comes to 36.50, sir..will that be all for you today?

Good Lord….yes, that will be all for me today. For several days, actually. And I hate you and your snarky attitude, little miss. And your smock. And that you sell coffee mugs for 12.00…and that people apparently buy them.

But not me. I have lost many a good mug off the roof of my car, and if I lost a 12.00 coffee mug, I would be on my hands and knees in the breakdown lane searching for all the pieces. Then to the nearest Target for Super Glue…and later that same day, a trip to the emergency room with acute Super Glue poisoning; or ASGPas the ER nurses like to call it.

So I thought I would just try the drive-up window this morning, skip the aromas and cds and all that…just get the death coffee and go. I usually make my own at home and transport it in a thermos, but alas…a broken carafe emergency puts me once again at the mercy of snarky little Miss Starbucks poster girl 2013.

Now this really ticks me off…

I pull up and order a large dark roast, regular…

And the first thing they do is translate your order into a language that they find acceptable; so that will be a Vente Grande, sir? Will I be leaving room for cream and sugar?

I refuse to answer in their Italo/Hispanic hybrid language…

No…regular… is fine, thanks. ( This is the universal indicator for ” will you please put the damned cream and sugar in”…hence the term…) Why don’t they know that? Why??

So the coffee comes out with about three molecules of cream, and no sugar at all. ( I generally do not use sugar in coffee, but their Vente Sumatran Death blend does require it ) That will be 2.24 sir…will that be all for you today?

So I have to pull around to the front, go in, and fix it myself. Turbinado sugar, of course…( There is a Starbucks in Virginia that once actually removed all the brown sugar packets when they saw me come in again…sadly, I’m not even embarrassed by that…Starbucks owes me, don’t you see?? They owe everyone…yes, I’d like a dark Vente Grande with 76 Turbinado sugars, please…bitch….

And another 6.99 for a closeout Christmas cd of nuns singing in 16th- century French, a must-have for any civilized music collection…with the Boston Camerata doing biblical readings in Middle English– what great natural reverb you get from the pulpit of a cathedral… who could resist?

And one pound of Sumatran Death that was on sale ( only 11.99…and a slice of blueberry crumb cake, dammit…)

That will be 36.50, sir…will that be all for you today?

Why is it always exactly 36.50?

They’re probably just trying to make their money back on all the sugar. Well, two can play at that game. I happen to know exactly how many packets of Turbinado you can get for 36.50. Who’s smirking now, little miss?

And of course I was late for work.


Starbucks Update; Later that same day, and I have just tried  the Jamaica Blue Mountain. I must admit that it is wonderful. Smooth, earthy, complex…  certainly no cream or sugar needed… All is forgiven. I might have to bring back a few ( hundred) packets of Turbinado, as a sign of redemptive good will. That should confuse them.

I love Starbucks again.