The Prodigal’s Return
“If you come back to the place where you became a man, you will remember all those things that you need to be happy.”
After months of waiting, anticipating and downright fearing it would never happen again, I have finally found myself in a state of hangoverness so grand as to warrant revisiting Chez Dog.
The Dog in waning summer is a beautiful thing indeed: perimeter tropical greens and reds perfectly accentuate the deep brick-red hue of the “C” health rating on the window. Throughout the proceedings the fuzzy, clunky TV blares soap opera reruns as crusty shifts and ne’er-do-wells peddle copied VHS tapes of ’The Running Man’ to hapless pedestrians on Willoughby and Fairfax.
This time the rite of passage goes something like this:
Chef: Yeh? Whayouwanh?
Me: What’s the ’Special’?
Chef: ? Especial all board Especial
Me: This ’Special’ right here – Fries? Drin-
Me: Ok, I’ll have the especial.
Chef: Especial ok.
As I take my seat in anticipation of the paper-covered frisbee that will house my especial, I notice a pleasant update to the surroundings: the multicade game has been given a stern scouring [ photo ] to the extent that gurgitators might actually be compelled to drop a quarter for Junior Pac-Man without fear of handshingles or similar affliction. I also make note that the Dog is now peddling signature T-shirts at a mere $10 a pop.
We pause momentarily as I eat the Oki-Dog especial with vigor. I am a wretched, drunken mess; truly a revolting sight. Even the men peddling copied Predator VHS tapes turn away with disgust.
Your vision will become clear only when you look into the shack … Who looks outside, finds dubbed VHS tapes of Predator and The Running Man. Who looks inside, awakens not only to games that may or may not lead to hand scabies, but also to the wafty scent of pastrami, chili and double-dogged burritos.
Jung also once said “Great talents are the most lovely and often the most dangerous fruits on the tree of humanity. They hang upon the most slender twigs that are easily snapped off.” A more fitting description of Chef Dog I know not. A formidable talent in his own right, he is, ultimately, hanging by the most frail branch of society, easily broken if not nourished and coddled. I say to you now: Get to coddling.