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The Gourmand

June 21st, 2008 · No Comments

Boston Hatch Shell, June 1981
(photo: spitballarmy.com)

The event had been planned for days.
The choices made at the Market of Stars were painstaking and calculated.
Once the day’s victuals were in order and cooled,
The entourage proceeded.

They rode a bus past Lechmere
And around Bunker Hill,
Gliding over the river
And behind the hospitals
Until the oval meadow came into view.

The Others had begun to gather on the grass,
Throwing Frisbees,
Dancing to their tribal rhythms,
Sunbathing and looking trim.

They had no appreciation of this art,
Of the purity of the voice
Or the gravity of the opportunity.
They had been seduced by the carnival atmosphere.

The Gourmand slowly led the way
And her assistants followed,
Pulling coolers full of delicacies in her wake,
Pausing at twenty-foot intervals as she stopped to breathe.

This spot, ten rows from the lip of the stage,
This is where we shall establish our base.
One assistant constructed a lounging apparatus.
Another displayed the morning’s newspaper on a side table.

The Gourmand settled into a chair
And shifted forcefully until her shape became its shape.
She sat, firm as a kettle drum,
As the Asian college girls lay on blankets at her feet
Studying organic chemistry.

The Gourmand raised an eyebrow.
Nine hours until show time, said an assistant.
The Gourmand had already begun to sweat.
She removed her jacket.

The sky was cloudless,
The sun was directly overhead.
The Gourmand looked directly at the assistant:
I would like some news.

The assistant opened the Globe to the front page:
Looming hunger strike threatens Dublin…
The Gourmand ripped the paper from his hands
And folded it into the shape of a basket.

The assistant began to open a bag
Containing thick-cut potato chips with Israeli sea salt.
As he reached toward her with the bag,
The Gourmand placed the basket on her head.

First course, please,
The Gourmand suggested,
And the assistants assembled a sandwich
From salami, ham, bologna and pasteurized cheese slices.

The assistant passed the sandwich toward the Gourmand.
Presentation! scolded the Gourmand.
The assistant produced a plastic bag from his pants pocket
And placed the sandwich within it.

The assistant knelt alongside her
And offered the sandwich to the Gourmand with both hands.

Thank you, spoke the Gourmand.

Tags: fiction · music

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