Dateline: Saturday, September 13 - Monolith Festival @ Red Rocks, CO
Though Monolith was a music festival of epic proportions, the availability of foodstuffs totally blew. My fellow festivalgoers and I decided to wander down to the VIP lounge for some tender vittles (i.e. things that weren't fried and/or grease-choked).
Sadly, it was explained (rather rudely, I might add) to my compatriots that they were no longer serving food, but that perhaps there were some crusty old hot wings left over.
After some time and deliberation, the rest of my pack procured some shitty burritos and I settled down for a dinner of potato chips and empty dreams. Then Giselle noticed the chef behind the salad bar...
Giselle: Just go ask him for a salad - you know all the food is still out. And he's looking right at you.
I threw him a quick, hungry glance. He certainly was looking straight at me, almost straight through to my empty chamber of an acid-churning stomach.
Me: I don't know...[Giselle interjects with repeated encouragement]...Oh, OK."
I wander over and upon closer inspection, the "chef" looks like a younger, rangier Christopher Lloyd, perhaps just sprung from jail or the halfway house across the street from MaryEllen's apartment. I cleared my throat, and set my chin on the counter, trying to look as pitiful and starving as possible...
Me: Hi. Um, I know you're closed - but, um, I'm allergic to wheat and I can't find anything to eat upstairs that's not fried or breaded...um...uh...I really just wanted a salad...
Chef Jail Break Lloyd: [Leaning in, conspiratorially] Say, what if someone was to go back and tell the chef that there was a lady out here with low blood sugar, who needed to eat...what would that lady want?
Me: [Ah - I see - he doesn't want everyone else to know that I'm getting an after-hours food gift!] Oh, just a salad is fine - whatever's easiest.
CJBL: Ok. Go back and sit down. Look for me.
Then he retreated into the kitchen. I sat down with a smile and informed the group - and then he came back out and I walked back up.
CJBL: [Leaning sideways, speaking in a whisper, eyes glancing at me, sidelong] Chef says three-fifty.
Me: [Totally grateful] Ok!
CJBL: That's three DOLLARS and fifty cents.
Me: [Still totally grateful] Hey - no problem - let me just got back and get my wall-
CJBL: Yeah, but if it were ME, I wouldn't make you pay nothin' for the salad. Ok? You understand?
Ok, that was a little weird, but whatever. I went back and got a fiver, since none of us had exact change. That way, I could tip Chef Jail Break Lloyd and feel good about the deal I just scored on a salad. I love salad! Well, unless it's a free salad that a man in a squad car is trying to give to me, for no apparent reason.
But that was Brooklyn and this is now. I walked back up with my five tucked in my palm and slid it across the counter.
CJBL: [Noticeably angry] What is this?? I told you THREE-FIFTY. THAT'S ALL I WANT. THREE-FIFTY!!!
Is this guy for real?
CJBL: Whatever. Listen - what do you want on the salad?
I tell him. He asks what kind of salad dressing I want; I say Italian.
CJBL: What KIND of Italian?? Jesus, there are like three kinds of Italian dressing here. [Looks wildly at the dressings below the counter]
Me: Um, a light Italian is fine.
CJBL: What about balsamic? Or how about honey mustard? Jesus, there are SO MANY SALAD DRESSINGS HERE.
Me: [Not wanting to instigate his looming madness] Sure - honey mustard's great.
CJBL: [Clearly not believing my desire for honey mustard] Are you sure? There are so many fucking salad dressings here. Ok, fine. Do you want me to...[he pauses]...toss your salad?
Really? Really, Chef Jail Break Lloyd? Did you have to go there?
Me: Yes, please.
After integrating my dressing with my lettuce and all the other shit he threw in there, he did that sideways look again and whispered:
"See that basket over there? There are TOOLS in that basket. GET A TOOL."
I looked to my left. There was a small basket. Of forks.
I grabbed a fork.
It only seemed right to tuck it inside my brochure, hidden from prying eyes, since this was clearly a crazy-person crusade to give me this salad without anyone else knowing what was going on.
CJBL: [With the conspiratorial voice again] Now listen carefully. LISTEN. I'm going to give you this salad. I want you to take it back to your seat and eat all of it. ALL OF IT. Ok? Now, if anyone asks you where the fuck you got this fucking salad, you tell them to fuck off, OK? TELL THEM TO FUCK OFF."
I nodded, suddenly really glad that there was a giant counter separating me from Chef Boyardbatshit.
CJBL: Now, take this to your seat. When you get back, make sure no one is looking, especially those fucking waitresses, and slide it over the counter REALLY QUICKLY. I MEAN IT. SLIIIIIIIIDE IT OVER QUICKLY. And then walk away."
He nodded at me once and disappeared into the kitchen. I took my salad and sat down.
I have to say, for a salad made by a raving madman, it was pretty damn tasty.