last night ps and i set out to go to a new french restaurant in town, la jardinaire. a few friends had recommended it, with a coy hint to an out of the ordinary experience. it was a pleasant autumn night - berkeley allows itself fallen leaves and brisk breezes - so we decided to walk. ps and i were in a bit of a mood. joyful, daring, delirious. like teenagers on pot. we set out into the world laughing and stumbling, going to get us food.
the address was an odd one, on a residential street. we arrived at an ambiguous building, quite unlike a home or a business, somewhere in between, inviting awning bewitched by glass door, concrete walls adorned with deep wood mailbox and private small plants. we entered, up a staircase, and arrived on a dark and uninviting landing. the lights were out, the door before us unmarked and shut. it seemed that the restaurant was closed.
my mind registered a touch of disappointment. we looked at each other silently, our night suddenly unhinged. and then we clicked and turned to the door, just to be sure.
the door opened into a dark hallway.
"i don't think anyone's here?"
"well the door's open"
ps started to walk through, and i followed.
we found ourselves in a home. there was nothing restaurant about it; it had all the trapping of a modest family home. but it was the right address.
to our left was a kitchen. in the kitchen we found a large silver refrigerator. the food inside was magnificent - fancy bacon, endive and leeks, marinades in exotic bottles. also several cheeses that we couldnt name. a lidded glass bowl of homemade hummus. in many ways, this was the food you always hope to find in a strange refrigerator.
ps went into the living room and starting pounding out "claire de lune" on a small church organ, banging his head like he was a a rock star. he was really happy that we had found all this amazing food, and that we were going to have our restaurant experience after all.
me, i wasnt so sure. part of me felt like we had made a mistake: that we were in someone else's private home, and were about to burglar their food. it seemed wrong, mean.
but ps was so happy. this night couldnt have turned out any other way. the universe is all for us.
i went to the refrigerator and pulled out the cheese, first thing. there was a leather couch i was looking forward to sitting down on. i prepared the food while ps continued his recital, now picking out some angular talking heads melody. we didnt talk; we had mastered the evening, and we didnt put words on it.
to the right of the front door was a long hallway into darkness which we had been neglecting. a few times already we had heard noises from down there, metallic nosies, but we had ignored them.
but now a man cam running out from the hall. he was a fat italian looking man wearing a red one piece long thermal. he looked like luigi from super mario bros 2. he had a black wooden bat in his hand. he started yelling at us, spittle flying from his mouth. his violence was immense.
ps and i started to scream as the man approached us, shaking the bat. he was blocking our way back to the front door. i didnt think very hard; i threw the plate of cheese straight up, with the idea of creating a diversion. amazingly, it worked, to some extent; the man looked up at the airborne cheese. ps and i ran straight at him, hoping to squeak by his sides. at this moment, my vision is very sharp.
ps like a star quarterback pulls a fake and gets by on his left side. im not as agile; he swings as i pass him and i smell bourbon, then he gets me on the shoulder, hard. i barely feel it though; we are at the door and racing down the stairs, leaping them five at a time. we spill out onto the street and continue bolting, not looking back.
we ran about five blocks and collapsed in front of a parked ice cream truck.
anyway, we got away. we rolled onto our backs, breathless, and laughed at the moon. it was fine. but the next morning, my shoulder hurt so fucking bad. something went wrong.