• This is how it all began…

    I was waiting in line for a taco at a truck twenty minutes from my house.  It was the kind of taco that was so good you craved it even though its meat origins were suspect. Is this brain? tongue? Is it even cow?

    There was always a line, and the last three times I was there I was pulled away before reaching the front. One time I remembered I’d left my freshly washed shoes in the oven at a low temp to speed up the drying. The other two times were because of calls from work.

    This time I was determined, not even God could stop me. My belly was growling at me. “Who do I have to kill to get a taco around here?” I might have mumbled a little too loudly (this statement also held a strange bit of foreshadowing). My mouth was salivating, and nothing was going to take me from the line…

    …Except for maybe three clowns, a bobcat, a funeral procession and a hail storm.

    So I’m just standing there. Waiting. The line seems to be inching along like a caterpillar that is trying to traverse the sidewalk without getting smooshed. The aromas wafting up from the plates of food that walk by me are intoxicating. My need for tacos is overwhelming at this point (I love tacos). Just then a clown car pulled up. I know it’s a clown car because three clowns get out of it. There are all different types of clowns.. happy clowns, confused ones, sad clowns.  These were angry clowns, the kind you see in movies robbing banks. As the clowns unfurled themselves from their sardine can, a funeral procession was marching toward them. The procession was similar to what you might find in the heart of New Orleans. It was a kind of marching band parade, dia de los muertos style.

    Everyone was dressed in black, fancy black. Some women had bustier tops and frilly dresses. The men were slicked out with shiny shoes and crisp shirts, striped pants or the tux style with a line down the side.

    The man leading the parade held a megaphone in his hand that was attached to a music player. It gave the whole thing a rather Tom Waits-y edge. Only one problem…he was walking backwards facing the double file line of processioners just as the third angry clown was getting out of the car. I watched in devilish amusement as the clown’s leg seemed to stretch across the entire sidewalk, red shoe and all.

    For a split second time stood still. The conductor hit the leg and had begun to fall, the faces of those he was leading started shifting from gleeful parade participants to shocked witnesses of tragedy. They were in the morphing stage, reminiscent of Jacob’s Ladder. It was a ripple effect. As recognition worked its way down the line, the conductor was still falling, the clown still getting knocked down, the birds flapping their wings in slow motion like it was some kind of John Woo film. Then time returned to normal speed. The procession leader hit the ground with a CRACK. I thought it was his head, but no, it was the megaphone. The music was still blaring, but with a touch of warble and the occasional shriek, a fitting soundtrack for the events as they unfolded.

    He took the clown with him, the now very angry clown. His posse of two were quickly at his side thumping their fists in their palms. “Send in the clowns!” reverberated in my head as they walked toward their prey. The people in black were in too much shock to be of any help.

    Just as the clowns seemed about ready to pummel him, a bobcat landed on top of the taco truck. Where the (expletive) had a (-ing form of prior expletive) bobcat come from?  I could’ve sworn it just dropped from the sky.



    I stared in amazement, more so in that no one noticed the bobcat. They were all too entranced by the soon-to-be clown funeral fight. My father would be mortified. If he told me once he told me a thousand times, “Never take your eyes off the bobcat!” Of course this makes so much more sense now then when I was trying to ride my bike for the first time.

    I started tapping people on the shoulder and pointing at the bobcat.

    This could end in serious bodily injury, but I didn’t care. I wanted my damn tacos, and pointing out the bobcat could cause people to leave the line.

    Abject horror greeted those people that had witnessed the over-sized pussycat. Terror gripped them and they were unable to move… I, however, was merely annoyed.

    The cat leapt from the truck causing it to rock back and forth a little. The bobcat went straight for the clown fight. The processioners were the first to notice, but they remained just as useless as they were before. As utter chaos expanded from that epicenter, people ran screaming from the taco truck line.

    I glanced over at the bobcat tearing clowns to pieces, but I didn’t want to lose my appetite. There were two diehard taco fans left in front of me…that’s when the hail started…

    Hail the size of marbles started coming down out of the sky like it was judgment day. Maybe God doesn’t like clown funeral fights so he tossed a cat and an old slurpee on them to break it up, or maybe I pissed him off with my earlier comment and he was proving me wrong. I dunno, but it was totally lame that I did not get my tacos.

    Instead I came home and drank a $20 bottle of Cabernet Franc:

    2010 Domaine de Pallus “Les Pensées de Pallus” Chinon



    92 points Wine Spectator

    “A very solid, muscular style, with a gutsy structure pumping along underneath the blackberry, black currant and roasted tobacco leaf notes. Broad and smoky through the finish, this features hints of violet and sweet tapenade. One for the cellar. Best from 2014 through 2020.”