Sharon and the Falafel

by

04/24/2005

215 West 4th Street ny ny 10014

Neighborhood: Greenwich Village

The rain smelled like spring. It was different than winter rain. We got caught in it, my friend Sharon and I.

She asked the guy at the counter to taste a falafel to see if it was good enough. She had just been to Israel and knew her falafel from her ass, she told me. He had trouble understanding. “Taste?” “Try?” “Sample?” He repeated. Finally he nodded, and the fryer went on.

Sharon was over by the refrigerator looking disgusted at their drink selection. Sharon is disgusted at everything. To her, disgust is a virtue. She does it well. When she spits and curses, angels get their wings.

I leaned on the counter and worked my nonchalance.

He dropped it on the floor – just for a second – when it came out of the fryer. The two behind the counter laughed quickly and surreptitiously before putting it on a plate. It had taken so long to fry. They couldn’t do it again. No one saw, the look said. Sharon didn’t see.

The place was filthy.

Sharon tasted it, decided it was no good and went for a slice instead. I ate the rest of it. “Are you gonna eat that?” I’d asked.

We went to pay at the counter and they tried to charge her 75 cents for the falafel in addition to the slice. She argued for a while and I stood next to her. She reached for her wallet finally, defeated.

“She’s not paying for something you dropped on the floor!” I broke in. Sharon was shocked by my ingenuity. She thought I was telling stories again. “You know I saw you do it!”

They looked at me perplexed — I had eaten the whole thing. I explained, I was hungry and I’m a filthy person, so I ate it. “But we’re not going to pay for it!”

“For you,” they pointed to Sharon, “75 cents.”

“For you,” they pointed to me, enamored by the depths of my sinking, “from now on is free.”

“This one’s on me,” I said nonchalantly, urging her to put away her wallet.

As we reentered the rain, Sharon admired my ability to rouse, my storytelling, my escapes. The rain washed my face almost clean. I explained there was no ability. That I had a prescient feeling about that falafel, that I knew something might go down in the end. I saw the falafel drop, and I had looked away quickly, deciding on a course of action. Sharon was nonplussed that I had let her eat it. That I had thrown the whole remainder in my mouth–but I was thinking…

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