La Poulette

Tastes like chicken.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Had I known, I'd have told him to stuff his phalic shaped pizza where the sun don't shine.

There was a certain pizza joint/drinking hole in a small Slovenian town that I would frequent occasionally back in the day. It so happened that I once spent New Years there with a friend. "Big town chicks" didn't often venture into this middle-of-nowhere small town and we were somewhat of an attraction. The principal pizza maestro at the place was a fellow from Montenegro who went by the name of "Crni Nuri" (Black Nuri) and who for some reason enjoyed presenting the two of us with phalic shaped pizzas (timidly abstract at first, but decisively more detailed as the night and the alcohol consumption wore on). By the end of the night, the patrons and the staff were all one big happy family and pint-sized, dentally challenged Crni Nuri was seated at our table drowning tequila slammers and recounting anecdotes. "Next time you want to get yourself a burek at the train station in Ljubljana" he said in lieu of farewell, a drunken leer in his eye, "tell 'em Crni Nuri sent you". I smiled politely trying to focus my eyes and prevent the room from spinning out of control. "You tell 'em" he insisted threateningly. "Everybody knows Crni Nuri!" - and off he trudged towards the snow-filled horizon. I took this to mean that these magic words would open up a world of free burek to my heart's content - and although I wasn't the biggest fan of this greasebomb, it didn't sound like such a bad deal nonetheless.
A couple of months later, a night of heavy drinking in the company of someone I was desperately trying to impress had a group of us shuffling towards the 24-hour burek pit-stop by the train station. I volunteered to be the one to stand in line to order and when the subject of my attention offered me money for his share, I waved his bills away breezyly, with a mysterious "don't worry - it'll be on the house", hopefully leaving him with the impression that he's in the company of the kind of chica who knows her way around. My turn came, I placed my order with the Burek man and added a meaningful drunk little "By the way, I'm a friend of Crni Nuri's".
Cue blank stare. "Who?".
My self-confidence wavered. Surely he hadn't heard me right. "Nuri? Crni Nuri? Erm.. he used to work here?"
It occurred to me that I wasn't even sure whether this was true. Burek man just stared at me as though I was the village idiot while the line behind me grew increasingly curious. "Will that be all?" he offered finally. The bored, impatient look in his eye - look little girl, I've got a bussiness to run here - convinced me that any further attempts at jogging his memory would be in vain and possibly only result in further humiliation. I mumbled something in the affirmative and dished out the last of my hard earned babysitting cash.
Back in the car I dealt out the greasy Burek's as though things had gone as smoothly as I'd planned and was appraised with newfound respect - yes, here was I girl who knew people in all the right places. My purse might have been empty, but I wasn't going to let the lying bastard by the unlikely name of Crni Nuri steal my thunder or spoil my reputation. Had I known then that good contacts aren't sufficient means for a girl to seek her way into a man's heart, I would have spared myself the bother.


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