Saturday, January 14, 2006

Cosmopolitan, Baby

People are always coming up to me and asking, "Joe Gola, are you cosmopolitan or what?" One has to chuckle, and of course my response is always the same. "Are you crazy? I'm practically the most cosmopolitan person you ever heard of. Don't even start with me already." Yes, it's true: blindfold me, stuff me in a trunk, pay a fortune to customs for exporting awesomeness out of the country, and mail me to any point on the globe, and ten will get you twenty that within two hours of arrival I will be cooling my heels at the swankiest cocktail party in the nation and sneaking squeezes of the springy dewdrop derrière of an ambassador's niece. "Ah, no no, cheri, you are too, too bold...."

Just to prove my point I will let the reader in on the secret that as recently as last weekend I traveled south from my country seat in Connecticut to the bustling burg of Brooklyn USA in order to cross swords in games of chance with no less a personage than Morgan Dontanville. What's that? Haven't met Morgan? Lower your voice darling, someone might hear. Surely you know sisteray of BGG, noted wit and raconteur, soon-to-be-published author of Spectral Rails and Recess? The world famous horse trainer, the importer of rare and fabulous manuscripts, the man who knocked up Princess Rajneesha on the night of her father's coronation?

In honor of Morgan's recent engagement to the winsome and tolerant Alice X, I arrived at his Brooklyn pied-à-terre carrying a four-foot ice sculpture of Leda and the swan, which, after our hearty salutations, was transferred to the sink. I was told that the fiancée and future brother-in-law were yet recovering from an all-night Battlestar Galactica marathon, and so it was decided that we would pass the time quietly with a game of Michael Schacht's Gods. It was a nice homemade copy of the print and play version, and it seemed to have a certain aura about it, a charismatic sheen, if you will, as if it had passed through the hands of greatness....

I was warned by Morgan that the people of Brooklyn are, as a rule, slow to stir on weekend mornings, as the winter nights are long and boozy, but we had barely scuffed the rules before we were handed the calling cards of two more noble gents, Sir Larry Chong and Jon Squires esquire. Larry, as the reader is no doubt aware, was a world-class breakdancer in his youth, and he only lost the championship in '83 because of a freak rotator cuff disintegration that happened during his infamous "Tweezing the Crease" move. That particular breakdancing maneuver has been since condemned by the Surgeon General and is no longer allowed in tournament competition, though of course it is still often attempted, with similarly disastrous results, in the numerous unsanctioned matches that take place in South America and the Ukraine. And Mr. Jon Squires? Witty, urbane, deadly. He wore a jaunty sherpa hat which my contacts in Bangkok tell me was taken off of a newly severed head as a trophy. He did not have his machete with him, thank God, or I would have been terrified to reach for the crackers; more than one hand has been lost to the Squires reflexes acting on their own. In any event, it was to be a quartet.

So, to the game. We each represented divinities trying to woo the mortals of the world to our worship. Temples were erected, villagers awed, whirlwinds and lightning unleashed. Halfway through Larry decided that he had been picked on by the table once too often and so demonstrated his outrage in interpretive breakdance. It was an emotional moment, with one particularly reproachful headspin causing the group to gasp in alarm, and several stacks of magazines were toppled in the process. However, heartfelt apologies were made and accepted and we pressed on. In the end, Morgan's cagy tactics and tile-flipping skill won the day. Bravo!

By this time we had been joined not only by the daylight-shy Alice and her brother Jack, but also by a mysterious and unpredictable man known only as Doktor Glaze. While we finished up our game the Doktor was loudly munching away on some sort of Jamaican cabbage patty, groaning with joy over the savory delight. Despite the fact that "Jamaican cabbage patty" also happens to be the name of a costly and immoral service which can only be provided by a specially trained escort who knows how to use a floor waxer, my stomach began to rumble quite noisily. It was agreed that those of us who had struggled along unnourished would cross the street for bagels and eggs; as we left the Doktor was dousing the heat of the zesty Caribbean spices by slurping water off the melting bosom of Leda.

The trip to the delicatessen was an adventure in itself, as a large plastic Santa Claus was looming in the rear of the store with a tantalizingly mysterious power cord issuing from his rear. I was content to ignore the thing, but Morgan, impulsive as a puppy, asked the proprietors if he could plug in the mechanical Kringle. They assented, and so Morgan electrified Santa and we were all treated to something...odd. The animatronic elf suddenly began twitching in every direction like a jolly epileptic, and a speaker buried within his chest started playing back a recording of a tinny Christmas carol as its mouth jerked open and shut in time to the music. Strangely, the statue had no legs, but rather the hips were connected directly to the ankles, and what was particularly offensive was that those hips were rolling and thrusting in a bawdy bump and grind not at all in keeping with the holiday spirit. I put a dollar in Santa's belt and Larry started break dancing to the music until the store owners threw us out.

On the way back in I unknowingly slammed the door in the face of a new arrival, a country lord from the land of Jersey, a Sir Gil Hova, also sometimes known by the moniker of Ingredient X. Gil and I knew each other from online discourse, and Gil informed me that I looked nothing like he had pictured me, which was as a Puerto Rican hunchback with a cape. He then proceeded to tell us all a story which prominently featured the phrase "fatty apron"; this was a new piece of vocabulary for me and I'm hoping to toss it off casually at a few cocktail parties this weekend. If I can somehow work it into a story involving a Jamaican cabbage patty I may even start a riot.

After one more late arrival by a man who shall only be referred to as "The Butterscotch Fog," our group numbered nine, and it was decided to attempt a playing of the two-board extravaganza Fische Fluppen Frikadellen. Doktor Glaze, Gil, Jon and I sat at one table, and Morgan, Alice, Jack, Larry and The Fog circled the other. Jon tied on his lucky sherpa hat and we began.

First: faring far and fro for fetishes. Gil finds fame filching fricassee as Jon in fleece fedora fondles fennel feloniously. Glaze farts out a fanfaronade (fault of flatulence: cabbage fermentation) followed by frenetic finagling. I ferry fish, flabbergasted from foofaraw. Finances fading and firewater futures fragile as frosty ficticious fertilzing fowl flows into fluid. Faster and faster! Foreigner Morgan floats in on frigate and flies forward feet first, followed by Fog flashing funds. Frantic fencing by franchises! Finally Fog finishes. Fudge!

Sadly, at that point I had to return to the bosom of my family, and so I kissed Leda on her rimy rump, said adieu, and pointed myself towards the fair fields of Connecticut. However the important thing is this: if anyone asks you if Joe Gola is cosmopolitan, you straighten your tie, dust off your coat, look him square in the eye and say, "Joe Gola who?"

9 comments:

sodaklady said...

Joe, you are definitely a storyteller of the first rank. So here's to Joe Gola: he's cosmopolitan and rank! ;)

gamesgrandpa said...

I know my gaucherie is showing, but would you autograph a copy of your latest book for me? Please? Oh, I need the name of your book and the publisher -- I assume you are PUBLISHED. If not, you should be!

LOL, as usual....

Yehuda said...

Fun and fabulous.

Yehuda

Coldfoot said...

(chanting) Go Joela. Go Joela.

DWTripp said...

I laughed, I cried, I blew my nose.

Truly a tale of upscale behaviour in a high brow setting.

Joe Gola said...

Aw shucks. Thank you kindly.

Anonymous said...

Single best thing I've ever read on this blog.

tpancoast said...

Anyone know where I can get a Jamaican Cabbage Patty?

ronlee said...

wow!