Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Bubs Interview: Part One

Chicagoland cop and freak fetishist Bubs has turned the tables on me after my award-winning interview with him last month. As is the custom these latter days, Bubs provided me five interview questions. Today we start with Question Number One.

Bubs: I found several mentions of a character known as "Poor George" throughout the CPW archives, but I'm not sure when, exactly, he appeared in your life. Did you two, as they say in Hollywood, "meet cute"? Or is it just a boring story that you don't want to bother us with?

CP: Although he is certainly a character to speak of, Poor George is not simply a figment of our collective imagination as some of you may expect, but is in fact a real person who lives and breathes. Whether he is a bona fide child of Mama Gin or, as he claims, the long-lost heir to one noble Anastasia Beaverhausen is still a matter in dispute.

I don't know what it means to "meet cute," although I can tell you that PG and I were "properly introduced" by my cousin Michael - which is probably the first "proper" thing that whore has ever done in his life. Our heartwarming tale begins at Christmastime in 1997, shortly after I had moved to the East Coast to attend law school in Washington DC. Michael had invited me to come up to New York to go on a road trip with him and his friend George for the holidays. I graciously accepted.

After my last final exam at Georgetown, I rode up to New York on the train and stayed overnight with a former flame of mine, where we succumbed to temptation and rekindled our extremely stale romance just for that evening. What can I say; the cocktails at dinner were strong.

The next day I hung out in the East Village where my friend lived, did some sightseeing, and in the late afternoon took the subway out to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn where Michael's friend George lived. This was my first time in Brooklyn, and I enjoyed my walk from the subway to his house where I passed various groups of people speaking their thick Brooklynese: "Whaddya tawlkin 'bout?" and that sort of thing. Charming.

I approached the brownstone that George shared with his parents - he in one apartment and the parents in another. I had no idea which apartment was his, so I just picked a doorbell and rang it. A nice looking Chinese-American man opened the door.

"Hi, are you George?"

He looked at me kind of weird and then said "I think so."

"I'm sorry, I didn't know which bell was yours. I hope I didn't disturb your parents."

"It doesn't matter. God, you sure brought enough luggage," he said, referring to the two reasonably sized black bags at my side. "Come on in. I'll take one of these for you. Here, you carry the heavy one." He thrust my rolling suitcase at me and proceeded into the dark entryway.

"We have to go down these stairs. Watch yourself, some of them are a little tricky."

I saw what he was talking about as we started down the narrowest staircase I had ever seen. I almost fell forward three times due to the extreme downward slant of several of his steps.

"Nice place you have here," I said as we entered a long narrow room almost completely devoid of natural light. Probably because he had a 26 inch TV squarely blocking one of the only windows in the room.

"Take your shoes off. I just installed these tiles and I don't need you getting black streaks all over them."

"Ok." Reasonable enough request, although I might have simply suggested removing the shoes rather than throwing about thinly veiled pre-offense accusations. I opened one of my bags and extracted a nicely wrapped box, which only I knew contained delicious Frango Mints from Marshall Fields that my mother had sent me for Christmas.

"Here George, this is for you to thank you for your hospitality." He took the package, briefly glanced at it and tossed it down on top of the radiator.

"Thanks," he replied. "I'm busy making dinner for my father. You can come up to my parents' kitchen if you want." I complied, and followed George back upstairs.

We entered his parents' apartment and went into the kitchen where my cousin was sitting at a small round table with George's father, Johnny. George walked over to a large cooking stove with an enormous wok built right into it and resumed his dinner preparations.

"Georgie cook like me!" his father said proudly. "He don't cook like mother. She terrible. Everything he learn, because of me!" He cackled loudly, and I decided I liked Johnny immediately. He got up from his seat and said "come, you follow me, I show you my house."

He hobbled into a living room just off the apartment's kitchen. "This my wife, Georgie mother. Her name 'How Gin.'" He was referring to a diminutive woman sitting on the end of a crumpled futon sofa. She appeared to stare at a blank TV screen about five feet in front of her.

"Hello, my name is Tom. It's very nice to meet you." Mama Gin looked up slightly confused and limply accepted my outstretched hand.

"Where you mother and father?" she said.

"They're at home, in Chicago. I'm just here on vacation." She made no reply, and resumed staring into the blank screen.

Johnny ushered me back into a carpeted sitting room near the front of the house. "Here, I show you picture. Last year we celebrate, we marry fifty year." He opened a photo album containing pictures of an elaborate banquet with Mama Gin and himself seated at a large round table surrounded by ten other people and mounds of delicious looking food. Mama Gin had on makeup in the picture and looked somewhat normal. Boy was I in for a surprise.

"This restaurant, I know them well. I deliver food to them years ago. They do very good banquet for me." He continued to turn the pages, offering random comments to describe various photos.

"You know, I have cancer. Prostate cancer. But it no get me. I a survivor!" Johnny laughed again, beaming with enthusiasm and energy.

"Well I'm glad to hear that. I'm glad you have George here to help you with that."

"Right. Now, I rest. You go talk Georgie now."

I went back into the kitchen. George had gone back down to his apartment to get something, so I sat down at the table to talk to my cousin.

"Careful, don't spend too much time talking to his parents. They're really weird," Michael said.

"Weird how?"

"Just weird, you'll see. How was your trip?" George returned from downstairs. Michael and I continued talking to catch up, making an effort to include George in the conversation. I told them about finishing up my final exams, riding the train up to New York, writing all my Christmas cards on the train and about the amorous reunion with my old friend the night before. George snorted and remained silent.

When dinner was prepared, George called his parents into the kitchen to eat with us. Johnny appeared in the doorway, unaccompanied by Mama Gin. "Georgie mother no eat now. She eat later. She never like eat with people." He sat down with us.

George placed a small bowl of rice in front of each of us, and then at the center of the table a chicken and vegetable stir fry, a plate of sauteed leafy greens and a large poached ocean bass covered with ginger and scallion. My mouth watered at the mere sight.

George and Johnny carefully instructed Michael and me on the procedure for eating the fish, which consisted of reaching onto the serving plate with your chopsticks and using them to loosen the fleshy white meat before transferring it to your own bowl of rice.

"George, this is absolutely delicious!" I exclaimed, reveling in the strange and wonderful new flavors. "How on earth did you learn to make a fish like this?"

"I tell you, from me!" Johnny replied. "I have to teach him everything. Mother not cook." He giggled again before sucking an entire stalk of juicy greens into his mouth, barely assisted by his chopsticks. "Georgie cooking very good. He learn from me."

We proceeded through the remainder of George's wonderful meal. At one point I dropped one of my chopsticks on the floor, and picked it up to wipe it off. George grabbed both chopsticks from me and threw them into the sink. "You never replace just one chopstick, it's bad luck." He reached over into a drawer and handed me a fresh pair. "Here, and stop eating all the fish. Save some for the rest of us, please."

He was cute, but he sure had a mouth. He also didn't seem to care for me very much.

to be continued...


jin said...

EEEEeeee! *jin squeals*
Please continue soooon!

I'm dying to know what happens!

(I'm also dying to hear if PG agrees with your telling of the story...heehee.)

lulu said...

That sounds like the Poor George I know and love.

Flannery Alden said...

Excellent story! I hope the next installment is soon...

Tanya Espanya said...

Slurp, hungry now!

GrizzBabe said...

I can't wait for the rest of the story! I'm interested in seeing what eventually brought you two to where you are today.

jewgirl said...

this is such a sweet yarn. when will it be continued???? this is a fabulous love story. it's so not a love story, which is why I love it so.

jewgirl said...

ps: don't forget to tell us how poor george got the nickname poor george ;)

Beth said...

What a great story! Did Stephen McCauley write it?

Dale said...

And this is just part one of question one? Wow! Great start and now I want to know if you kept mowing through all the fish!

lulu said...

ummm CP? Did Beth just mention Stehen McCauley? I knew I liked her for some reason.

Bubs said...

Installments! Brilliant--we get your interview a little at a time, with anticipation building between each new post. I can't wait to see more!

Two things:

1) I LOVE any meeting that involves food, and this had me hungry, and

2) Here is the definition of "meeting cute" from wikipedia:

One of the conventions of romantic comedy films is the contrived encounter of two potential romantic partners in unusual or comic circumstances, which film critics such as Roger Ebert[2] or the Associated Press' Christy Lemire[3] have called a "meet-cute" situation. During a "meet-cute", scriptwriters often create a humorous sense of awkwardness between the two potential partners by depicting an initial clash of personalities or beliefs, an embarrassing situation, or by introducing a comical misunderstanding or mistaken identity situation. Sometimes the term is used without a hyphen (a "meet cute"), or as a verb, as in "to meet cute."

Writeprocrastinator said...

First, before I even read the post...W...T...F? What's up with the pic, "Lizzy Borden Con 2007" in Redhook?

Writeprocrastinator said...

Oy vey gevalt! You...turkey, how could you not finish this? Ah, man, I mean, we pretty much know about the happy ending, but you went cliff-hanger on us.

Bubs said...

BTW, CP, I was NOT expecting to see a picture of us from Halloween topping your post.

writeprocrastinator, that was me and MizBubs as Lizzie Borden and her dad on our way to a Halloween party last year.

Chris said...

Don't leave us hanging too long, CP! Inquiring minds want to know...

Dino aka Katy said...

oh cool finally another mother gin and poor george story

Tenacious S said...

I'm about to tear up. This is possibly one of the sweetest stories I've ever heard, even with Mama Gin in it. CP, the care youa re taking telling this tale shows how much you must love George. You don't remember this kind of detail about things you don't care about.

PG said...

Dear Kind Readers:

Please be so kind to keep in mind that the CP is prone to crippling inactivity whereby he plants himself in front of the TV and watches CMFTVMs until I need to chip the solidified glaze from his retnas.
(CMFTVM = Cheesy Made For T.V. Movies). The household of the PG family is NOT like a bad episode of American Girl, but more like the Courtship of Eddie's Father fused with the Get Smart episode with the villian "the Craw".

Grant Miller said...

But when did George become "Poor George?"

Anonymous said...

I thought I'd comment just so you know that I'm still reading your blog, although I'm living dangerously by reading it at work and even at the reference desk (it's a slow Friday afternoon), where the general public might see! Anyway, when are Poor George and you going to come for a visit? I haven't heard from Michael for a long time either. Is he okay, alive and well? Love to all three of you. George sure puts up with a lot. Did I mention that I sent the horse to live in a boarding stable? We decided that she just doesn't like men in general. She even attacks the trainer, although she waits until his back is turned. It turns out she can't differentiate between gay men and straight men after all. She just disrespects all men. Sigh.

Your Cousin Cathy

Coaster Punchman said...

My Gentle Readers will be interested in hearing how your horse bit me; if you have have no objections, Cathy, I will blog that story one day.

Hope to have a sequel up this weekend.

George became "Poor George" on this very blog, when he started commenting in a brazen effort to gain sympathy from my Gentle Readers. Looks like it is working to some extent, but don't let that meek little Asian boy act fool you.

Anonymous said...

Boy, that was a fast response! I only had time to find a few videos and one book for library patrons. Sure, feel free to blog the horse biting you. But of course, she was only trying, in the only way she knows, to get you to come back and pet her some more.

I too am waiting breathlessly for the sequel, and hope to eat some of George's cooking again one day.


chelene said...

This part of the story cleared up so many things for me, CP. I can't wait for part deux.

Johnny Yen said...

So wait-- do you and George ever actually eventually end up meeting and falling in love in this story? You must, because you did...

Writeprocrastinator said...

"that was me and MizBubs as Lizzie Borden and her dad on our way to a Halloween party last year."


You look dashing with the Amish-style beard and covered in blood. You are one suave psuedo-corpse.

SkippyMom said...


My fingernails won't last....

C'mon! Honestly, this was a great beginning story and it is nice to know you and PG are so happily ensconced now....

So let's get to the "when George almost turns nice/I put up with his indifference" to fall in love segment!


[and the lizzieborden...nice touch!]

Old Lady said...

I love this! I am full of anticipation.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for part 2, excellent post but please finish....