Thursday, November 22, 2007
Here is an excerpt from Paul Bibeau's Sundays With Vlad, published by Three Rivers Press in October. While this book doesn't meet our criteria for review (there's no local angle), I felt it was humorous enough to share.
He writes, "My book, Sundays With Vlad started out as a Maxim article about the failed Dracula theme park in Romania, but it became a rich and strange meditation on globalization, crime, and the horrors of funnel cake. Parade Magazine named it their pick of the week, and Bookfetish declared that 'it's so damn funny that you won't even realize that you learned something.'" Check it out at www.vladlives.com.
Funnel cake is never a good idea. But you don't remember that, and you fool yourself every time. It comes out of the dark screened window hot on the plate, dusted like an early morning frost. And the first bite is crisp and rich and full of memories of every carnival you ever saw, knocking the milk bottles over on the first try and hefting that impossibly large stuffed panda out from the booth and giving it to your best girl. The first bite satisfies you in a way that nothing has in years. Funnel cake should come in pill form. You'd take one every Monday morning to replenish your youth and wonder and get you through your workweek.
But funnel cake doesn't come in pills. It comes in one size only: a hot greased chunk as big as your head. And while the first bite is wonderful, the second bite is where you realize you've just eaten a handful of Crisco and cake frosting. The second bite reminds you that the milk bottles were welded together, and you didn't have a best girl… just a carny giving you the eye.
He pulled the lever to lock you into a Tilt-a-Whirl that looked like it was made out of scrap iron, and as it whipped around faster and faster you saw the fat kid two seats over begin to make ominous, silent heaving motions…
The first bite is Ronald and Bozo and Red Skelton. The second bite is the Joker and John Wayne Gacy. And after that one, there are more. Acid burns the back of your throat, but you can't stop, can you? You hunch over to keep the sugar from blowing away, and you know you have to finish. So you do the only thing you can. You grab your friend, your relative. Someone close. Someone you love. And you betray them.
"Here," you say, giving them half, "help me."
Like a family of junkies, you huddle together feeling hateful and sick. And if you recover, you promise yourself you won't ever eat this crap again. Like any addict you lie, and when you can't lie anymore, you make yourself forget.