The Pig and the Pulchritude

[I had a scary dream last night about Taf, the evil pig god. I seemed to recall writing about Taf years ago, and after searching through my archives I found it. From way back in 2004, I bring you this Hypey classic:]




the Hyperion Chronicles
“20 orphans were strangled to make this column”



#291 The Pig and the Pulchritude



Main Entry: pul·chri·tude

Pronunciation: 'p&l-kr&-"tüd,

Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin pulchritudin-, pulchritudo, from pulchr-, pulcher beautiful
: physical comeliness


This hasn’t been the best couple of weeks for me. Things keep going from bad to worse. You’ve had those periods, where everything is going wrong, and you keep waiting for the tide to turn but it doesn’t seem to? Then I made the mistake of saying, “Well, it can’t get any worse than this.” That was dumb.

So when Aslan called me Monday night and offered to buy me dinner, I was more than ready. We agreed on a trendy spot, because we’d heard good things about the food and the atmosphere. Okay, I’m lying. Those things were supposed to be great, but the main reason we wanted to try it was their reputation for only hiring the hottest waitresses.

“I’ve heard the pulchritude there is amazing.” Aslan said. (He always shows off by using big words like that.) I was momentarily concerned, since “pulchritude” sounded like some chicken-sacrificing ritual. But once I’d looked the word up and saw it meant hot girls, I was down.

I got there and Aslan was already waiting at a tastefully rich-looking table, talking to an unbelievably beautiful woman. I knew right away I did well to bring my pad of paper. Many of my observations were written that night at dinner, and appear in present-tense:

There are what appear to be space pods above me. They remind me of ships the Empire might fly in a convoy in Star Wars. They are round with a triad of elliptical thingies. (You’ll notice that you can tell I’m a professional writer by such literary phrases as “elliptical thingies.”)

Canada apparently discriminates in hiring practices. I have been to several restaurants (this is the most pronounced) where the wait-staff all look like lingerie models. I consider asking our server about it. I’ve already forgotten her name, but in my defense, it was really hard to pay attention to what she was saying, when she looks like she does.

The walls are strange. Most have a soft, almost hunting-lodge-meets-Ernie’s-in-Vertigo look. One wall looks like one of those German wood-cutting pictures, with a mosaic carved out of the mahogany paneling. The back wall has a row of booths, each with backs that go all the way to the ceiling, and with black curtains tied up between each opening. The possibilities are intriguing. I ask “Kylie” about it. (I asked her name again, this time looking at her reflection on the back of a spoon, so her beauty wouldn’t entrance me and make me forget.) Kylie said there have been several embarrassing moments. “You have to peel back the curtains, and I’m always worried about what I’m going to find.”

The most disturbing thing in the restaurant (besides the scarily good-looking staff) is a giant bronze pig up against one wall. The pig is at least four feet long and equally high, and has a diabolical expression on his face. Aslan says it reminds him of Napoleon the Pig in Animal Farm. “He’s just got that look of superiority, like he knows things we don’t.” That nails it.

What’s perhaps even more disturbing is that nobody appears to notice it. No one even glances at it. You would think that someone would be looking at the Pig, at least idly. Suddenly I get even more paranoid. Maybe people aren’t looking because they don’t want to draw attention to the fact that the Pig is their god.

I ask Kylie, and she feigns nonchalance. There is definitely a conspiracy afoot.

Right beside the Pig are five coat racks. They are cast-iron, and odd, to say the least. As Aslan and I look at them they start to look sinister. “They look like ancient Runes.” He says. I accuse him of reading one too many Forgotten Realms books, and also trying to be clever to get in the column. As I look further, though, I realize he may be right. Each coat hanger is supposed to be identical, but the shadows cast on the wall are each completely different. Aslan theorizes that maybe the shadows cast the Pig’s real name, and goes to work deciphering it.

At first, he thinks the Runes are in some sort of Ancient language, but that doesn’t yield anything. Aslan switches to English. This is what it looked like:




T-A-F



After much study we both come to the independent conclusion that the Pig-God’s name is TAF. His followers are perhaps legion. This will bear much further scrutiny.

I notice that each booth has one red square amidst the mahogany paneling. The red square is lit up; how, I don’t know.

“You just now noticed this?” Aslan asked.

“Well, with the pig and all the pulchritude and the curtains and those cool mirrors…” (I didn’t even get to that yet.)

Aslan just laughed: “And the Pig is the first thing you mentioned?”

I asked Kylie about the red squares: “Do you think they are trying to promote Communism?” (Think about it a minute.)

Kylie looked at me blankly. “I think you think too much.”

“No,” I said. “The problem is that others don’t think enough.”

The meal was scrumptious. I had a double-cut pork-chop, with fig and apple glace, penne alfredo, and rosemary roasted potatoes (the only thing not great, but maybe that’s because I’m used to mine, which are delicious). I felt a little weird eating the pork chop with TAF the Pig-god watching, but the chop was good enough to make it worthwhile.

After the meal we ordered dessert. I have to point out I am not a big dessert fan, and never eat it unless I am with other people. In this way I guess you could say I’m a Social Desserter. I wasn’t going to even mention it, but Aslan said what’s the point of going out to eat to try to cheer up if you don’t eat dessert? (And all the women said “Amen!”)

We asked Kylie what she recommended, because we figured anyone who works there would be familiar with what’s popular. Actually, that’s only partly true. It is a fact that men will blindly take the recommendation of a hot girl without reservation (but that’s another show). Kylie recommended the Chocolate Caramel Explosion, which according to the menu, was:

“chocolate pistachio brownie & chocolate mousse topped with caramel sauce with a wedge of chocolate pistachio brittle”

Kylie asked us if we were sharing. We just looked at her, and she brought out two desserts.

Sweet Fancy Marcus, were they good. I felt decadent as I took each succulent bite. Caramel coated the entire dessert like an eggshell. Underneath was the smoothest richest mousse I have ever tasted. It was so smooth, it should be called Elk instead of Mousse (‘cause everyone knows elks are the smoothest ones in the forest). Beneath the mousse was this thick, dense brownie, in the proudest tradition of brownies (and Girl Scouts) everywhere. Best of all, though, were these two pieces of brittle sticking out of the top, giving the dessert a “TV with antenna” look. I could have spent an hour just eating that brittle. Aslan and I both agreed we would strangle 20 orphans with our bare hands just to eat it again1.

So the food was good. The atmosphere was great. There was a lounge on the other side, with red-velvet booths and a piano-playing gargoyle (or so we are told), but as I have not had good experiences with piano-playing gargoyles, and because we were so happy where we were, we stayed put.

We were there late, talking of books, culture, philosophy; important things. We discussed the wonder that is kosher salt. We argued about whether Volume 1 or Volume 2 was better in Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits. Kylie told us about her college thesis, that kids learn math better with hands-on experiences. It was very interesting, although to be honest, she could have read the phone book and we would have paid attention. We even discussed…well, maybe I can’t share that here (but look for it in Hyperion X).

Mostly, though, we discussed TAF, the Pig-god. We tried to fill in some of the blanks of the TAF’s history. Not being followers, this was tough, but fun nonetheless.

All in all the night went pretty well, and was just what I needed. I got to see a cool new restaurant, with beautiful people, atmosphere, wonderful food, and a Pig-god I’m sure I’ll be thinking about for some time to come. I did regret not seeing the piano-playing gargoyle, but you can’t have everything.

Watch out for TAF,


Hyperion
March 31, 2004

Notes
1
We didn’t really do that. We were just saying we would.

Credits
Thanks to Aslan
Thanks to Kylie
Thanks to Vaida
Thanks to Bear
Thanks to Tootsie

1 comment:

jimmy jackson said...

Ok. Color of the curtains really matters. Black curtains may look good but in summer these black curtains will absorb heat and you may have some problems. So the curtains are selected according to the season.