They sat at a large round table that could have sat twelve people comfortably, right next to the water. It was a beautiful night with a waxing gibbous moon shining brightly overhead, its reflection bouncing almost as brightly off of the water in the bay. A second girl had been waiting for them at their table. Candy introduced her to Brig and the Buddha as “Kwai Ying,” or “Leng Ying (Translation: Pretty Ying). If you find her pretty,” Candy added playfully. Brig blushed because he did find her pretty. Moreover, he hadn’t been this close to a woman in over a year.
Uncle Po arrived at their table with four wine glasses and a bottle of red wine from the Great Wall vineyard in China. He uncorked the bottle and poured a small amount of the wine into a glass closest to the Buddha as three waiters arrived and unloaded plates of food on the Lazy Susan. The Buddha, who was talking with his guests, finally noticed Uncle standing to his side.
“Would you like to try the wine before I pour it for your guests?”
“Have we met?” the Buddha asked Uncle.
“Of course we’ve met! We’ve been friends for years!”
“Well then you should know I don’t drink grape wine, especially this nasty shit from China. Besides, if you offer me any alcohol that is less than 50 proof, you’re wasting my time!”
“Aiyah! Sorry. Sorry. It’s been so long since you’ve visited my humble restaurant that I forgot how much you like Maotai. I’ll be right back.”
Uncle Po disappeared as one dish after another was served and stacked in front of them. Oysters, geoduck, clams, crab, lobster, crawfish, scallops, shrimp, fish, eel – if it lived in the ocean, it was probably on their table. Uncle soon returned with a full bottle of Maotai, and two smaller plates he placed, with some fanfare, in front of Danny and Brig. On the plate was what Brig would have described as a large brown turd with spikes coming out of it. The Buddha explained that it was sea cucumber and that it was “good for men.”
“I’m supposed to eat that?” Brig asked.
“No, you’re supposed to wash with it,” Buddha replied sarcastically.
“I’m not sure there is enough Maotai in China to get me drunk enough to eat that. Perhaps one of the girls would like it?” He looked at Candy and Ying for help, who waved him off and scrunched their noses. They didn’t want it either. He pushed the plate away, towards the Buddha.
“Sister!” the Buddha scolded Brig. “Have you learned nothing? Where are your manners? It’s rude not to eat what I’ve prepared for you as my honored guest.”
“I’m guessing it’s even ruder, and more unpleasant for the rest of your guests, if I vomit over the other, more savory dishes.”
The Buddha picked up one of the sea cucumber with his fingers and dropped it into his mouth, chewing the sea creature with passion. Brig looked on with horror. The girls were laughing so hard they could barely contain themselves.
“Elder! You must try this! It tastes so good!”
‘Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie…’ Brig said to himself. Even if his friends spoke fluent English, they would’ve missed the Pulp Fiction reference.