Young Coconut Juice
from page 1)
the few minutes that I must wait, I get so excited about the
idea of coconut-y decadence that Thai Iced Coffee no longer
even exists for me now.
then I receive a whole Young Thai Coconut, filled to the brim
with Juice, which appears to be the very coconut water that
I have just convinced myself it could never be. Or maybe its
just water. Water that cost me as much as an appetizer. Served
in a very squat, very fat, whittle-sharpened pencil of a very
large, flat-bottomed, hairless tan cylinder, with its sharp
point of a top sliced open (but not off) to make a flip-top
lid, into which a curly-beverage straw has been light-heartedly
perhaps Young coconut water is not the same as
adult coconut water
I take an eager swig and learn that
this is very true. But thats not necessarily a good
thing. What is this feeling I am feeling? I think it is shock.
Once, I accidentally stabbed myself in the leg (the knife
slipped) and everything instantly became a dream, the event
itself and its immediate results, the knife in my leg, the
gushing torrent of blood pouring out all over everything,
the eventual throbbing pain, all, not really happening. Denial.
Its happening in someone elses dream, maybe, but
not here, not now, not to me. That is what I am feeling now.
Especially the denial part. Whatever just happened, it was
a mistake. Something was wrong, something went wrong somewhere,
but it wasnt this coconut or its water. I am going to
try this again. Whatever just happened, lets move on,
lets forget it. Clean slate. I will swig this coconut
water as if for the first time.
Fucking Shit. Dont! Dont panic. Suppress, must
suppress the retching, must suppress the loud scene, the ugliness.
Close my eyes, gather myself together. This is real, really
happening, all too real: This gnarly shit tastes exactly like
ass!!! Bad ass!!! The worst ass!!! Really, it does!!!
like human skin. But not the warm, soft taste of (for example)
a lovers freshly bathed neckthis isnt even
the not-unpleasant taste of salt that you get when you accidentally
touch your lips and tongue to the back of your hand while
wiping sweat off of your face during a sporting activity.
This is the flavor of the center of the grungy palm of your
hand after you have spent two hours getting home on the most
grueling, crowded to overflowing, urban public transportation
(a bus, and then the subway, and then another bus) after a
long hard hot summers day at the fishery with no time
to wash up before leaving. Its a flavor that is at first
mild (and therefore insidious) with a sour-metallic, dirty,
musky staleness, like a mouthful of powdery black mold spores.
It is like the juice of a totally immature unripe fruit (whose
idea was it to eat an immature fruit anyway?! everyone knows
that unripe fruit is rock hard and bitterinedible!)like
the bitter, astringent, wretched juice of a big, hard, green
tomatothat has long ago gone rancid. It tastes like
the dark place that has no name, and from which no one ever
returns. Like ass. Like horrible, dirty, man-ass!!!
tried to remain very calm. I tried not to draw the attention
of others. I tried not to retch. I saw something that might
take my mind off my troubles: the fresh young coconut flesh
itself. I already knew that coconut water is not meant for
human consumption (ask any professional chef). And yet the
existence of this water in a common adult coconut does not
make the flesh of that coconut any less delicious, does it?
So why should this dirty ass-water do so to this coconut?
Besides, the fact that this coconut was filled to the brim
(when common adult coconuts are only about one-quarter full)
leads me to believe that this water has only just now been
added to this coconut (the water is probably kept in filthy
used oil drums in the back alley, the coconut into which it
will be served is probably taken out of a refrigerator shortly
before serving, sliced open, then filled with the contents
of the oil drums), and that, therefore, its vileness has no
bearing on the coconut flesh itself. Perhaps the flesh of
this young Thai coconut is even delicious, in spite of this
(shudder) horrifying water that it surrounds?
touch on my tongue is almost electric. Torturous. Its
the same thing as before. As the water. Its the real
thing. The horrifying, dirty fucking ass thing. But worse:
This time its creamy. (Because the young flesh is soft,
not crunchy-hard like the adult flesh is.) Creamy and thick.
Thick and creamy and greasy, like a mouthful of chilled lard.
The kind of creamy, thick, greasiness thats very difficult
to remove all traces of from the tongue and mouth. Which is
what I am now trying desperately to do. To do without retching,
without too much loud retching, without too much disturbing
spend the next five minutesstomach clenched, brow furrowed,
sweatingpounding the complimentary iced tap water that
I have also been given and chewing stick after stick of Orbit
gum, which I was fortunate enough to have brought with me
(spitting out each piece as soon as it is fully saturated
with the coconut flavor, then quickly stuffing a new piece
in and repeating).
waitress then arrives with my first appetizer. I had pushed
the big dinner plate holding the Young Thai Coconut and its
Juice to the furthest possible opposing edge of the table,
removed the curly straw, and closed the flip-top lid (because
I knew that if I so much as glanced again at the liquid, I
would heave), so the waitress assumes that I have completed
the consumption of this beverage. But, in the surprise that
occurs after she has prepared her bicep for the light weight
of an empty papery shell of a coconut only to then unexpectedly
subject it to the heavy bowling-ball weight of a coconut filled
to the brim with ass-water, she freezes for just an instant.
In that instant, I see her begin to express, and then rapidly
suppress, a look of oh, youre apparently not done
yet, so perhaps I should set this back down? She steels
herself, then the instant is over: With great tact, she manages
to restore her arm and her torso and their planes of movement
to the precise points they were at before the surprise had
occurred, seamlessly continuing her original gesture as if
it had never been interrupted, rapidly sweeping the coconut
off of the table and out of my site. No, this is certainly
not the first barely-consumed Young Coconut Juice that she
has removed from a table here.