Jim Milak
•Easy Sex the Hard Way

Kiki Mercury
•The Modernist Gift Guide
•Iranica/Opposite Day in Iran

Matthew Shultz
•Animals in Pornography

Eric Ottens
•A Message to You
•Japanese Hangover

Mike Toe
•Bob Chinn's Crab House
•Stream of Bowling Conscious Wood
•My Young Coconut Juice

John Dugan
•My Terrorist Romance
•Politics in Your Coffee

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Toe
My Young Coconut Juice

(continued from page 1)

In 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.

And 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 it’s 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 inserted.

Well, 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 that’s 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. It’s happening in someone else’s 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 wasn’t this coconut or its water. I am going to try this again. Whatever just happened, let’s move on, let’s forget it. Clean slate. I will swig this coconut water as if for the first time.

Holy Fucking Shit. Don’t! Don’t 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!!!

It’s like human skin. But not the warm, soft taste of (for example) a lover’s freshly bathed neck—this isn’t 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 summer’s day at the fishery with no time to wash up before leaving. It’s 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 bitter—inedible!)—like the bitter, astringent, wretched juice of a big, hard, green tomato—that 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!!!

I 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?

No.

Not true.

Its touch on my tongue is almost electric. Torturous. It’s the same thing as before. As the water. It’s the real thing. The horrifying, dirty fucking ass thing. But worse: This time it’s 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 that’s 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 violence.

I spend the next five minutes—stomach clenched, brow furrowed, sweating—pounding 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).

The 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, you’re 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.

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