One night, an acquaintance of mine, a darling girl named Miss Austin, decided to have a nice little sup with yours truly at a local bistro. It was a nice quiet, dimly lit spot with a decent menu. We were having a fine time from the start and conversation meandered delightfully from the history of bowling to the etymology of numerous words. It is always of interest to me what type of beverages others enjoy at various times of the day. For example, when someone struts from the bar brandishing a Bloody Mary in the evening hours it's simply fascinating. It's like watching one of these sidewalk artists, I believe that's what they call themselves, making some large piece of artwork on the sidewalk in every color of chalk one can imagine. It makes absolutely no sense in the world. An art that is worth making is worth keeping. A drink that is worth consuming is worth downing at the proper time of day. 

It was during our little get together at this bistro that I saw the perpetrator in question. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see, from our little table, some large and obnoxious looking drink being delivered to a nearby table. I had seen this travesty before in these parts. I believe they called the potion "Planter's Punch." While I'm not entirely sure about the Planter part of the equation, the punch became quite obvious to me, at another's cost mind you, in a short amount of time. 

The woman at the table to my right, who happened to be of a small build, short dark hair, and somewhat studious looking started out sipping the stuff. I noticed that the sips grew in length until the lady was unabashedly swilling the mix. And punch it did. The concoction put a heavy spell over this woman that one could detect from a city block away. The chap she accompanied ended up having to heave the dear up on shoulder to transport her back to their vehicle. The fellow was obviously embarassed about the entire situation, and I can not say that I blame him too much. One sets out to have a nice night out with a good friend or significant other (I could not tell from their painfully boring conversation which was the case), and out of nowhere, said friend allows themselves to get absolutely bolted from the hand of Zeus, allowing you to pick up the staggering pieces. Get to know your drinks. This is a rule to live by, and this dear girl was certainly out of class that fateful day. 

On the way out of the door, the fellow turned a sharp corner and the dear who was now impersonating a sack of drunken potatoes, found her legs being slung into the wall with a good bit of force. Now the chap didn't mean to do it of course, it was simply a consequence of the odd circumstances in which he landed. Unbeknownst to the now overly dressed passenger transport, one of his darling's shoes popped right off and went scooting under a table when he accidently bumped her slumbering tootsies into the wall. If he did notice the drop, he was playing a good dumb as he kept moving. This could be due to the fact that the smallish woman, who was now in some pleasant stupor judging from her massive grin and closed eyes, was not as miniscule as her company. He looked to be doing a good bit of struggling to keep the ship right from table to car. All in all, the chap did well except for the shoe, but it could've been much worse. 

"Know thy beverage." I offered up to my table partner as we witnessed the scene. As this drink now piqued my interest, I asked our waiter a bit about it. He told me that Planter's Punch is a local drink that really isn't seen much outside of the surrounding areas. Imagine that! A potion that has no desire or need to venture far from home. A local delight. This woman must not have been a local. We humans get to know our surrounding sweets. Like the cashew apple for example. It is that part of the cashew fruit between the plant and the nut. It is a local sweet in parts of Africa and now India since the plant's exportation. As a local love, it is taken in quickly and greedily by the native folk, throwing out any prospects of sharing the treat with the rest of the world. The cashew nut sees it's distribution, but due to the instability of the cashew apple during transit, it will remain a locals only snack, possibly forever. 

This prospect of the cashew apple staying put is fine with me, so long as my wonderful cashew nut keeps arriving from my secret source who sends me the difficult to find, very crunchy Viet Nam variety of cashew via post every month. "Do you like cashews?" I asked my lovely company. "Of course you silly goof!" she answered. This was an entirely fair statement as I can not imagine someone in the world turning down a cashew. If she would've said, "Goodness no, those are dreadful things!" I would have had to find a way to excuse myself. That is clear. Luckily, the delightful banter kept up. 

Nearly half an hour found its way elsewhere until I realized that the heaver had not come back for the shoe. I explained this to Miss Austin, who agreed that we should take the thing with us and somehow seek out its owner. Suddenly, I had plans for the next day, that is, plans apart from enjoying my pipes, reading a spell, and considering which bow tie I would have to order next from The Bow Tie Club. If there are three things that a fellow can not have enough of, it is pipes, cashews and bow ties. If only they would make a bow tie with little cashews on it. I suddenly imagined it. The bow tie would have to be a light blue to show the tan cashews quite nicely. Now I had two things to do the next day. Work on the missing shoe mystery, and speak to someone of importance at The Bow Tie Club about my cashew idea. I have no doubt that the success of the cashew bow tie would be crystal clear once they heard my volumes of backing evidence. 

At nine o'clock sharp, Miss Austin came calling and I knew what was on her mind. The shoe. I had no idea how we were going to look for the little drunk woman the next morning after she had shown her lack of beverage savoir-faire. I could not wait to see what kinds of plans Miss Austin had laid. I answered the door and she was holding the shoe delicately with both hands as if not wanting to injure the animal. "We had better get to work." I said. She agreed and soon we decided to stroll about and see if anyone we came across resembled our Cinderella. I wondered what we might say to her if we did spot her. Certainly the chances were not good as she was most likely a tourist passing through, and no matter tourist or not, she would most likely still be in a semi-coma at this time of the morning. Still, we progressed. A nice walk in the morning gave me time with a pipe anyway, so it was a truly win-win scenario. I would be bringing my Peterson Kildare with us and some Mac Baren Navy Flake tobacco. 

Once we were out of doors and my pipe was going good, Miss Austin handed me the little black high heel shoe as if she wanted me to do something with it--inspect it or something. I acted as if I knew precisely what it was she was asking and went to viewing it, close up at numerous angles. No doubt this show was impressing, not just to her, but to anyone walking past. We talked about the odds of finding the woman and somehow got 'round to talking about twins seperated at birth being reunited by accident years later and finding out they both liked peanut butter and both married a man named Ralph, or some such craziness. I made a mental note that this was not the first time Miss Austin hopped on the discussion of twins. It was a real hot topic for her for some reason. I began thinking about it, and I'm sure she had brought the subject up a dozen or so times previously. 

Just as I was about to confront Miss Austin with this newly uncovered information, we rounded a corner and the dear slipped on something in the sidewalk. Her action of slipping scared the Hoover out of me, as my mind immediately thought she was falling into one of these manholes with the suspicous looking covers. The poor girl took a real dip and my superb reflexes were such that I caught her by the elbow with one hand, kept her blue and tan skirt from touching the ground, and did not even disturb the contents of my pipe. This completely instinctual action was no doubt the modern day equivalent to saving a cave woman from a marauding mammoth. I felt on top of my game. So much so, that I immediately and with some temper, decided to seek out the wrong-doer in this situation. What made the dear stumble? 

I skimmed the area for hints, and not unlike a seasoned detective, found the culprit with amazing speed. It was, if I am using the right term, a bolt. It was a large bolt. This was the kind of bolt that one might use for holding together steel beams in the infrastructure of a large building. It was heavy duty, for sure. I'm not sure if I have ever been so enraged by an innanimate object in my entire life. The only time that I may have been more angry at a nonliving thing, was when the plastic container, the one I had bought at nothing close to a bargain, which was made to hold nothing in the world but deviled eggs, made an imperfect seal and caused my deviled eggs, which I had lovingly crafted for the annual pipe club barbecue, to lose their moisture and turn into something likened to hard rubber while in the refrigerator overnight. Why on earth would you not test out your product for problems prior to shipping them to folks like myself who are obviously in the market for quality items? I was not looking for a cheap way to store deviled eggs. I was looking for the correct way to store deviled eggs when I happened upon that substandard overpriced piece of rubbish. More than not, one gets no more than what is paid for, however, in this case I could certanly make a case otherwise. 

This bolt was hideous. It represented all of the people in the world who thought that it might be a fine idea to throw their spare bolts out of their car door window and onto the sidewalk giving no care whatsoever to the citizens traveling there. It also represented substandard deviled egg containers. I had a serious hold on the item now. My clinched fist held on tight as if the bolt might make a break for it. In my absolute fit of rage I threw the thing away from poor Miss Austin, who was now courteously saying, "I'm fine, I'm fine," even though I knew that at least her pride was bruised along with her ankle. 

Throwing bolts, I have learned, is not something someone ought to do without thinking. I imagine that if one is out in the middle of nowhere and there is an offending bolt around, it might be alright to chuck it, but you really should be in a forest or gun range kind of setting if you are going to do something as silly and careless as that. My instinct simply wanted the bolt as far away from my dear friend as possible. What I did not realize was that away from Miss Austin was also into traffic. The sound of shattering glass was startling. The sound of a very large man's voice saying mostly incomprehensible expletives at me was also startling. He apparently saw my pitch and it was his refurbished 1940s truck's windshield that acted as catcher for my throw. 

I had no idea, until that moment, how quickly a large man in overalls could leap out of an antique truck and be upon me, if such a large man wanted to do so. Now, a new kind of instinct kicked in. I have no doubt that it was the old British blood. We are, you know, quite known for keeping our gentlemanly ways about us until the last moment when they must be cast off in the name of justice. This was the Psych 101 textbook case of fight or flight, and fight it was going to be! I could hear the patriotic war songs of my youth in my ears, I could see the Union Jack in the distance, reassuring my bravado and with pipe firmly clenched in teeth, no man ever put up such a noble fight with a single high heel shoe in the history of mankind. It was as if the high heel shoe was suddenly a part of me, an extension of my armor, an extension of my self. I was suddenly master of the high heel and somehow knew how to use it with effectiveness as well as panache. Within moments, my Goliath was on the ground, his now unmanned antique truck still idling and beginning to cause a traffic backlog. I looked wide eyed at Miss Austin who was now nearly as pale and almost as surprised as I was. Her words of wisdom were, "Karl, my God, the shoe, oh, ohhh." To this I retorted, "My place!" Together we dashed and squealed the way school children do, (actually, the way little girl school children do, as their shrieks I believe might be higher), when they truly believe that a monster is pursuing them even though a few moments later they find it is only the drunken janitor. 

Our incredibly high pitched yelping did not stop until we were near my house. I think we both felt it necessary to be quiet at this point to keep the questioning at a minimum. Once inside, we panted open mouthed for a good fifteen minutes until a more normal breathing rhythm took over. Our eyes fell upon the weapon together. The heel was missing. Our paranoia got the better of us as we decided that it would be most prudent to incinerate the article immediately. Never had my esteemed Colibri lighter been used to light up anything but fine tobacco. Today was the exception. Nothing seemed to calm our nerves no matter how hard we tried. Then I remembered that my latest tin of special order Vietnamese cashews had just arrived. Together, we sampled a good amount of the heavenly treats and to our relief, the Vietnamese cashews had an incredible calming effect. After just a few minutes of masticating the crunchy wonders, we were able to carry on post heel in a normal, civil and right minded way. 

From The Diary of KES, written by 
—Olie Sylvester 
Baron, International Oom Paul Society of Non-Typicals

AuthorOlie Sylvester