1. A feast for the eye
2. Morning madness
3. Everyone needs help sometimes
I’ve always been of the opinion that chocolate was the perfect food, morning noon or night, and to tell the truth, I don’t care too much what kind of chocolate it is. I can make a midnight snack out of a cup of cocoa with marshmallows or ease the morning madness with a Hershey bar (with almonds, of course) as I fly out the door. But I think my cousin Maria is even worse than I am. I’ve known her to put chocolate chips on a pepperoni pizza. A feast for the eyes, those little brown blobs among the slices of grease, but not really to my taste.
As I remember, Maria always was kind of an odd duck. When we were in high school, she chose to buck the fashion trends by shaving her head and applying Mickey Mouse decals to the bared surface. Her mother disapproved.
But one thing about Maria. She was always ready for fun. Sometimes her enthusiasm spilled over onto me and I found myself in situations I would never have contemplated. Still, by college days we were the best of friends.
“Come on, Sue,” she told me, talking a mile a minute as usual late one Friday night. “It’s only about an hour and a half to Fremont, and I’ve heard there’s a place there we can get into without even faking ID’s. It’ll be fun!”
It’ll be fun. That was the phrase that most often caused me trouble when it emanated from her smiling mouth. However, I could drive and she couldn’t, at least not legally, and all too often I went along with the latest scheme.
“I don’t know,” I told her that night. “It doesn’t sound like the kind of place I normally go.”
“Nothing is the kind of place you normally go, Sue. That’s your problem. You don’t go anywhere, you don’t meet any people, you don’t experience life! One night on the town won’t kill you, and besides,” (there was that smile again) “I’ll be right there with you.” Now there was a thought guaranteed to restore my confidence!
“But it’s already after ten and I have a Saturday class early tomorrow. And after that I have to be at work. Some of us do have jobs, you know. And I think I’m getting a headache,” I added, pulling out all the excuses rambling around in my head.
“That’s okay. Here’s an aspirin.” She focused on the one part she could alter and handed me a packet from the voluminous pouch she always carried. “That will take care of the headache before we even go two miles. Be sure to bring a coat if you never got your car window fixed.” She was up and out the door and halfway to my old Ford before I realized that I was following her. By the time we neared Fremont, I was sorry I’d neglected the bring-a-coat part of her little speech. The wind through the busted back seat window whistled and swirled around us. This trip was already turning into a typical Maria adventure and we hadn’t even reached our destination.
Eventually Maria pointed out a warehouse-y kind of building with a group of cars around it and a sign that read