| Fried |

Troy Farah's Exquisite Meal

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If you can't stand the heat -- get in the kitchen. On Thursday, June 13, at 6 p.m. at the Lounge at Crescent Ballroom, Chow Bella writers are warming up for summer with "Fried," an evening of true stories. Admission is free; food and drink will be available for sale.

Today: Troy Farah's exquisite meal.

She said, "It's a surprise."

With the blindfold removed, I could see she'd driven me to the zoo. She smiled and said, "Isn't this better than another dumb dinner and a movie date?" I said, "Sure," but inside, I grumbled about the heat.

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We wandered from prison cell to prison cell and gawked at the endangered animals forcefully migrated here. The guilt meant to invigorate empathy for flaming rain forests and lagoons leached with oil spills and defrosting ice drifts, but it was too hot for me to concentrate.

Ice cream, I muttered. And, soon, we nursed Rocket Pops until brain freeze settled in as we squinted at an aviary filled with peach-faced lovebirds.

Those things are native here, you know. I told her. Now, at least.

She nodded. Didn't know it would be such a scorcher. Sorry.

Weather dude says 105 is the high. I'm used to it, I lied.

We wandered toward the rhino pen and, in the bushes, I noticed two eggs snuggled against the fence in fistfuls of straw. I pointed and she grinned and leaned over the fence, balanced with both feet in the air, skirt blowing in the wind, but she didn't care, returning to me, lifting one of the eggs up to my face.

Whaddya think they are?

They were dusty, smudged with opal and flaked with paprika.

I shrugged.

They're so exquisite. She grabbed the other one and looked around. Then, she stuck both eggs in her purse. I didn't question her. We walked out and no one stopped us and we drove home and I fixed myself a summer shandy, slipped into the pool and held my head underwater for as long as I could. I thought about drowning myself, but knew it wasn't possible. It had to be an accident.

When I came up for air, The Girl was holding a plate and a refill out to me. It was an omelet.

You didn't, I said. Fried, just like that?

I did, she said.

I shook my head. She shook hers. She stabbed her fork and cut out a section and held it out to me. Close your eyes, she said and I did. Mouth open, then closed, then chewing, then swallowing.

What's it taste like? she asked.

I smiled and didn't open my eyes. Exquisite, I said.

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