Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Middle-Eastern-Southern Gothic

The delivery guy showed up at our door with styrofoam cartons full of middle eastern. I recognized him: his genial stoop and baseball cap and grey Prince Valiant hairdo. He'd delivered to us before—from this restaurant and others. I'd seen him around town for years: the Eternal Delivery Boy.*

It was an ugly night, and I gave him a good tip.

"Oh, thank youuu," he intoned in his odd nasal drawl. "You must work in the businessss."

"I did for many years."

"Yesss... You can always recognize one who's sufferrrred."

He handed me the plastic bag and turned. His hunched frame descended the steps.


If this were a Flannery O'Connor story, what would happen next?**

* And somewhere, years ago, I saw him in a strange locally made movie short that ran before the main feature. But, besides the fact that he was in it, I remember nothing about the clip.

** We actually just went inside and ate our hummus and grape leaves. Eternal Delivery Boy drove his puttery little car off into the night. But I'm not sure that rates high enough on the Ironic-and-Disturbing-Conclusion Index.


  1. Anonymous1:28 PM

    Some combination of the following? Not that you'd ever wish a Flannery O'Connor ending on anybody...

    - The next door neighbors could be overheard muttering that "these foreigners come in, not doing an honest day's work, are taking our jobs. Not honest Americans like Jesus."

    - A peacock, or at least a rooster, strutted by in the vacant lot on the corner.

    - Two of the diners dipped their pitas into the bowl of tahini.

    - The delivery man drove off in his puttering car. As he crossed the intersection, a speeding semi slammed into him. His dove-like form was reflected in the headlights as he was thrown, a sign of the Spirit descending.

  2. I love the story! And the endings tha anonymous above presented are great too. I don't know which one to pick... Well, maybe the peacock one.

  3. I know exactly who you're describing. He (whose name I will not mention here) has been a big part of my life. Including kicking me out of a movie that was rated "R." How I love New Orleans and the way people you don't really know are an intimate part of you.
    On to your question...
    As the delivery man stepped onto the sidewalk, he became aware of three boys on bikes speeding down the street. He paused to let them pass before he headed to his car door. One of the boys swerved up onto the sidewalk, grabbed the delivery man's hat, and kept going, without a word. After realizing what had happened, the delivery man started running after the boys, yelling in his drawl. He stumbled on a sidewalk crack and his generous tip fell out of his pocket.

  4. Anonymous2:54 PM

    You--not the delivery man--walk away from the door. A strange moist feeling comes over your palms. They are bleeding.