(After work one night last week.)
Foodie: Oh wow! That’s some sweater you got on there mister! Did people like it at work?
Beast: Oh there were some comments, but I think most of them were sarcastic.
Beast: They were like, “Oh I didn’t know you liked Scottie Dogs!” And I was like, “I don’t. I fucking hate dogs. But I love high fashion.”
I don’t know if the Beast is joking or being serious when it comes to some of his fashion choices. He actually wears a lot of clothes that he picks up for free from the store where he works, like this Scottie Dog sweater for instance. And just to be clear, he’s not stealing these clothes: they’re garbage-bound, but he rescues them from the trash and brings them home.
Beast: I don’t know what you’re laughing at–look what you have on!
I was on my way to my Wednesday night soccer game and was dressed like An Athlete.
Beast: Look at that jacket? When did you buy that? 1990?
Foodie: Actually, about 1991. (It was a yellow Far West GORE-TEX® pull-over coat thing that I’ve had since high school.) It’s my athletic gear. What’s the big deal?
Beast: You’ve just changed so much.
Foodie: Listen, I have to go. Are you going to cook the liver I brought home for you for your dinner?
(Back Story: The night before, I had a work dinner, which the Beast was invited to, but because he had a music obligation, he couldn’t go. But my boss couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t have canceled his music thing in order to come to dinner, (actually, either could I.) So my boss packed up all these pretty elaborate left-overs for me to take home so the Beast would feel like shit for not coming. There was some spelt risotto made with porcini mushrooms and fresh truffle shavings, elaborate hand-made desserts, a bottle of 2005 Barolo with about a glass’s worth of wine left in it, and the raw ingredients for Fegato alla Veneziano, or liver with onions.)
Beast: I thought you said you were going to make it for me.
Foodie: I did say that, but I don’t have time now. I have a game to get to.
Beast: We’re falling apart, aren’t we.
Foodie: It’s easy to do. Are you listening?
Foodie: Put the pieces of liver in some flour and then melt some butter and olive oil in a pan. When that’s nice and hot, add the liver and cook it until it’s browned. Then add the capon stock and a touch of brandy, and it’ll form a nice little jus with the flour in the pan. Wish me luck! Oh, and don’t forget to fry up some onions first to go with the liver.
And off I went to make my way to some elementary school gym in the northern reaches of the city. On my way to catch the bus, I got a telephone call.
Beast: How long do I cook it again?
Foodie: I’m not sure exactly, but just do it until it gets a little crust on it–you should have the heat on medium-high so that shouldn’t take too long.
And then at the second bus stop, I got another call.
Beast: When do I add the brandy again? And how much?
Foodie: Add it when you add the capon stock. And just throw in a bit of brandy.
When I got home a couple of hours later, I found the kitchen cleaner than I’d seen it in a long time.
Foodie: How did your dinner turn out?
Beast: It was amazing. I’m so glad you didn’t come home until you did though because you should have seen the kitchen–it looked like I’d just made three entire Thanksgiving dinners by the time I was done cooking.
Beast: And there was so much blood in that bag of liver!
Beast: It was all over the counters so I had to bleach them clean.
Foodie: You know how to do that?
Beast: Of course I do.
Foodie: Then why don’t you ever clean the kitchen counters?
Beast: Do you want to see photos of the dinner I made?
Foodie: You took photos?
I’ve been feeling bad these days because I’m rarely home for dinner, meaning the Beast has to fend for himself come mealtime. And I haven’t had a chance to do any of the domestic chores I take great pleasure in doing, like cooking on Sundays, doing laundry, and painting my nails. As a result, I turn into a bit of a maniac and little things will set me off, like getting home at midnight and finding the bed not made. I’m not capable of getting into an unmade bed. And I’m not asking for hospital corners here: I’m just asking that you pull the duvet cover up and fluff a couple of fucking pillows.
But it wasn’t an unmade bed that set me off a few nights ago: I came home, after working a 16 hour day, and found some gigantic musical instrument case in the middle of the living room. The Beast knows how much this aggravates me: I’m not a clean freak by any means, but for the love of God, just put instruments in THE INSTRUMENT ROOM! It’s a ROOM FULL OF FUCKING INSTRUMENTS! So I grabbed that fucking case without even taking off my shoes or coat and dragged it up the stairs and dumped it in the middle of the Beast’s music room. Then I drank two glasses of wine to cool my engines and fell asleep.
I didn’t even hear the Beast come home, and I didn’t hear him leave for work the next morning. It was Sunday, and I was going to try and work from home. At about 7:00 that night, I got a phone call.
Beast: Do you have two minutes right now?
Beast: Listen to this and tell me it’s not the most incredible thing you’ve ever heard!
The Beast put down the phone and started playing When the Saints Come Marching in on a saxophone in the basement of his work.
Beast: Now tell me, just go ahead and try and tell me that that’s not the most amazing sounding thing you’ve ever heard.
Foodie: It sounds amazing.
Beast: It’s the new baritone saxophone that I’m renting.
Foodie: Was that the gigantic instrument that I found in the living room and dragged upstairs?
Beast: Yes, and don’t think I didn’t notice that. I know what you’re trying to do.
Foodie: I’m just trying to put musical instruments away in this house.
Beast: Anyway, I’m renting it for now but I’m going to buy one. They’re about $4000 so here’s my financial plan: I’m going to put a thousand dollars down and then I’m going to start busking 20 days a month and I bet I can make ten dollars a day. This thing is going to pay for itself!
Foodie: You’re going to play that thing on street corners?
Beast: Yes, maybe around Yonge and Eglinton. You know, some free improvising and When the Saints Come Marching In, in the key of E flat concert. What would you do if somebody from your work saw me playing on the street corner and then asked you about it?
Foodie: I don’t know.
Beast: Would you be embarrassed?
Foodie: What’s that?
Beast: That’s my blog that’ll be associated with my avant-garde music project: I’ll blog about where I’m playing and what I’m playing and how much money I made and other musicians can come and join in if they want. I could also Twitter about it.
Foodie: You could also make little signs and have cards that people could take if they wanted to learn more about the Tone of Baritone Project. I think it’s a great idea. I am concerned though–about the money part. If you’re going to be busking to pay off this $4000 baritone saxophone for the next eight years, what does that mean for our plan of taking one big vacation every year?
Beast: We could do day trips.
Foodie: I want to go visit Uncle Ron in Mexico and I want to visit your relatives in France and I want to go to New York and I want to go do one of those beach vacations where there’s white sand, blue water, and optional yoga and tennis.
Beast: You could go with your girlfriends.
Foodie: Am I not giving you enough attention? Is this what this is all about?
Beast: Listen, you’re not the only one who’s busy and successful in this relationship.
Foodie: Oh I get it–this is about me not being home very much these days.
Beast: (He starts playing the saxophone again)
I finished my work at about 8:30 at night and the Beast got home soon after that. We ate roti from Mother India and watched Catch Me If You Can, starring Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio, on TV. The Beast wandered off and I continued to watch.
About 20 minutes later, he called me from upstairs.
Beast: Can you come up here for a second?
Foodie: Is it important? I don’t think I can move right now.
Beast: It’s very important. Hurry!
I found the Beast upstairs wearing a woman’s black cashmere sweater and no pants.
Foodie: What the fuck is going on?
Beast: My boss gave it to me. It’s a vintage Pringle sweater you know. I just can’t figure out how to wear it.
Not only does the Beast take home garbage clothes from work, but he also gets hand-me-downs from his boss, who is a 75 year-old, 90 pound Jewish lady. Last year he wore her old winter coat all season. It had a drawstring waist and was shiny forest green.
Foodie: Do you think this is something you should be wearing?
Beast: The ribbing reminds me of something Shackleton might have worn. Maybe a belt would help.
I gave the Beast a belt and he put on a pair of my black leggings. And then it was game over: He couldn’t stop prancing around and posing–on the bed, in front of the mirror–and I couldn’t take photos fast enough (he asked me to take the photos so he could send them to Nick Edwards.) I was laughing so hard that I started foaming at the mouth and saliva was running down my face like a dog, and my stomach started cramping up, like I’d just done 100 sit-ups in a row (which, as An Athlete, I could do in my sleep.)
When he sent the photos to Nick Edwards and his brother Noah, he included this message:
Hey guys – my publisher just got the proofs back from the photo shoot for the cover of my book “Method Actor: A Life – a Memoir of Love, the Theatre and Learning”. Can you let me know which shot you think best captures the essence of me, the performer, without being too pretentious or actorly?
It was the most I’d laughed in a long time. It felt wonderful.
And now that I know the Beast can clean the kitchen counters and cook himself dinner, I can book that beach vacation with a guilt-free conscience.
Fegato alla Venezia alla il Beasto: ***
(Thank you to two readers, Tonya and Rosemary, for pointing out that you could see my pant-less reflection in the photo where the Beast is posing in his black sweater. I’ve edited the photo. Foodie and the Beast regrets the error.)