A Baguette in the Oven

October 12, 2007 at 9:32 pm (Sweet sticky things)

It’s 8:30 on a Friday night, and I’m home from my ‘date’ already. Dinner and a movie? Done and done.

Mizelle, The Frenchman and I went to see Ratatouille, the Disney/Pixar animated film about a gourmet French rat. (NOTE: Not gourmet-cooked French rat.) It was playing at the Bagdad Theater, a McMenamin’s joint. Beer, pizza, and a second-run film. Paradise!

The Frenchman was first to arrive. We met in front of the theater, on Hawthorne. He was sporting a new growth of beard; it gave him a Jesus-meets-Osama look. I gave him a hug, as is tradition in his home country. (We’ve stopped the kiss-greeting, though. It was amusing at first, but all the stares made him uncomfortable, I think.) As we waited for the next bus to arrive, a Portland Police car pulled up to the intersection. It stopped, turned its overhead lights on, and the officer stepped out of the car.

He looked right at me.

I smiled, but he didn’t look away. I looked behind me. Just folks sitting at the sidewalk cafe. I looked back. He gave me the stink eye, got in his car, and drove around the corner.


The Frenchman said the sunglasses made me look suspicious, what with the impending thunderstorm overhead.

“But the sun was shining when I left the house!” I felt a sprinkle. “Shall we go inside?”

He wanted to wait a few more minutes for Mizelle, so I went ahead to save seats. Good thing, too. Soon armies of soccer moms and their offspring were filing into the auditorium. Hey, this is a bar!

Duh. Before 6 PM, kids admitted with adult. We did say the 5:30 show…

I watched the place fill, gawking around. A lot of memories in this place. I remember taking the bus from Sandy, Oregon to Portland in 1975 to see One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Many a drunken evening was spent here. The film ‘What the (fuck) Do We Know?’ was filmed in and around the Bagdad, and I saw it there with Mizelle. It was a trip to watch a movie about a familiar place, then walk out of said place, just like they did in the movie.

Mizelle and The Frenchman found me sitting up front, defending our seats from mothers on a mission. They arrived just in time. A lady was moving for the Frenchman’s spot. Mizelle tossed her backpack on the chair, handed him her jacket, (“Here honey!” with a firm gaze at the encroaching lady) and gave me a friendly hug. At that moment, the lights went down, and the show began.

They ordered pizza, and it was delivered just as the rat was getting a feel for kitchen life. Normally at this point of the film Mizelle would whip out the alcohol stash, or like one time, when neither of us was drinking, we’d smuggled in chocolate milk. The ironies of me sneaking milk into a bar still make my head near explode.

I enjoyed the movie, as did Mizelle. The Frenchman’s only complaint regarded the French accents. Someday we’ll explain how Disney occasionally takes liberties with reality…

It’s fitting that we were seeing a kiddie film. Mizelle will probably be seeing a lot of that kind of thing in the future. She’s given me permission to let the cat out of the bag, so to speak. She’s in the family way.

As in knocked up. Preggers. With child.

The Frenchman has the makings of a wonderful dad. I’ve got a feeling. He’s got a kind heart and a strong work ethic. And if Mizelle likes him enough to marry him, he can’t be all bad.

She will make a great mom. (Although I may have to retract the kid-movie sentence. She swears the kid won’t watch TV until he or she is eighteen. Books, Junior!)

They don’t want to know the gender of the baby ahead of time. As long as it’s born with a head, a torso and a reasonable amount of appendages, all will be well. Since that leaves me with the task of creating a gender-neutral pseudonym, I will call him/her Tadpole. I’ll feminize it, if need be, when the time comes.

She told me about the pregnancy over Indian buffet a while back. Our buffet banter has never been kid-friendly. We somehow got onto the subject of episiotomies (warning- NSFW!!) and how she’d rather not have one. I told her of a Korean stretching technique I’d heard about.

“As long as the kid gets my nose,” she said. “Can you imagine that beak of his coming out of me?”

I snickered. “Yeah. With the nose hanging down over your taint. It’d be like that graffiti tag ‘Kilroy was here’. Heeere’s… Tadpole!”

A matronly lady lady leaving the restaurant harrumphed. She should consider herself lucky. Some of our conversations actually get dirty.

Congratulations, mama and papa. I get to be the creepy uncle once again! A wee one I can spoil, teach all kinds of off-color things to, then send back home to mater and pater, and watch their hair turn slowly gray.

I’ve been close with Mizelle for ten years now. We’ve been through marriages, relationships, dry spells, booze and drug habits. You know, the best of times. When things were not so good, we were still there for each other. ‘Just call me’ is the rule.

I suppose I’ll babysit once in a while, or at least offer. (Unless they do that ‘teach your baby to pee in the gutter’ thing. I get visions of me brandishing a peeing baby yelling, “Get back! We’ve got a leaker!” at a busy bus stop.) It’s been a while since I’ve changed a diaper, and it had been a while before the one before that. It comes back to you pretty quick.

So if you see me wandering around town with a smiling baby and a Powerpuff Girls diaper bag, please say hello.

But only if I have the diaper bag. I can’t be responsible for spraying babies.

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