Installments of Italia: Day Four
In my dream I am flying headfirst, just feet off the ground, arms at my sides. I am weightless. Wind rips over my body but somehow doesn’t sting my eyes as I forge straight ahead at high speed. The top of the field of grain brushes against my chest and stomach as I fly over it.
I’m getting faster but I’m not afraid. I fly straight ahead, towards the light. Closer towards the light, closer…
Wow it’s bright in here! I guess that’s what I get for leaving the shutters open here in my villa in Italy! BOO-YEAH, another awesome day ahead!!!
What the FuAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH IT’S ON ME OH GOD IT’S ON ME
WHOOSH, SLAP! With the speed of a poised kung fu grand master, I slap the scurrying nightmare off of my bare stomach. With the dignity and grace of a drunken one legged circus clown on meth, I leap out of bed and across the room, screaming. With the courage of a jittery cat in a lightning storm, I cautiously inch towards the bed. My arm is raised and I am armed with a flip flop. The spider is still there, spread eagle x 8 and easily visible on my white sheets, waiting for me. Oh God, please let this spider be one that hasn’t seen the movie Arachnophobia, and thus does not yet know how to jump.
I heroically grab one end of the white sheet and sharply flick the spider off my bed; it lands on the bed adjacent to mine, dangling from the cover.
[BAM] I drop the hammer (flip flop) and blast the spider to the floor. It is twitching. One of its legs has disattached, and is also twitching.
[SLAM] The flip flop of justice descends a final time, converting the sickening, twitching nightmare into a puddle of sickening nightmare paste.
“Any other Italian spiders watching, I guess you didn’t hear about me this far in the homeland. You touch, you pay. With your life.”
Fully awake and with one kill under my belt already, I began day four of my adventure in Italia.
Day four was a day of eating, drinking and poolside relaxation. I came downstairs just in time for a platter of eggs lovingly prepared by cousin Nikhi. They had just the right amount of cheese, which is tons and tons of cheese.
The entire afternoon was spent drinking beers, reading, and playing in the pool. I attempted my Cross Dive (more on that later) for the first time and confirmed that it still needed some work. Erica (and/or Abby?) claimed to have seen a ghost in the villa the night before. Sometime around 3pm, we used the outside stove and got a decent fire going; we made grilled peppers, eggplant, and burgers with chunks of cheese inside of them.
Grilling took longer than expected; we finished just in time to shower and get ready for dinner. That night, two chefs from Spoleto came by and fixed us a freakin’ four course dinner. Lube up your mouth, because Food Porn is en route.
The two chefs arrived around 7:30pm and immediately took over the kitchen. They brought all the ingredients with them, but kept running out to the herb garden to harvest whatever fresh herbs they needed. They gave us an estimate of 8pm, and we started setting the table.
They were ready by around 8:30pm, but no one cared; we were all so ready to eat authentic Italian prepared by native Italians in our villa in Italy. The first course was a prosciutto and melon plate with fresh fig. This region of Italy is known for the quality of its prosciutto and as a lover of salted meats, I can tell you it deserves every single slice of credit in this department. I’ve never had better prosciutto.
The melon was ripe and perfect, and I’d never eaten raw fig before. It was sweet and ripe; the closest thing I can compare it to is raw kiwi. It also had the texture of brains, or at least what I imagine the texture of raw brains must feel like in one’s mouth.
The first course stuck around on my plate for about 45 seconds before it was all inside of me, and that’s only because it took me about 20 seconds to take these pictures of it. One of the chefs was buzzing around collecting plates. Shortly after the last plate was collected, they came around and asked what each of us would prefer for the second course; pasta or ravioli. I’d eaten ravioli just yesterday, so I chose the pasta.
Looks unassuming right? Plain, but elegant? Bite your motherfucking tongue; this was the single greatest pasta dish I’ve ever eaten in my life. I don’t understand how this is possible being that there’s no meat in it, but me and my tongue go way back. We’re like this. My tongue doesn’t lie to me. Maybe the pasta was boiled in beef broth. Maybe those are strings of muscle lining and it isn’t pasta at all. Maybe a ritual involving virgin blood was incorporated. Or maybe it was just extra olive oil and a black belt in pasta mastery. However they did it, they did it right. I inhaled my pasta, stopping only long enough to remember to remind myself to weep tears of bliss later in on in the evening. But not now, not when there’s still another forkful left.
They came around again in 10 minutes, and I got a helping of the ravioli too.
Third course was steak, Umbrian style.
I must be honest for good karma; I did not like the steak that much. The greens (arugula?) were great, but the steak on my plate was a tiny bit overcooked. Also, virtually every pre-cut strip contained a mouthful of gristle or fat, which I either cut off beforehand or discovered while chewing. I’m not sure if that’s the style, or maybe I just got the piece that had all the fat on it, which I guess is also a possibility. It was just good. In fact, I was so unimpressed by it that I ate every single fatty gristly piece, until all that was left on my plate was a pile of it at the end.
Anyone get The Great Outdoors reference?
The fourth and final course was dessert. It was a custard topped with berries. Real custard is kind of weird if you’ve never had it before, it’s like yogurt and whipped cream had an unwanted baby and kept it locked in a tiny little pen so that its muscles never fully developed. Where will I go when I die? Anyway it was awesome and super fresh. It made me feel a little lighter instead of a little heavier, despite the fact that after eating four and a half courses I was actually much heavier.
Replete, we hung around the table and continued to drink. The chefs tidied up the kitchen (a little) and left in a hurry – Italy was playing again in Euroball, or whatever they call it. We’d brought the speakers out earlier that day; we plugged an ipod in and started playing the drinking game Mafia.
I won’t get into the rules of Mafia, but the game is awesome. You do need at least seven or more people to play it; fortunately we had like 10. As you can probably tell by the pictures getting darker and darker, it was kinda late by this point. After about 30 minutes of Mafia, we had an honest to God paranormal encounter.
We heard a small clatter, and all turned around to the speakers at the same time. The ipod, which had been on the bench, was suddenly on the floor. Erica (and/or Abby?) felt vindicated. SEE! WE’RE HAUNTED! I agreed with them loudly and energetically, some might say drunkenly. No one was even close to the bench; we were literally all sitting at the table at the time of the encounter. How could the ipod have gotten off the bench, to the floor, and all that way over away from the bench? I took that picture before anyone touched it. Later this week, I’m going send it into Ghost Hunters and claim a fat reward. Now I should point out, skeptics among our group claimed that the bass from the speakers caused the ipod to fall off the bench, where it bounced once to its current position. Poppycock! What you’re looking at is PROOF of existence after death, sure as if I found the Handbook for the Recently Diseased. Err, Deceased.
After a small supernatural/theological debate, we drank more, played more Mafia, and took a picture or two.
At around midnight, we brought the party inside and eventually went our separate ways, down the many twisting corridors and halls which led to each of our respective sleeping areas. Honestly, it took a few days to not get lost in the place, it was that big. I brushed my teeth and drank lots of water, then I closed my shutters and checked all of my sheets, in between my sheets and mattress, and the surrounding floor for spiders.
I laid down in my bed and, remembering that perfect, succulent pasta, wept myself to sleep. They were tears of bliss.