When I was eight we moved from one side of the city to the other, over the famous bridge, and another less famous one, from the leafy north shore of Sydney to the hot, concreted inner west. Away from my school and my friends and the few suburbs I knew; away from the eat-in Pizza Hut Restaurant and Friday night noodle markets, toward Bar Italia’s gelato and Il Cugino’s anchovy-rife Pizzeria.
The adventures you take are a result of your choice. You are responsible because you choose. After you make your choice, follow the instructions to see what happens next. If you like, chicken, waffles, wood panelling, fake plants, mission-brown vinyl and neon lights, skip to the next paragraph. If you like the idea of me driving around and round LA with a crazy cab driver until we run out of gas (close to 5327 hours in a Prius), you’re really quite mean.
On Pico Blvd in Hollywood, immortalised in song by the Notorious B.I.G. (R.I.P.) and visited by luminaries including Snoop Lion (nee Dogg) and Barack Obama, Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles has been serving Southern food since 1975. If you’d like to read what happened when I ate fried chicken, skip to the next paragraph. If you’d like to read what happened when I ate waffles, also skip to the next paragraph.
‘I’ll have the Carol C. Special ($8.95), thank you.’ Our food arrives faster than the time it took to decide what to order. In front of me: one golden, pocked waffle, the size of my face; one generous, DD chicken breast, encrusted in a deep-fried, honey-coloured crumb; one ramekin of maple syrup; one orb of whipped butter. Fried chicken doesn’t want to be dry, and Roscoe’s isn’t; the waffle is fluffy and has the savoury flavour of flour and the enslaving flavour of frying. I force the butterball into the pits of the waffle, cut my chicken in to pieces and upend the syrup over the whole lot. The sticky chicken mess is a little bit sweet, salty and greasy – a whole lot magnificent. If you’d like to read about me eating Roscoe’s world famous mac & cheese ($4.90), continue to the next paragraph. If you’d rather not, skip the next paragraph.
The mac & cheese at Roscoe’s is world famous. And good. It certainly ain’t your gourmet three-cheese Rockpool Bar & Grill sitchayshun, but it’s better cause it tastes like your mum made it. Creamy, mildly cheesy and with macaroni that could be made of pasta or… anything really, it’s a bowl full of rich, goopy happiness.
If you’d like to read about me succumbing to one of the seven deadly sins, skip to the next paragraph. If you’d like to read of anaphylaxis at Roscoe’s, skip ahead to the penultimate paragraph. If you’d like to revel in my triumphant completion of a blood pressure and cholesterol-spiking meal and my successful indulgence in at least three of the seven deadly sins, skip ahead to the last paragraph.
I am finished. Greed has gotten the best of me.
My tongue feels thick and dry, there is darkness. I am finished.
The people love me and respect me, but the priests grow sullen and angry. They dislike me because I have taken away their power. Too bad for them, I think. The people count. Not a bad accomplishment for a struggling writer.
Inspiration, and endings, taken from Choose Your Own Adventure 11: Mystery of the Maya, by R.A. Montgomery