Thursday, August 30, 2007

An Oysters Tale

The first time I traveled with Dale Enzenbacher, the sculptor, he managed to break the interior rear-view window in my little 1978 Honda Civic before we’d even left the driveway. He did this damage with his hip.

We traveled to a Westercon, in the Seattle-Tacoma area. I think it was probably 1979. We arrived and began to carry sculptures from the car (mostly tied up in the luggage rack) to set up in the dealers’ room. But people kept stopping us to buy things, and Dale kept stuffing the money into any available pocket. When we finally made it up to our hotel room, Dale started just shedding money. By the time he’d finished, I counted over eight hundred dollars, purchasing power equivalent to over two grand today.

In 1981 we went to the Worldcon in Denver, Denvention. We had a secret mission, to present Guest of Honor C. L. Moore with a guerrilla Gandalf, Fantasy Grand Master Award. I once wrote up the tale of the Last Gandalf on Genie, and at some point I’ll probably post it here as well, but I have another, minor Dale story to tell.

We were in the elevator, riding down to get still more of Dale’s sculptures from the car, when Dale noticed the ad for the hotel’s restaurant on the elevator wall. The special for that evening was Rocky Mountain Oysters. “That sounds good,” Dale said.

“Um,” I said cleverly. “You do know what Rocky Mountain Oysters are, right?”

“Some kind of freshwater clam?”

“Uh, no,” I said. “I mean I might have this wrong, but I believe that Rocky Mountain Oysters are the fried testicle of mountain goat, or whatever domesticated substitute they have.”

Dale frowned. “Goat balls?” he said darkly. “They wouldn’t give you goat balls, would they?”

I shrugged. “Maybe I have it wrong,” I said.

The elevator door opened and we headed across the hotel lobby. The restaurant was just opening for lunch. Dale looked at the maitre d’ standing at the doorway.

“Wait a second,” he told me. “I’ve got to check on something.”

He went over and spoke to the maitre d’ for a moment then headed back across the lobby, visibly excited. So excited, in fact, that he couldn’t wait until he got all the way across.

So, from halfway across the hotel lobby, he announced, in a clear, penetrating voice, “Hey, Jim, you were right! They are goat balls!”

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