Monday, May 16, 2005

Wart Tree

Ming Aralia
Originally uploaded by Marinade Dave.
In the late seventies, early eighties, I owned a restaurant called Weiner King. I know, it's funny, but I did. The restaurant originated in Flemington, NJ. There were several franchises. One in Warminster, PA, one in Morristown, PA, and mine in Whitehouse Station, NJ.

There was a nice lady who came in at least twice a week to eat. One afternoon, she came in during that slump time beween the end of the lunch rush and before the dinner crowd. The girl who worked with me that day, Lauri Goodell, was studying biochemistry at Rutgers University. I had this plant on a window sill that spanned the front counter and into the service area, on a side wall. At that time, there was no one else in the restaurant. After our hellos and how are yuz, she walked toward the plant with her arms extended to touch it.

She asked, smilingly, "What is this plant? I've been admiring it for quite some time now."

"It's a wart tree," I responded. I don't know where the thought even came from, but it was too late. I said it.

"A WART TREE?" Her arms quickly retracted.

I had to think fast. "Yes, a wart tree. Lauri goes to Rutgers and is majoring in biochemistry. You know how warts have seeds in them?"


"Well, someone she knew had a plantar wart and she took them and cultivated them into what you're looking at here."

"You're kidding."

"No," I said. "Ask her."

Lauri collaborated my story and went into some kind of microbiospeak that neither of us understood.

She bought it, or it seemed like she believed her. The poor woman composed herself, even though she had a perplexed look on her face, and ordered food. I think she asked for it to go.

I think when her husband got home from work that day, she told him about the wart tree. He probably told her there is no such thing, all the while laughing.

Well, I never saw that woman again. She was either afraid of the tree, warts and all, embarassed by her gullibility, or too mad at me to ever come back.

I guess I probably shouldn't have done that, but, Lauri and I sure did get a laugh. Working 80 hours a week will do that.

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