“She’s a serial killer!” Tee Man whispered. I tried to sound convincing while simultaneously shoveling a bite of the best cheeseburger on Planet Earth (ok probably the best on South Street..same difference) into my mouth: “Maybe she is an anthropologist?” I answered.
We had picked up Tee Man from the airport an hour ago and here I was trying to set him up with a serial killer. Ok, she wasn’t a serial killer (at least I was fairly sure she wasn’t) but she was perfect for him. I had done the Philadelphian thing and driven straight to South to get some food. This hole in the wall is the best burger joint: they fry mushrooms and fry onions for your burger then top it with two cheeses…all while you sit on stools watching the stuff that will shortly clog your arteries faster than the Schuylkill clogging on April 1st when the Drive closes down (is it a coincidence that happens on April Fools?)
She smiled at him, sat next to him (on the opposite side of me and my husband) and as if enough hints weren’t dropped, struck up a conversation with him. She was from Germany (Tee Man lived and breathed Byron Munich: Germany’s soccer team). I looked at him and mouthed, “Go for it!” At which point Tee Man mouthed: “Serial Killer” and pointed at the case she had set beside her labeled: “Human Bone Marrow”. I rolled my eyes and whispered, “I’m not an expert but most serial killers don’t advertise what they do!” He shook his head and said, “It’s the perfect cover! You ACT like you’re an anthropologist/archaeologist but you take people’s marrow and bake it in your meatloaf!” I glanced over at this slender, blonde, German girl who looked highly intelligent, highly sweet, highly interested in Tee Man and said, “With your past luck…isn’t it time to overlook trivial details?” It was his turn to roll his eyes (which he did while simultaneously flinging the aforementioned fried onion at my arm).
They chatted: she was in town for a week; him too…blah blah… all the while with me smiling like a loon; I knew love at first sight when I saw it (Tee Man says it was horror at the idea of her bone marrow case falling open and spilling it’s contents onto the planet’s best burger. He says horror, I say love…tomato – tomahto).
She finished her heart attack on a plate and got up to leave… giving Tee Man time make a move. He just smiled and said, “Nice talking to you.”
Collective sigh and groan. Followed by my turn to eye roll/ onion-fling. “Why?!” I screamed as she rolled her case of marrow out the door. “She was perfect for you: female? Check. Blonde? Check. Loves Germany? Check. Unique meatloaf recipe? Check. What more do you need?” Apparently he didn’t need the onion dripping off my other arm.
We paid the bill, hopped into my convertible old-school style where you hold onto the door, swing your legs and jump over the door, and cruised down South toward Wawa. I double parked and put my flashers on while the guys jumped out to grab some drinks for the road. I closed my eyes, laid my head back and reacquainted myself with that vaguely familiar fiery, yellow ball in the sky that had decided to put in an appearance after 5 months of misery. Then, among the hustle and bustle of 2nd street: I heard it. A rolling sound. I knew without looking: the rolling bag of marrow. It felt like a surreal rom-com moment (something I would make a gagging gesture over…it was so corny). Still, even the most cynical of us has to believe sometimes. I sat up and knew Tee Man would be leaving just as she was entering. Right on cue… they opened the door from opposite sides, saw each other and smiled. I stood up on the front seat of my drop top and screamed: “It’s FATE Tee Man just ask her out! We have room for one more! We can throw the bag in the trunk: out of sight, out of mind! Just SAY the words!”
Five minutes later we were inching up Lombard (it was Friday night in the city meaning sane people had already parked somewhere and were walking among the throngs). Alas we were sans a certain blonde, German, serial killer. Tee Man’s reasoning? “She must’ve followed me down the street meaning it wasn’t really fate.”
Speaking of fate: earlier during the blonde beauty’s chat with Tee Man, she was so distracted I was able to sneak a quick peek and see the marrow case was a mini-cooler filled with what looked like lab samples. Why she was wandering around South with it, I never asked. Nor ever really cared; I was too busy making sure that they would “coincidentally” meet again (like a true act of fate) by slipping the name of Tee Man’s hotel card in her case.
Hey, fate is fate. Even when contrived.