Wine Blogs Are the Attention-Barking of Lonely Poodles
Saturday, January 2, 2010
The M.S. Conspiracy
A HoseMaster of Wine Pulp Fiction Classic
Chapter 9 Losers Live Longer
When you're a dick things often get sticky. I'm not comfortable around women crying, it makes my scalp itch and my fingers long for the feel of a throat. Veronica had become hysterical at the sight of her sister dead in the tub. Her sobbing had triggered the same in Jessica and it sounded like a reunion of Charlie Sheen ex-wives in the room. I'd had enough. I needed to start pounding the mean streets of Healdsburg. OK, they're not so much mean as they are sassy. I needed to start flatfooting the sassy streets of my town searching for the midget, or for Veronica's friends, or maybe for a reason to keep doing this stupid job. Seeing two lives cut short in their prime was a reminder, a reminder that none of us knows when we'll take our last breath, that our lives, no matter how miserable, no matter how low we've sunk, whether pedophile or wine blogger, have value. OK, wine bloggers not so much. When are they going to make them register so you know when one moves in next door to you?
I left Jessica and Veronica in the room with the sommelier float, hold the ice cream, and decided it was time to pay a visit to the M.S. bigwigs. I knew they were in town, but I wasn't sure where they were staying. Somewhere cheap. Those guys spend money like it's First Growth Bordeaux--only after they've kept it for 50 years. More than likely they were staying somewhere for free, a winery, or one of Huckleberry Jackson's guest houses. They'd be there a week and you'd have to use a pressure hose to get the smell of smarmy off the walls. I had no idea where the M.S. thugs were hanging their fake credibility for a week, but I knew someone who would--Tiny. Nothing happens in Healdsburg that Tiny doesn't know about. Tiny was the publisher and gossip columnist for our local rag, the Healdsburg Herald-Flatulence, and I knew where he was most likely to be. Dumpster diving behind Cyrus.
Sure enough, Tiny, all 550 pounds of him, was shoulder deep in the dumpster behind Cyrus, Healdsburg's finest restaurant, proud recipient of two Michelin puffs. I'd met those two puffs at the bar in Cyrus, oddly enough, but that's another story. I greeted Tiny with our usual salutation.
"Hey, Tiny, what's shakin', aside from your proctologist?"
"Don't bother me now, HoseMaster," Tiny replied, "I'm getting my prix fix."
"I've just got one question for you, Tiny. Where are those M.S. clowns staying?"
"Oh, I heard you were looking for them. This have something to do with that dead babe they found like residual sugar in Zinfandel? You know, sweet but pruney."
"No, no, I just want to talk to them about getting a client of mine into their exams." "What client? You mean that gorgeous blonde that was in your office this morning? Man, HoseMaster, she was stacked like the barrel room at Clos du Bois."
"Look, Tiny, all I want from you is where those chumps are staying. Do you know or don't you?"
"Oh, man, caviar!" Tiny lived for these gourmet moments. When I'd first met him he was rather svelte. Now he was so big he couldn't fit through the front door of his apartment. What he really needed was to lose a lot of weight, and soon, or he'd lose everything, his job, his reputation, his thong, and then losing the pounds wouldn't help, it would just make him a homeless svelter. He was devouring the caviar rapaciously; then he quickly spat it out. "Nah, that's not caviar. Mouse turds. Though they do taste of the ocean."
I was getting the feeling that Tiny didn't want to tell me where the M.S.-creants were residing. "Come on, Tiny, I don't have all day. I need to ask those guys some questions."
"Just leave it alone, HoseMaster. Don't forget, losers live longer."
"What's that supposed to mean? I'm not going to leave anything alone. I'm already in this up to my nozzle. You know, this whole thing has started to stink, Tiny, and I'm beginning to think you know something about it. Now, are you going to tell me where they are, or aren't you?"
"OK, sure, HoseMaster, I'll tell you where to look. It's somewhere dark and humid, a place a lot of wine has passed through, a lonely place no one would ever want to explore."
"They're staying in the wine caves at Bella?"
"No," Tiny said, returning to his foraging. "Bend over, shine a flashlight up your ass, maybe they're staying there."
I looked. They weren't. But I wouldn't have been surprised. There was something else up there though. A note, folded and neatly inserted. Great, I thought, just perfect, story of my life. Other guys find a mysterious message in a bottle, I get a message in a butthole.
After 19 years as a Sommelier in Los Angeles, twice named Sommelier of the Year by the Southern California Restaurant Writers' Association, I moved to Sonoma County to explore the other aspects of the wine business. I've spent, OK wasted, 35 years learning about and teaching about and swallowing wine. I am also a judge at the Sonoma Harvest Fair, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and the San Francisco International Wine Competition--so I can spit like a rabid llama. I know more about wine than David Sedaris and I'm funnier than James Laube. Stay tuned for an informed but jaded view of everything wine and everything else.
I'm living proof that alcohol kills brain cells.
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