July 6, 2010
To the Forever Gorgeous Seth Meyers of Saturday Night Live,
It was all a lie. The fatness in between and the phobias concocted out of Joey's mind was all his inability to get rid of his bulimia. It wasn't alcoholism, drug addiction or schizophrenia.....it was an eating disorder that ate him alive. The notion of eating healthy never came to him, it was a dream he used to say to me.
It happened one night last month, and I am never the same again. He told me he wanted to have some porridge and he wanted to try some Chinese Porridge with Barley and Ginkgo Biloba from Shanghai Mong in Koreatown. I told him I have no idea what to do. He told me to follow him and I just did that, and he meandered on some streets and went straight and then turned to the right and then left and crossed to the next street over and took me to a bus and some of the same things happened....we turned left and right and turned to the next street corner and crossed another alley and another street and went to hit up some bodega and got some Arizona Iced teas, and finally reached Shanghai Mong.
"How the hell are we going to afford a place like this?!" I said, slapping the back of his shoulder. Joey smirked and had a plan and I never knew he was being cruel and vindictive at food and the biology of his own body.
"Let's just order," he said.
We got a table in the corner of the place and we sat on some nice shiny mahogany chairs like in those Jackie Chan movies I remembered my Dad used to make me watch, to fill his time drinking whiskey inside a paper bag.
"Just relax and open up your stomach and relax it even more, and let your butt just sink into the chair padding and let yourself relax," said Joey. I had no idea he knew meditation this way before, but the guy was determined to get his porridge and eat it too.
This night was special because I wrote to you, Seth Meyers, the night before, and I was really happy. I thought of the funny things you said to me during our special times together on Weekend Update on SNL. I like to think you were especially telling me stories of funny news across the ocean and across the bridge from Jersey to NYC. But, I digress, I was really happy, and so was Joey because I smiled and smiled and never suspected a thing.
"Barley and Gingko Biloba porridge, please, and you can add some chicken in there to please me," said Joey.
"I'll have the lettuce wraps, please," I said. Then I whispered, "Who's paying for this?"
"SSSShhhhhssssshhhhhh......," he said. I suspected something wrong, but I should have said something to him and stopped him, but the lettuce wraps came and it was DIVINE!
Joey ate non-stop and he slurped the porridge and kept eating it till it was gone. Then he reached into his pocket, and took out a small cockroach, and put it into the bowl. I almost screamed but I cried instead, and didn't know what to do! I was about to call the police, but I was so scared that I froze in my chair.
"Joey.....you can't....," I whispered sort of loud and by that time, it was late and approaching 8 pm.
I didn't know people were still rolling in to dine and I still didn't know what to do. I never knew it was going to happen this way, but it did!
"Hhhhmmmm, sir, waiter, please come here, please waiter!" yelled Joey to the waiter.
"Yes, how can I help you?" said the waiter.
"I finished the porridge and look who was in the bowl the whole time," said Joey.
"I am so sorry, sir!!! OH MY GOD!" said the waiter. He ran to the back of the restaurant and took the bowl with him.
The manager (and I think that man I saw really was the owner) looked at Joey and I swear, Seth, he folded his fingers together and bowed to Joey and cried, "I'm so sorry, sir, How can you forgive me?! Please, sir, don't call the health department. We are careless, we didn't know it was in there, it must have been a dead one."
"Well....just give me another clean one and we call it even. But my girlfriend and I are not paying for this," said Joey.
"No, we're not paying for this!" I told him. I looked to Joey and nodded. "I'd like a porridge too!"
"Oh no! She won't need another one, just a pair of lettuce wraps are enough, for her that is," said Joey.
I kicked him under the table, but he looked to me and flicked me off. I kicked him again and he said, "Diet Dr. Pepper, for the lady, please."
"That's better," I said. "I am thirsty."
The second bowl of porridge came after ten minutes and this time, it had sliced peking duck and preserved eggs inside. Joey's eyes became wide, and he slurped and ate the porridge without slobbering, but finished in five minutes. I counted because my Diet Dr. Pepper came afterwards. I sipped it with jealousy suds inside my straw.
I was so mad that Joey didn't play with me, but he suddenly dropped to the ground and held his stomach. He coughed and coughed and ran to the bathroom, and he made loud sounds like he was hurting on the toilet and farted loudly. I was scared and looked to the ceiling and around the room, and the closed my eyes and cried. I couldn't believe I was an accomplice to his fake cockroach, and now...to his food poisoning.
The manager came out again and he went to the bathroom, which was near the back of the restaurant and some people still heard him. I walked towards the door and there was a foul smell and I ran back to my table.
"Just give me another clean one, and we call it even," I heard Joey said. He must be crazy to still want to eat here, and how many porridges could he eat?
"Joey....let's go back to The House," I told him.
"That's not right, we have to stay and finish this.....it is my last rite," said Joey. I didn't understand what "my last rite" meant and I didn't want to ask him, but I'm guessing it has to do with his right to make a statement. I was scared that he might become a criminal and I was so worried of how he might be caught.
Joey walked to the table and I swear, Seth....he looked like he lost weight, but from porridge? He only ate two bowls?
"Sir, the porridge is done and at your service," said the waiter serving the fresh bowl of chicken and dumpling porridge this time.
"You have outdone yourselves, minions," Joey said. "Just kidding. Thanks."
He ate and I watched him and my mind began to wander at the possibilities that this was all a plot for himself, to get out of his own life at The Covenant House.
"Joey...are you okay?" I asked softly and burped, worried and full of Diet Dr. Pepper.
"UH huh....," he said, slurping and gorging himself with more spoonful of porridge. He slobbered and ate and ate and ate, and then I heard him fart. "Oh no!" he said.
He ran to the bathroom, and I heard him scream. "You bloody bastards! What did you give me?"
"Nothing, sir!" said the manager, who was listening to him, as I ran to the bathroom, and again, smelled the foul odor and ran back to my table.
Joey came out and this time, he held his stomach, and he looked dehydrated and sweaty on the forehead.
"Bloody this time," he told me.
"Sir, we can give you free food, but please don't say anything to the police, please, sir!" said the manager.
"Make me another one and we call it even," said Joey.
The manager went to the kitchen to cook up another bowl.
Tears came out of my eyes without me knowing it was there, until I began to drip on the table and mucous came out of my nose.
"I'm worried," I told him.
"If there is anything I love, it's Chinese food," said Joey.
He looked to the ground, and took out some pills and it looked like something familiar. "This will make me go poopie more." He smiled at me, and took about a handful.
I didn't know what he took but they looked like fen-phen or diet pills because Joey told me once that he was dieting and he seemed to be dieting all the time.
"Are those stool softeners?" I asked.
"I'm eating it, and hear me roar!" said Joey. "Another porridge, please! Hah!"
I was convinced that he was crazy and going mad! He told me that he wanted porridge, but he didn't tell me that he was about to poop it out at the same time.
The next porridge was pork cutlets with green onions and pork blood. It looked amazing, and I bet it was delicious. Joey ate it and I knew he was chewing more than pork and pork blood and green onions, because those pills were in there too.
"I'm not sure if this is a good thing to do, but I'm going to call 911," I told him.
I spoke to the manager and said, "I think he is addicted to porridge, Sir."
"As long as he won't call the police, we are okay and he can eat as much as he can," said the manager, as tears came out of his eyes.
I walked to the table and I saw Joey gasping. He held his heart and he fell to the ground.
"Call the ambulance!" I yelled out to the waiter.
Joey kept farting and soon enough, he was vomiting and then I saw his pants began to absorb something wet and the wet spot that was small began to enlarge and the foul fecal odor came out as I knew he was pooping on the ground as he held his stomach.
"If this was the way to die, then it is a good death," said Joey, his breath short and he began to cry.
"Why, Joey?" I asked him, in tears, "And why here? Why Chinatown, and why this restaurant, and this food?"
"It's my favorite," said Joey. As I looked on his face, a smile, and a big one at that. Then he held his heart and his breathing became shorter and shorter till it was no more.
The ambulance came and Joey was dripping with bloody diarrhea and mucous coming out of his body. I sobbed and sobbed and couldn't handle anything else anymore and just kept crying.
It was his relationship with food that made him homeless, that made his mother hate him, that made her kick him out. It was all foods that made him obese, yet jolly, and sad but happy at times. I was so sad and sobbed and sobbed and I didn't know what to do. I walked home and was lost for hours, until the police came to me, and asked me if I was okay and I explained to him what happened.
"Bulimia, that's what killed him?" asked the police officer. "Or was it the diet pills?"
"It was all of it, and his hatred for food, and his hatred for being homeless, and for being obese," I said.
"You need to go home, Mary," said the officer.
"I hope Joey is in Heaven with Jesus," I said.
"He died an innocent man, perhaps only guilty of food poisoning, but he died an innocent man," said the officer.
I will write again, Seth. But, that was what happened and it was just one night in Chinatown.
I lost a friend,