She caught my eye
Thursday, October 23, 2003, 1:08 PM
Ken and I ate at Uno's last night, a family restaurant famous for its pizza. We sat in the bar area in one of the back booths because we're boozie bar people. The Coors went down real smooth. I got a garlic spinach pizza, Ken got a smothered chicken deal. We're about halfway through dinner when the lady in the booth behind us starts coughing big and deep and taking in enough oxygen to make an 80-pound girl faint. The Heimlich Maneuver isn't necessary since it's obvious she's breathing, but Ken half raises in his seat anyway because Boy Scout blood runs in his veins. And then I heard a gasp-pop-wheeze and something whizzed by my head. Ken, still in a mid-crouch, reached out and grabbed whatever it was like someone had just tossed him a baseball.
Guess what it was.
Never mind, you'll never get it. It was her glass eyeball. I'm not sure what color it was because I wouldn't look at it--my gag reflex was kicking in big time. I couldn't even take another swallow of beer. The lady, probably in her late fifties, was tearfully grateful to Ken. It was (nauseatingly) embarrassing, actually. There she was, minus an eyeball under the worst kind of circumstances, and I couldn't help wondering how someone could cough hard enough to lose an artificial eye.
I went to the bathroom and lost everything that I'd put into my stomach in the past 30 minutes. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. I couldn't believe this situation was real. Every time I started to laugh, I burped, which made me nauseous again. Ken sent a waitress in after me because I was in there for so long. By the time I got out of the restroom, the glass-eye lady and her booth companion were gone. Ken told me that she'd paid for our dinner. He had a weird look on his face. Maybe I'd been gone longer than I thought, or maybe he needed the bathroom, too.
"She, uh, wrote us a $100 check," he said and showed it to me.
I gaped at it. "Why?"
"She said I caught her eye."