If any of you have ever made your own sourdough bread, then you probably already know about sourdough starter. Itís a nasty concoction of flour, water, sugar, and yeast that can be kept alive for years. Whenever you make your sourdough bread, you just scoop out half of the slimy mess and add it to your bread ingredients. Then add some flour, sugar, and water to the jar and let the process continue.

Patsy Swank had a fifteen-or-so old starter that she had used for making prize bread. A housekeeper found the starter jar and cleaned it out; Patsy fired her on the spot. I remember my dad getting a little misty-eyed over the whole thing. A good starter is worth keeping.

When I moved into my new apartment up in North Dallas, I decided to get a starter going. I figured it would be cheaper to make my own bread and better for me in the long run.

And one day, when Phil and I were first dating, I asked his help in adding some, ah, "special" ingredients to the mix.

Donít ask me why I did it. I guess I was trying to make a homunculus or something.

Anyway, we made several loafs out of the stuff and it was really good. He was only in the starter and that amount was half-ing with each loaf. And the bread was being baked, so itís not like you were going to eat the bread and really been eating, uh, well... proving it was love, not like.

But the point is, one day we were sitting around eating bread and jam and listening to my jazz records when a couple of friends came by. They asked if they could have some bread ("Is that homemade?") and we had completely forgotten about the starter so we said yes.

Then Phil dragged me into the kitchen. "Do you know what bread that is?"

"Itís sourdough bread."

"Yeah... and whatís in the starter?"

"Oh my god."

"Riiiiight."

"They can never know."

It wouldnít have been an issue, but later on, one of the friends fell out of favor with the rest of the group (actually, he got a really good, high-paying job and stopped talking to us) and so we revealed that he had eaten this bread. Ha ha ha. Laughs all around. Even the other guy was laughing.

So we left it at that.

Time passes, seasons change, and important things get forgotten. Fast-forward to spring of 1998 and the whole pack of us is down at Danís Lakewood Café.

Now, L had a new girlfriend who didnít approve of drinking, so heíd hide it from her or lie to her if he went anywhere for shots. One night, he and this girlfriend were playing some sort of 'grab all the straws' game and she had a pretty hefty collection of his straws in her glass. L decided to go out to his car, but said, "Iím going to the menís room."

Phil, being the kindly soul he is, decided to put a stop to the straw game, and when the girlfriend wasnít looking, nabbed all the straws. They looked like sort of a bouquet and Phil ran out in the rain to give them to L.

I may have said this before, but the menís restroom at Danís is outside. I think the place used to be a gas station, so itís that kind of bathroom. So, imagine if you will, Phil standing outside this skank bathroom, in the rain, with a bouquet of straws. When L didnít come out, Phil went looking for him.

Phil came back inside and told Lís girlfriend that L wasnít in the bathroom, so she got pissed. Then Phil put the straws in Lís glass.

When L got back, he had to go through the haranguing his girlfriend gave him for lying about where he was and what heíd been doing...so we felt a little guilty for accidentally blowing his cover on that one. Then, when L started to drink out of his glass (through the straws), his girlfriend informed him that Phil had been standing in the rain, next to the menís room, holding the straws in his bare hands. I donít know why that last detail was important (Philís always been very conscientious about cleanliness) but she decided to throw it in for good measure.

At this point, L looked nauseated. I felt a little sorry for him so I opened my mouth and made one of the biggest mistakes of my life.

"If it makes you feel any better, you ate the bread."

I donít think that was what he wanted to hear.

Now, L had once said that if he ever found out we had fed him any of that bread, heíd kill us. Obviously he hasnít. I do feel bad that I had said it in front of a crowded room so he was pretty embarrassed. I remember he didnít say much of anything after that. He just sat and moped in the corner booth and finally left.

Iíve gotten some hate mail since, and Iíve been informed that Phil and I are "not allowed" to talk to him. I canít really say y life has been that affected by it. Maybe just less bullshit to put up with; thatís about it.
 

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