#18: Lee reveals his House of Gay Human Oddities
Can Robert’s crush get any more unusual?
Robert and Janet arrived early at the new General Muir to check things out before the Atlanta Food Porn Supper Club got underway. The restaurant is an upscale take on a Jewish delicatessen across from the CDC on Clifton Road and is open for all three meals of the day.
Robert walked into the dining room, looked around and nearly dislocated his neck doing a double-take. Lee, with whom he’d made dinner plans for a few days later, was seated at a round table with a few others.
As at the last dinner, he was wearing makeup, looking something like a cross between a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence and Ronald McDonald. But he was otherwise dressed normally, his strong hands on the table, playing with a fork that caught the light and seemed to flash in his eyes.
Robert cleared his throat and approached the table. Lee, laughing, got out of his chair and hugged Robert. “We got here early,” he said. “I brought some friends.”
One was the dwarf he and Janet had seen at the Waffle House. His blond hair swooped over his forehead, which supported the same cheap, glittering tiara he’d worn before. When he stood up to shake hands, Robert noticed that he was also wearing the same pearl-handled revolver in a holster.
“Hey there, girlfriend,” the man said. “I’m pleased to be here. You can call me Shawtina.” Robert shook his tiny hand and smiled. He looked around the table and a young man, plainly lacking one ear and wearing an eye patch, waved.
“Hey, bro,” he said. He was wearing a shirt with a large A&F logo and a red baseball cap with NASCAR printed on it.
Janet interrupted and greeted Lee, whom she mildly disliked for earning Robert’s affection. This, of course, was a way for her to temper her anger at Robert for “courting a freak,” as she put it.
Others around the table, waved at Janet, including an elderly woman with what looked like ash around her mouth. Her short brown hair was singed and her fingernails were painted orange.
The dining room began filling up. The club had grown large enough that it required multiple tables. Lee invited Janet and Robert to join him. Janet started to demur but followed Robert who seemed to have no hesitation.
Servers at the General Muir circulated among the crowd, never batting an eye at Lee and his friends. The restaurant has been opened by Ben and Jennifer Johnson, owners of West Egg Café. The name derives from the US refugee ship that brought Jennifer’s mother and grandparents, Holocaust survivors, to America after World War II.
Another partner in the venture is Shelly Sweet, general manager of West Egg, and Chef
Food Porn is a fictional series by longtime Atlanta food critic Cliff Bostock. Set in real Atlanta restaurants, it chronicles the adventures of Robert, a gay man in search of a husband — or at least a good meal. Read the whole series online at www.theGAVoice.com.
Todd Ginsberg, whose creative work at Bocado made him one of the city’s favorite chefs.
The room grew quiet and Robert stood up and welcomed everyone, thanking Janet once again for her help in organizing the dinners. Visibly flustered, she waved and shouted “hey y’all” to everyone.
Then a woman jumped to her feet. “Come on!” she said. “Are we supposed to pretend like your table is invisible? How about introducing us?”
“We are often invisible,” Shawtina shouted, jumping on the table and firing his pistol in the air, releasing orgasmic waves of glitter, followed by hurled condoms.
The room gasped and applauded, bursting into laughter. Robert laughed too and Janet covered her mouth to stifle her own delight. Then Lee, his face radiant, rose to his feet. “Ladies, gentlemen and all between. I am magus and mama of the House of Gay Human Oddities. Now, we’re not here to ruin your food porn, but to make you aware of yourselves. You can call us theater, therapy or magic. It matters not. We are real. You already know us. You just need some reminders.”
Robert felt his heart pounding as he looked around the room.
“May I tell you my story?” Lee asked the crowd.
“Please!” Shawtina shouted. Beside him, a frail black man tattooed from head to toe pumped his fist in the air.
Laughter echoed between the glass walls and Lee walked to the center of the room.
The General Muir, located near Emory University, offers a wide array of upscale deli selections, including an assortment of pastries. (Photo via Facebook)