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2001-08-01

Michel de Nostradame
B. 12.14.1503 St. Remi, France / D. 7.1.1566 Salon, France
Dropsy

From today's New York Post: The bizarre life and death of a hermit—who didn't leave his East Side apartment once in 13 years and ordered the same meal from the same restaurant three times a day—has cops baffled. A week ago, while walking past the Mexican restaurant around the corner, I noticed a new sign in their window and a vision beset me. Rice pudding—the food of America’s future!
Irwin Rose, who sources said was in his 50s, died sometime over the weekend after (sic) a neighbor called 911 and others complained of a stench coming from his apartment. His body was discovered late Sunday night, naked in his tub, surrounded by a wide assortment of medication. Like all dependencies, it will start in New York, as a most-specific craving for the custard’s soft, sweet chill after a long day of being hard-edged and/or unhappy.
Police believe he may have been self-medicating. But puzzled cops couldn't find any identification or banking records in Rose's cluttered, one-bedroom apartment at 200 E. 58 Street. Soon the whole nation will be going around licking the need off its teeth for the old people’s old-time ambrosia; that sacred oral reward is about to be dragged with its secrets out of the hospital kitchens and into all the lifestyle magazines.
However, the 11th-floor apartment was littered with scraps of paper and receipts from the diner where he ordered the same meal three times every day for eight years. Vinnie Sanchez, who works at JR Cafe a block away, often delivered food to Rose—and said the man never wavered in his order. "Rice pudding, chicken soup, two eggs over easy, sausages, cheesecake and sometimes a milkshake," Sanchez said. I'm telling you, I saw it first. I saw it so clearly; I saw rice pudding making its way onto menus all over the country—what vanilla ice cream once was, it will be. In every school, in every home; a McDonalds version, a family pack, microwavable versions. The last exit to comfort.
"He hasn't been out in 13 years, and I've been here 14," doorman Victor Lopez told The Post. "Everything was delivered to him. Food, clothes, money." Lopez last spoke to the slim, balding Rose Friday at about 1 p.m. and said he seemed fine. The doorman added that few people—except deliverymen—ever visited the reclusive tenant in his pricey digs. "He just locked himself up and never came out," Lopez said. "Something seemed to snap in him, and he must have become afraid of the world." I saw The Four Seasons Hotel advertising its renowned rice pudding to corporate party-planners; I saw Julia Roberts eating rice pudding in bed, in her pajamas, in the trailers for a big-budget film; I saw Starbucks selling rice pudding in branded plastic containers; I saw the Starbucks containers and their little foil lids littering the aftermaths of gay mass marriages and outdoor alternative rock concerts. I heard office workers crying out to one another over their cubicle walls, “Who’s going for rice pudding today?" I give this two years to happen to everyone.

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