Almost 86’ed from the ButtercuP Grill

So, my friend Rachel and I had plans to have breakfast together this morning,  at the  Jack London Square farmers market.

Unfortunately, the morning was drizzly, and gray and neither of us was in the mood to stand shivering  in the mist on the piers, eating breakfast and staring into the cold void of infinity.



So, we drove around for awhile,  looking for a place to have breakfast. Suddenly, a sign caught my eye:


“Ooh! There!” I shouted.

I was drawn to this place for two reasons. ONE: My hash brown radar was going off like a motherfucker.   The only places you can get actual REAL  hash browns (not  home fries, which by the way  are a blight to the american breakfast)  in California  are greasy spoon diners run by retired carnies.  TWO: The sign for the restaurant said ButtercuP Grill  with a capital P at the end. (Random cAps! cOOl.)

“Holy cow,” I said, rubbernecking the sign as we walked in.  “Do you think that capital P was just a type-o and they just  didn’t want to take the sign back to be fixed? That would be funny.”

“Maybe the P stands for something,” said my friend. “Probably it’s intentional.”


I soon forgot about the letter P, because I got lost in the 10 page menu. The big book of breakfast!   My favorite kind of book to read, any time of day, yes god. In chapter one, we enter coffee land. In chapter two, we meet eggs,  benedicts AND YES GOD, hash browns. The menu ends with a  cream puff centerfold spread of pies and pancakes and butter.

The food was just as delicious as  the big  book of breakfast promised. My friend had a waffle, I had hash browns gravy and biscuits. We both drank about a gallon of coffee each.

While we stood in line twitching, flapping gums and  waiting to pay our bill, I noticed that the cashier had a T-shirt on that said “ButtercuP Grill.” Leading me to once again, ponder the strangeness of the random capital P! Now that it seemed intentional, there was only one question to ask.

“Hey, what’s the capital P stand for, in Buttercup?” I asked the cashier.

I expected to get some sort of folksy canned answer, like. “Well, the capital P stands for Patty Page, who originally started this grill in 1978 after finishing her career as a successful carnie clown.” He would then nod to the wall, where an oil painting of a clown in a tunic was hung, and then, there would  would be a moment of silence amongst the staff for old Patty Page.
“Oh, I see,” said the cashier, looking me up and down  “You–you’re  one of those people who analyzes everything, aren’t you? Just have to point all the stuff out about the things you see, is that it? some kind of pointer-outer of things. Well, I don’t know what the P stands for,” he continues, shaking his head.  “The letter P, why would you ask that, you know, it’s just a letter, it’s a letter that’s all.”
“Oh, yes,  I see,” I said, acting like I understood, but I didn’t. I chuckled and nodded but I had no idea what was going on. All I had was  this  feeling that the man was very irritated with my question. Or else he was  being really defensive for some reason. Have I just stumbled upon some ancient buttercup secret? Have I unwittingly awakened the ghost of Patty Page the carnie clown by mentioning the P?
“The letter P,” he continued. “P. You know what, how about Pie, does that work for you?”
“Pie?” I asked.
“Pie. P for Pie.”
“P for….PIE! Ah, that makes perfect sense!” I said.  “Yes! Pie!”
The man laughed. I laughed. Things are going to be O-kay. We pay our bill.  We like pie!
“You know what?” I said, feeling a zinger approaching launch.  “Pie should ALWAYS be capitalized if you ask me.”
“Right??” he said.
At this point, I should have just  wished him a good day and left everything on a chill and happy note.  I’d toss a thumb-up over my shoulder, and he, and everyone in the restaurant would smile warmly at me, because I am one satisfied breakfast customer.
Instead,  the familiar  entity that  I loosely refer to as “super spaz” possessed my  body and forced me to shout “PIE!” all slow-clap winner style, and then cackle insanely.  As I did this, I stepped  back slightly (as if to make space for my big fat words) and stepped on the foot of the large African-American man who was not trying to have any of my good natured ribbing at all.
“Oh no! I’m sorry,” I said.
The cashier then shouted, to my friend  Rachel (who I guess he assumed was my case manager at the halfway house) “Take this woman out of here to be ANALYZED.”
After we had a good laugh,  I said to my friend:  “I don’t understand what that cashier was going on about though. Did you? Why was he so freaked out by that question?”
“I don’t know,” she said.  “All I can say is, never trust anyone who has less than five teeth.”
And with that, we turned and made our way to the chilly farmers market, never knowing the truth about the letter P.



About ArleneShirlee

Hello. I live in Oakland. I write, I rap, I play drums, and I do some neat party tricks.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s