"Oh, here's some," I say.
She made certain that we coated the pans with nonstick spray, because she would wager her lovely life that when she gets home tonight that the kitchen will be a complete disaster -- dishes everywhere, beer and honey on the floor, hot sauce in the little crevices of her beloved maple cabinets. This is not the case. We did not, in fact, get any hot sauce in the little crevices of her beloved maple cabinets.
But, boy, did we roast up some wings. The trouble with keeping the doors and windows open in the process is that the girl's friends keep coming in and out. They are like geese. Honk, honk. One arrives, then two leave. Honk, honk, honk.
"Make yourself at home," I tell one of the teens.
"Already have," says Natasha, as she makes tea in the busy kitchen.
Teenagers, they all look the same to me. I can barely tell the boys from the girls. Honestly, they all change so quickly. They are like that Christina Aguilera, a different person every time.
I love the sparkle in their eyes, though, and the way they're always trying to fool their parents. Not since the heyday of the French Underground have rulers been so hoodwinked.
Yep, I love the teenagers. I understand teenagers. Favorite fluid: beer. Favorite hobby: each other. Favorite food: free.
"Mr. Erskine, can I try a wing?" someone asks.
"Of course," I say.
Nearby, the little guy is singing "We Are the Champions."
In the kitchen, Irving is sliding trays in and out of the oven -- sounds like gunfire, bang-bang-bang. And geese, honk-honk-honk.
"Dude, we did it!" Irv screams at one point, and I'm not sure what he's referring to. Did we finish the wings? Did we set another dish towel afire? Did the oven explode?
Let me just say that Irv is an amazing guy, a friend for almost 20 years, an accomplished cook, sommelier, philosopher, consigliere, computer geek, mechanic, sex therapist, dog expert, raconteur. The things Irving does with a spatula, Heifetz used to do with a fiddle.
"We are the champions, we are the champions . . . " croons the little guy.
"Dude, these wings are the champions!" yells Irv as the evening winds down to a dull roar.
Pass the happy juice.