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Wednesday · August 06 2003

Jimmy made the picnic dinner equal parts Whole Foods and KFC. Deep fried thighs, shrimp cocktail, and doughy biscuits sat next to each other in the orange basket. An anjou pear peeked out from underneath the chicken box. He had his picnic shirt on, the bright orange buttondown that constrasted right through the tan linen Panama Jack slacks/jacket pair. This was probably his last chance.

Thinking, "I got both kinds of wine -- just in case. Corkscrew, cocktail sauce, tablecloth...shit, candles." Jimmy shrugged, "Citronella works."

He climbed in the cab. Jimmy told the driver, "Monroe and Columbus." He sat back across the backseat and rested his head on the window. He lifted his right leg onto the cushion, and the other fell on the basket top.

Jimmy's stomach tightened as the cab turned right off of Lake Shore. Tonight was going to suck, no question. They met on the northeast corner.

Most everyone gave him a turnaround stare as they walked through the crowd together. Not just for his company, but his clothes were alarming. Accesorizing to picnic-ware took effort and he appreciated it.

"I like the yellow tinted aviator shades."

"Thanks."

Jimmy laid out the tablecloth on the stumpy clapboard table. His spread put everyone else's to shame.

"Wow, shrimp cocktail at a movie picnic? Nice. What else you got?"

"Chicken."

The silk flower centerpiece was a fine touch. He sliced up the pears, pulled out the orange and apricot plates, and unscrewed the wine. He felt pretty good about this now. He relaxed a little, looked over and smiled.

"Have you seen this movie before?"

"A few times. Sidney Poitier is one of my favorite actors."

Jimmy started on the chicken careful not to get any grease on his jacket. After that, the night was pretty silent, except when Sidney firmly said, "They call me MISTER Tibbs." Everyone enjoyed that part.

© 2003 Jason Keglovitz