To my surprise, Rassmussen has a fan. A real, honest to goodness, flesh and blood fan, who care about him and wants to learn more.
When I told Rassmussen, he said, “Get a life!” and stomped off, scratching his butt-cheek.
Later, he came walking stiffly back from wherever he disappears, carrying a club in one hand and an empty Big Gulp in the other. At least, he managed to avoid burping or farting while answering the question, which after a 64-ounce cocktail of diet Dr. Pepper and Orange Crush with a dash of Irish Cream is often an impossible feat.
When asked what he liked to eat—his favorite snacks and such—he snorted and wobbled over to his favorite chair, scarcely more than a garage sale reject covered with a patchwork quilt. Sitting down with a lot of grunting and scooting around to find a proper fit into his customized butt-crease, he put on his best wizen man face, consisting of scrunching up his forehead and resting his chin in the palm of his hand. The whole affect looked more like a sharpei crossed with an angry pug than it did philosophical wisdom, but I give him credit for trying.
“Francine, my dear,” he said slowly. “I can remember my worst meal far better than I can recall my best. Sixty days out to sea on a trip provisioned for two weeks. Fifteen men and me. Even the rats had been sacrificed to the kettle. The cook had walked the plank the week before, along with the captain. As I was his first mate, it looked like I was next, so I made it a point to keep the men fed as best I could.
“I’d boil up shoe leather with seaweed and seasoning, but the results were less than filling, so I went prowling around in the bowels of the ship, looking for anything remotely palatable. The best I could come up with were dried rat droppings and a shriveled up apple. I told the men I’d found raisins, and the apple, and set about using up the last minute traces of flour, a bit of axle grease, and remains of the captain’s sherry bottle to create something akin to a tart.
“The results were horrific, but to the starving men, it was a feast! They each savored their sliver as if it were their last meal—for many, it was. Me, knowing what went into it, found it almost impossible to get my share down without giving away my secret, but I managed.
“To this day, I can’t look a raisin in the eye without turning green.”
“But you haven’t answered the question,” I reminded him. “What do you like to eat?”
“Bah! Woman. You’re the writer. Make something up!”