How I Nearly Ate Gene Simmons's Nuts

The man looks like a washed-up wanna-be rock star.

On an October Tuesday, I was in the Atlanta airport on a layover. I needed a snack, so I wandered down the concourse to find something. I saw a nut store.

I moseyed over to the shop, where a tallish, 50ish man and four twenty-something boys stood in the line in front of me. The man looks like a washed-up wanna-be rock star--he's got frizzy black hair, white snakeskin boots, a gaunt face, black denim pants. He's wearing a shirt and suit jacket, very casual looking. He looked a little familiar, but then, everyone in an airport can look a little familiar.

The man and the boys take off to the opposite side of the L-shaped counter when I walk up, then take a while to order. I wait patiently. The man approaches me, and starts to speak. "Sorry we kind of hijacked the lady behind the counter. Sorry you had to wait so long to order. Can I buy you some nuts?"

I say, "It's OK, I'm a pretty patient person. I've never had to take anyone out over nuts before, although I am close to being pre-menopausal! It could happen!" I make a "watch out" kind of face.

The man laughs and says to the lady behind the counter, "Can my friend here get some peanuts?"

I back away from the counter and say, "It's OK, don't worry about it!" This same exchange happens twice more. The man pays for everyone's orders, and opens his bag.

He looks at his chocolate-covered nut thing, and starts to fuss at the exhausted-looking counter lady. "I ordered milk chocolate, and this is dark. Isn't this dark?" The lady goes and gets a dark chocolate to show him the difference, but he looks at them, and looks at me, and says, "They don't look any different. Can you tell the difference?"

I look, and they are very clearly different. I tell him so.

"See, this one is clearly darker in color, and if you ate it, it would have a stronger, slightly bitter coffee-like flavor."

He looks a little stunned, and then says, "She's smart! She's totally right!"

I say, "I have a master's degree in chocolate." He half-smiles.

Then I say, "OK, it's really in English, but I'll claim it!" They walk off.

I go to the counter, order my nuts, pay for them. Then I walk to my gate, where there is a plane boarding for Guadalajara. The same man is standing in the first-class boarding section, with the boys, in a cordoned-off area. How strange to see the same guy twice.

I sit down and open my bag of nuts when a lady jumps up from her seat and says, "Oh, my God! I _love_ your show! _Family Jewels!"_ It was Gene Simmons. I had just popped off to Gene Simmons.

And if I had let him buy me those nuts, I could have eaten Gene Simmons's nuts!


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