• Sarah Ballan

Meet Fred

We all have our go-to eateries in town. Those must-have meals you crave when you’re home for the holidays. For Scarsdalians, a common shared favorite is Giononnis (Nonnis), located on the corner of Garth Road in the one and only Scarsdale Village. Typically this cash-only sandwich spot is open 5am-4pm. On Thanksgiving Eve, however, they stay open until 4am, attracting all of the late-teen through twenty-somethings, luring them in after a night of binge drinking with High School buddies. The only place open to dine in the Dale, making it a perfect post-midnight snack.

The social scene on this particular eve is as follows: there’s Chat, of course, teeming with youths aka those in their early 20s, or anyone in college with a passible fake ID. Then there’s Garth Road Inn (GRI) for the older, more "mature" crowd. Fakes don’t work at GRI, and you need to be at least 25 years of age to enter. I finally made the cut last year, as I celebrated my turning a quarter century just three weeks prior! Regardless of which bar or house party you start out your night, you’re bound to end up grabbing grub on Garth.

My mouth watered with anticipation on my way to GRI. So much so that I decided to split a sando with my High School friend on our walk. We had already been drinking and I knew I’d be only temporarily satisfied with that one half, but beating the crowds was worth it. I removed my gloves to eat and actually forgot about how cold it was for a minute. Nonnis is that good.

Once inside the tiny tavern I beelined to the bar. Tequila soda was only $8; literally half the price of what I’m used to in Manhattan. I started to mingle and catch up with old friends. One boy, let’s call him *Fred, approached me and we began chatting. The last time I saw Fred was one year prior; same time, same place. It was like dejavu. Familiar friendly conversation, but his demeanor was a little bit touchy for my taste. More so than a friend would be. He offered to buy me a drink. We sat at the bar as he whispered in my ear how amazing I looked like I was doing on instagram as he stroked my thigh.

I had always thought Fred was cute in High School. Maybe we would make out later that night and I’d finally fulfill my 16-year-old fantasy a decade later. Better late than never, eh? Our dialogue gravitated towards Gianonnis. We both wanted it. “Don’t go without me,” Fred said with a smile. He was down, no question.

Nothing good happens after 2am. I learned that from HIMYM. “When 2am rolls around, just go home and go to sleep” - Ted Mosby.

I glanced at my iPhone: 2:26am and the sandwich spot was a zoo, teeming with drunk kids, fiending for their favorite snack. But I wasn’t tired, I was hungry. Craving my Cajun. What’s on a Cajun you may ask? It's the perfect mixture of chicken cutlet, tomato, shredded lettuce, and ranch dressing. Crack.

I didn’t recognize a soul inside the place, but I fought through the crowd, clinging onto Fred who plowed the way for us. “Cajun?” He asked, as if reading my mind. We waited patiently at the counter, his hand on the small of my back, as the aroma of greasy goodness filled my nose. I could almost taste it. Where were we going to eat? I offered up my kitchen. Fred's eyes lit up as he dialed the Uber. And as we waited he hugged me, his cheek against mine, protecting me from the cold. How sweet.

The drive from Nonnis to my parents house is slightly under five minutes, but it was below freezing and neither of us was down to walk. As the Toyota Camry turned left onto my street, Fred’s phone played the familiar jingle. He was getting a FaceTime at this ungodly hour.

"We’re on the way to the bar,” he lied, angling the screen away from me. Did my drunk ears deceive me? There was a girl on the other end, slurring her words. I sat there, silently suspicious. “Talk to you in the morning, I love you,” he said and placed the phone back in his pocket…

My eyes widened and I felt sorry for the girl on the other end, whose existence I had just only learned of. The “bar”? You “love” her? Was this prick blatantly attempting to cheat on you the one night you weren’t together? What a sleazy, scummy, snake.

I eyed the paper bag in his hand. His stupid meaty hands around my meal. Salivating and starving, my conscious wouldn’t let me call him out just yet. Who does he think he is? Who does he think I am? I wanted to give it to this lying motherf*cker, but I needed my Nonnis. This night was a Cajun catastrophe.

Once inside my parent’s house, I handed him a Disney plate on which to eat - a Ballan family classic. “In honor of Mickey’s 90th” I said, trying to keep my cool. We sat down at the wooden table facing the TV. He kept one hand on his sandwich as the other one inched towards my leg. I flicked Fred away.

Time to roast this Turkey.

“So,” I said raising my eyebrows and biting into my crispy Cajun. “You have a girlfriend?” Blood rushed to his face. “Uh, yeah. You didn’t know that?” A nervous chuckle escaped his scumbag lips as frightened Fred bowed his head. The coward couldn’t even look me in the eyes. “How long?” I said, my mouth chock full of chicken. Fred seemed to be losing his appetite. “3 years,” he gulped. What the hell was he even doing here?

“I-I I’m sorry, he stammered.”

No need to be sorry to me, jackass. Be sorry to her. “I think you should go,” I replied, kindly showing him to the front door. Shameless. The steam from his hot, embarrassed face floated around his head as he stepped out into the cold. F*ck outta here, Fred. The next day he had the audacity to like a few of my instas in a row. I simply unfollowed.

His untouched hero half lingered on the plate. I handed it to my brother who drunkenly stumbled in the door minutes later. "Cajun?!" He asked excitedly. You bet.

*Name change

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