Obsession Confession

4 Feb

I see the sign.

It says 17 Mott

I should move on.

I should not stop.

But how can I,

when the sign also says,

Wo Hop?

I look around,

I keep my head down.

No one must see me.

No one must know.

There’s still time,

I don’t have to go.

Down into the dark.

The steep stairs are in front of me.

I know what lies below.

I hesitate, for just a moment

before starting down.

One step, two,

I move very slow.

Three and four

Just a few more,

and I’m through the door.

My heart races at what I’ve done,

but I no longer care,

because soon

I’ll be eating chow fun.

I’m inside now, where the neon is bright.

The walls covered with pictures of celebrities,

some real, some slight.

Like me, they all succumb

to 17 Mott’s guilty pleasures,

like wor shu duck,

and vegetables subgum.

Someday I hope to have my picture on the wall.

The man in the blue shirt is there with water and tea.

Two clear glasses, brought only for me.

“You ready?” he asks as soon as I sit.

I’m too nervous to answer.

I don’t know what to say.

Disgusted, he leaves in a fit.

The men in the blue shirts.

The menu is so vast, I need my specs.

Why did I do it?

Why did I make the trek?

The food is no good,

at least that’s what they say.

Much better for sure, just a few blocks up the way.

Maybe there’s something wrong with me?

Maybe I’m a little insane?

But how can I resist,

the 3D lo mein?

He brings the soup

with the wontons and egg drop.

I look at him.

He knows I have no control

“Fried noodles?”

My head lowers in shame.

He knows I can’t stop.

The noodles, moist with fat,

come with mustard,

and duck sauce too.

The grease coats my fingers.

I want to lick them.

Oh, Lord, what am I to do?

The soup is gone.

My eyes droop

and my jaw goes numb.

I know what it is.

I know what makes it that way.

It’s supposed to be bad for you.

Yet I come anyway.

Now there’s more on the table.

A mound of chicken kew,

sweet and pungent,

and roast pork fried rice too.

I dig through the cornstarch-thickened glaze.

Shoveling it down,

eating it all,

despite my MSG-induced daze.

Many dirty napkins later,

he brings the little paper

with writing I do not understand.

And on top,

one plastic-wrapped fortune cookie.

I tear and I claw.

I bite and I chew.

It should be easy,

but it’s no use.

My fortune goes unread,

my fingers too greasy.

I’ve paid now.

It’s time to leave.

I walk up the stairs,

keeping my hat low.

Quicker now,

I’m almost out.

No one must see me.

No one must know.

I walk quickly away

from 17 Mott.

Never to return,

I say every time.

But then I’m on Mott Street.

And I see the sign.

Back up into the light.

Happy Chinese New Year to all my friends.  See you again on Tuesday for another installment of Adventures in Chow City.

2 Responses to “Obsession Confession”

  1. philip falcone February 4, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

    I was near there yesterday but at n.y. noodle town for sliced fish congee, there were four dragons challenging each other on bayard street, beautiful colored paper covered everything.


  1. The Great Chinatown Conflict 2017: Resolved with Rye and Lo Mein | Fried Neck Bones...and some home fries - October 24, 2017

    […] which, on Mott Street, was a few doors from the Chinatown legend of our collective youths: Wo Hop (Obsession Confession).  While Gerry and Mike from Yonkers sipped Redemption Rye, I settled on cold beer as my viewing […]

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