Magpie Moments: Care for Some Sulfur with Your Tea?

Magpie bird stock photo from Photography by BJWOK on freedigitalphotos.netThis is the fourth in a series of what I’m calling Magpie Moments, things that I snagged from real life and repurposed into fiction.

I will add something new to this series every week until the next Sydney Brennan release. And SPOILER ALERT: you may not want to read these if you haven’t read Back to Lazarus yet.

We ate at a Mexican place where everything was drenched with cheese and the iced tea tasted slightly of sulfur. It was no Rosalia’s by any means, but when I switched my beverage to a Corona, the taste of the food improved dramatically.

[Back to Lazarus Chapter 26, Sydney having a working lunch with Richard and Mike]

As a vegetarian, my eating options on the road tend to be limited. (I decided to make things easier on Sydney by making her an omnivore.) Sometimes you get lucky. I’ve had a passable cheese po-boy when I was in Lloyd, Louisiana, watching a penalty phase retrial, and a surprisingly good egg salad sandwich in New Port Richey, Florida, after an evidentiary hearing. I’ve also eaten a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches. Too many grilled cheese sandwiches. (After a while, you just hope for a decent pickle for variety.)

Breaded chile rellenos, heavily saucedTraveling to see death row clients from Tallahassee was a mini-road trip of its own. If I drove alone and could fit all my visits in the morning, I’d grab a snack at the convenience store and hopefully have a late lunch when I got back to town. Sometimes I couldn’t wait and hit the one Burger King off the interstate, but they didn’t always get the veggie burger completely thawed. (Mmm, mmm, mmm—that’s good eating!) On days I had morning and afternoon visits, I’d try to double or triple up with other attorneys or investigators so we could keep each other awake. Our usual lunch stop was a Mexican restaurant where—you guessed it—the tea tasted like sulfur. And it was unsweetened—a double offense! I figured the plain water would be worse, and since I had visits after lunch I never had Sydney’s Corona option, so I always stuck with iced tea. They had a token vegetarian plate that wasn’t awful and was drenched in cheese. The chili relleno alone was enough to put you in a dairy coma. I feel like a nap just thinking about it.

[Magpie image by BJWOK on; Breaded Chile Rellenos by Skyler Lewis from wikimedia commons]