Entertaining the Buffetts in Sydney

From TheAge.com.au (by Charles Waterstreet): “A buffet of anxiety, anyone?

Jane and Jimmy Buffett were flying into Sydney to visit daughter Delaney, on exchange for a semester studying criminology. Jimmy and Jane are the king and queen of comfort and southern hospitality. An immediate sense of panic gripped my insides when my ex-wife – first wife, last wife, mother of my only child – instructed me to look after them.

The Buffetts have been super generous to my former wife and our son. I once attended a concert immediately after the 30-hour flight from Sydney to New York’s Jones Beach Stadium to see Harrison sitting on Jimmy’s shoulders on stage, singing Margaritaville. The Buffetts are the ultimate entertainers on and off stage. Now my mission was to entertain them in Sydney for three nights, culminating in getting some interesting Sydney people around the table on the final night. Just to make things harder, I was in a difficult case, preparing for an even more difficult case, and I was absolutely skint.

Syan suggested Green Dragon, a hot fusion place 20 metres from my home. It was impossible to book, but when I waved the day’s paper about the world’s third-richest singer – under a Beatle and before Bruce Springsteen and Lady Gaga – a table suddenly turned up.

Immediately in the restaurant, Jimmy’s face rearranged itself, the lines all facing down. The noise shattered the musician’s tender eardrums. It was like Kingsford Smith at the height of the holidays. I let the waiter choose the food. A tasting menu – I was prepared to eat a menu at this stage. Conversation continued as if shouting docking instructions to a tugboat. The first course of jellyfish came and went down. The second course required patrons to more or less make their own sandwich rolls of the lettuce leaves. I managed to make one that resembled an IED when Syan screamed and jumped up from the common seat, ”A slug! A slug!” The slug was passing across her lettuce wrap like a fat snake, bunching up in the belly and spreading out like Ian Thorpe in his heyday. The Buffetts rose like rockets. I got up but couldn’t take my eye off the slug, which must have heard us above the clanging of the room, because it stopped dead in its slimy tracks and reared up on its haunches like a stallion.

The Buffetts are health conscious to the point of paranoia. No gluten. No fries. No pies. They intend to live forever or die in the attempt. The manager came out horrified. I suggested the Buffetts ring David Berg, the red-hot US attorney. This was the end of my red-carpet treatment at the Green Dragon.

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