Thursday, April 9, 2009

Carmelita, hold me tighter

Great Caesar's Ghost...there are still a few Pioneer Chicken restaurants in the Los Angeles area. This one is on Sunset Boulevard near the intersection of Hollywood and Sunset, hanging on by a thread next to a shell of a former Circuit City. (The original location in Echo Park was shuttered just a few weeks ago.)

When I was in fifth grade, a car struck me as I was crossing San Pablo Dam Road in El Sobrante, California. The driver sped off and was never apprehended, and I was left in the road with two busted legs. As far as I'm concerned that road will forever be known as Damn San Pablo Road.

The worst pain I've ever experienced in my life came a week later...the first screwy doctor (straight outta Farewell to Arms) in nearby Pinole reset my legs incorrectly, so doctor number two in Mountain View had to re-reset the bones. The Judge Reinhold lookalike even fed me the "This won't hurt a bit" line before giving the tibia twister.

On the way home from the second hospital stay, my family stopped by Pioneer Chicken for some take-out. I remember still being sick and out of it back at home, stuck in plaster leg casts from toe to thigh, and I groggily turned to see my brother chicken chomping. In those days Pioneer Chicken was the pinnacle of all fast food chicken, a couple notches above Kentucky Fried Chicken, but being fresh from the hospital I wanted nothing to do with it.

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