Eating Authors: Gini Koch

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Gini Koch

As anticipated, the convalescence moves at glacial speed. I tend to sleep in 90 minute chunks with 30 minute breaks of wakefulness. I cruise around the house in a t-shirt, sweatpants, and socks, bingeing on Netflix (I just rewatched the brilliant Sense8), eating soup for at least one meal each day, reading Nebula Award nominees, and taking my pain pills dutifully in a six hour rotation. If the fog of chemobrain parts, I manage maybe an hour of writing. Maybe. More likely, the world starts feeling heavier and heavier as the sun goes down and I am done.

The massive weight loss — due in part to adding on 26 lbs of water weight from days of IV feeds, and in part from minimal intake while in hospital, and in part to my body being in overdrive as it builds a new immune system — has finally slowed, pretty much topping out at 44 lbs over nine days.

Still, I am feeling ever so slightly better from one day to the next, which is how it’s supposed to work.

No segue for you this week, I’m just going to flat out say that the EATING AUTHORS guest is Gini Koch, and how pleased I am to have her here. If you’re not familiar with Gini’s Alien series (aka the Katherine “Kitty” Katt series) then you’ve been hiding under a rock that resists DAW Books. It’s currently at 16 volumes, with promises of at least another 4 as the rigors of life resolve themselves. This is in addition to novels of undead police procedurals and space opera royalty.

Gini also writes under a variety of pseudonyms: G.J. Koch for her humorous space pirates, J.C. Koch for Pacific Rim monsters, Jemma Chase for time traveling vampires, Anita Ensal for fantastical short fiction, A.E. Stanton for a kind of post apocalyptic westerns. Whatever name she’s using, whatever genres she’s bending and blending, the delight she’s having writing comes through.

LMS: Welcome Gini, what meals stands out as your most memorable?

GK: In the olden days of my just-out-of-youth, we lived in Southern California. At this time, we were living in Granada Hills – which is part of the San Fernando Valley and where the hubs grew up – in a nice, large one-bedroom apartment with not one but TWO sleeper sofas. We were Vacation Central for all our friends who, like us, were in their early-to-mid 20’s and basically broke.

One set of those friends were getting married and therefore all our mutual friends were invited. While I did then and still do love and adore the groom (he’s the one who introduced me to the hubs, after all), he did then and still does fall on the, ah, thrifty side of the house. So, while the wedding was lovely, the nice reception at 4pm only served hors d’oeuvres. For an hour.

Touched by an Alien

Needless to say, most of us at the reception were starving by the time the reception was over. One of my BFFs from college was at the wedding. At the time she was married to a handsome Marine, but he was on duty. So, a different handsome Marine escorted her to this wedding, seeing as Officer’s Wives were not supposed to go stag or some such.

They were also staying at our apartment because, shockingly, officer’s salaries aren’t as impressive as one would hope. The Stand-in Marine (which is what we’re going to call him from now on, because while I think his name was Andy, I’m not prepared to swear to it after all this time) was freaking out about staying in our one-bedroom apartment with “another gentleman’s wife” despite us sharing that we had TWO sleeper sofas and were, therefore, the height of propriety because no one had to bunk together in that sense.

The four of us decided that we were going to literally die if we didn’t get some food, and my and all my closest college girlfriends’ favorite restaurant was just a short ways away. La Frite was an adorable French bistro on Ventura Blvd. that made the best food and even better souffles. The four of us headed there.

The Night Beat

The food was fantastic, as always, and we were not rushing to finish our meals. Keep in mind that we’d been at a wedding – we were dressed up. Stand-In Marine was in his dress blues, the hubs was in his (only) nice suit, and me and my BFF were in fancy dresses. With high heels. In that day (the mid-to-late-80’s), I never wore a heel less than 4 inches, and the ones I was in that day were probably 5 inches without breaking a sweat. My feet hurt.

So, while eating, I slipped out of my shoes. The tables at La Frite were rounds supported by single metal posts on a metal X, which was bolted down on all four ends. The bolts were smooth and they were great for rubbing your feet. Which I did. From well before we’d ordered drinks on through the meal.

During all this time, Stand-In Marine was getting antsier and antsier, and acting more and more stressed and odd. The rest of us had no idea what his problem was with great French food in a casual setting, but we ignored his weirdness because we were nice people and we kept on eating, drinking, and yapping. And I keep on rubbing my feet.

I still remember the exact moment when I moved my right foot just a little differently and felt something that shouldn’t be there – laces. Using my left foot, I checked for the bolt. Sure enough, my right foot was nowhere near the bolt. And I hadn’t moved my right leg much at all.

I stared at Stand-In Marine. He looked like a trapped animal with nowhere to go.

The Royal Scam

“Ah,” I said carefully, “um, I have to ask this. Have I been rubbing my feet on your shoe for this entire meal?”

Keep in mind that the hubs and my BFF knew me well. Before Stand-In Marine could reply, they were both laughing hysterically.

“Yes, ma’am,” Stand-In Marine managed to croak out. “That’s my shoe.”

Now I was laughing hysterically, too, while apologizing profusely and, per the onlookers, turning a lovely shade of Embarrassed Red. My girlfriend made Stand-In Marine look at the bolts on the floor – she’d been using them in the same way I’d thought I was. This managed to relax him enough that we no longer feared he was going to throw up or run screaming into the street.

“Oh, my God,” the hubs managed. “Your expression. You thought you were going to be sleeping at Swinger Central tonight.” He and my friend went off into more gales of laughter.

“Most guys wanted to do a three-some or four-some with us in college,” my girlfriend added as she and the hubs literally collapsed against each other they were laughing so hard. “I’m kind of sad we’ve lost our appeal.”

Stand-In Marine was back to trapped. “Ah, no insults intended, ladies.”

“None taken,” I said. “My feet feel a whole lot better. Your shoes are a far better massage tool than the bolts.”

Thanks, Gini. The question I’m wondering is: has Stand-In-Marine told his version of this story, or has he kept it to himself all this time?

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

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