His ability to glean at the market made him the logical choice as the Folkie Palace’s scrounger. We ate well and cheaply thanks to his abilities. He claimed to be an exile from a monastic order he had to leave due to nutritional needs. One of the hangers-on at the Palace was a medical school student and claimed that the Monk’s tastes were like a Pica condition. Pica usually involves people eating non-food items – paint, nails, plaster, clay, and similar items. While the Monk ate food items, the combinations were frequently disturbing.
The Palace was a regular stopping place for all sorts of folks going to and fro. People would hear about the Palace and drop in while en route to their destination. Parties ultimately ensued. Hangovers were an occupational hazard of living this lifestyle. Hangover cures were always in demand.
That was how the Monk came by his other nickname – Mr. Clean.
A perpetually smiling bald head capped the Monk’s Large frame, so he looked like the character on the popular cleaner’s bottle. But there was a more fundamental reason. His famous hangover cures; guaranteed to cure in an hour. Very few of the regulars would take him up on an offer. We’d stick to Coke, Coffee, Aspirin, or other simple things. The passers-through might take him up on it. He’d dash into the kitchen, grind and juice away, and come out with a glass of vile green thick juice. “guaranteed to clean out the hangover.” he’d say with a huge smile. The rest of us would sit and watch, say nothing, while the unsuspecting followed the Monk’s advice and held their nose and swallowed in one gulp.
In most cases, nothing happened for an hour. During that time, most of us made sure to use the facilities. The green sludge does its work at the hour mark, and the bathroom was out of service after that.
Truth in advertising; the hangover was gone. So was everything they had consumed in the last seventy-two hours. That was why the Monk’s other nickname was Mr. Clean.
When he offered you a sip, you were well advised to ask what was in it.