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Weekly Alibi Speed Eater

Over the river and through the foods.

By Nick Brown

DECEMBER 8, 1997:  Thanksgiving. The time for humans to reflect upon the blessings of the Overlords. A wondrous time of bittersweet sorrow, regret and shameless drinking. Brother joins hands with brother then awkwardly pulls away and tells dad about it later. At the zoo, a giraffe's prehensile tongue lovingly wraps about an old woman's wrist like a parsnip, tugging her wrinkled human branch into the maw. What of the Speed Eater? Shall the Speed Eater quake forlorn in some nameless corner of his trailer? No. Come on over, dude.

We've been trained to pretend that Thanksgiving dinner is the best meal of the year, but we all know better. Turkey and mashed potatoes taste like spit wads, and no one eats the creamed onions. Everything is beige and riddled with slimy green things. To avoid a few slimy green things, tell your family you're working and have a Fast Food Thanksgiving. Here are a few of your options.

• Denny's Signature Skillets: Mind your manners in America's number one family restaurant, or you will never be seated. The waitresses are exotically painted androids with hair of polished wood. You want to touch the wood, but society forbids it.

Denny's new Signature Skillet draws upon a classic theme: plop a bunch of crap on a pile of fried potatoes. It's been done before with varying degrees of success but not, to my recollection, by a national chain. Denny's does five modulations on the potato pile, three of which (Garden Salad Skillet, Supreme Skillet and South of the Border Skillet) sound so stupid that I'll never try them. The remaining two, however, form the basis of this interlude. I ordered the Farmer's Skillet because I was enticed by the notion of Country Gravy smothering my meal, and though I prefer my gravy to be American, nationality is not so important as smothering. My android, however, mistakenly brought me a Meat Lovers Skillet, with potato cubes, sausage bits, bacon, melted cheese and fried eggs, still sizzling in their skillet-shaped bowl. It looked delicious, but the toast was burned, and there was no country gravy so I sent it back. When the Farmer's Skillet came, they had wrecked it with a bunch of limp green peppers, and the stingy smear of gravy was only about the size of a poker chip. Get the Meat Lover's Skillet; it's well worth a couple bucks more to avoid those green peppers.

• Der Weinerschnitzel's Polish Sandwich: Have you ever made a melted cheese sandwich in the toaster oven and noticed how rubbery the bread got? That's the 99 cent Polish Sandwich. It's a dark, bisected hot dog on rubbery rye with fake cheese, a pickle wedge and no sauce. Yahoo. Then they try to trick you into buying sauerkraut for two bits more.

• Tyson's Restaurant Favorites: Don't let the name fool you, folks. These frozen entrées require some serious cooking and, at five bucks, are far from being favorites. I tried the Southwest Blackened Wraps and cooked my little ass off for half an hour. First I had to microwave the rice bag, then fry the limp green peppers, then shake the rice bag, then fry the chicken chunks, then microwave the pink tortillas. And it just seemed to go on and on. I bet I missed something really funny on TV. I ended up with a sink full of dirty dishes and three dry burritos that made my burps taste like Fritos for the rest of the night.

• Kentucky Fried Chicken's Crispy Buffalo Strips: For three bucks, one can have three spicy, crunchy chicken strips and a biscuit. That, my friend, is highway robbery.

If turkey sounds better, go ahead and see your family. Load up on your dad's booze and say a little prayer for ... the Speed Eater. Dant Dant Dant Dant. That's my theme song.

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