Saturday, September 6, 2008



I’m Natalie McDuffy, and I’m taking over Jenn And The City today. I’m “Nat” to my friends, and “Duff “ to people who haven’t learned any better yet.

Since I graduated culinary school, I’ve lived and worked in Southern California. If you watch the Epicurious network on cable at all, you’ve probably seen my show “Vegetarian Victuals”. When I’m not shooting VV, I work at the world famous restaurant Maximillan’s By The Sea in L.A. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good steak as well as the next girl, but the vegetarian gig was the only programming slot available, and I needed the job. Now it’s the most-watched program on the network. Wouldn’t you know?

So now I’m a closet carnivore, living with my two dogs in Venice Beach.

Make that “was” living in Venice Beach.

Last night I got one of those middle of the night phone calls. You know, the ones that make you sit bolt upright in bed, trying to catch your breath, your heart hammering in your chest, and adrenaline surging through your fingers because you know something must be terribly wrong? Problem was, I couldn’t sit bolt upright in bed because Dandy the dog was lying across my chest. Under the covers. His sister Fine was on top of the covers, curled up in a little ball on my feet. Between the two of them, I couldn’t have sat upright if the apartment had been on fire.

Fortunately, my cell phone was within reach. And I recognized the ring tone. Certain people in your life, for various reasons, warrant their own ring tone. My twin sister was one of them.

This had better be good.

“Nic. What’s wrong?”

My sister’s voice sounded fragile and shaky, although that was normal when she called my Horizon cell phone. She still lives in the official Middle of No-where on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, and the small town where we grew up finally got a stop-light last year. Cable t.v. and cell phone reception haven’t made it yet.

“Nat?” Crackle, fzzzz, staticky sounds

“Yes, Nic what’s wrong?”

Fzzzttt “Jake” crackle, crackle “waitress” crack fzzzzzzt “alone” fzzzzzzttttt “kids” sssssstttttt “need help up here”.

“Nic, I can’t hear you. Is something wrong with Jake or the kids?”

Fzzzzzttttttt “Jake’s a stupid bastard and the kids are fine”

“Nic, stop right where you are, I can hear you now. What’s going on?”

Crackle, ffffzzzzttt, crackle.

I sighed and tried to heave 65 pounds of sleeping whippet off my body so I could get up and see if the reception was any better in the living room. The apartment’s pretty small, but it’s not that small, and it has a great view of the ocean if you stick your head out the bathroom window. With the success of VV, I could probably afford better now, but I hadn’t gotten around to it. Too busy.

It wasn’t until I got to the kitchen that Nic’s voice came through clearly enough for me to understand her issue.

“Nat, Jake’s gone. He ran off with one of the waitresses, and left me here with the kids to manage this place alone. I need help.”

Some twins know what the other is thinking and feeling without having to exchange words. Not so Nic and I. We actually need modern conveniences, such as Horizon Wireless, to communicate.

But that doesn’t mean we aren’t close, and if one of us needs help, the other is always just a phone call and some static away.

Which is why it’s now 3 a.m. and I’m driving up I-5 in my SUV with a hastily packed suitcase, and two very confused, sleepy whippets.

I'll log on again when I get there.


Beth said...


Anonymous said...

Love it - start of the book?


Deb said...

Fine and Dandy made me laugh.

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