This is a photo of the man who bamboozled me. I went to a food festival and he was the only booth without any patrons, so I approached him and asked, “what are you selling?” He dryly responded, “oyster” without looking up from his phone. He didn’t say oysters— he said oyster, in the singular form, as if to say, “don’t even ASK for two oysters because you’re only getting ONE OYSTER!”
I said, “is it good?” Continuing to look down at his phone, he responded with a quick, “yip.” I wasn’t convinced by his monotonous tone, but I was interested in living life on the wild side, so I said, “ok, I’ll take one.” He let out an exasperated sigh and he opened his cooler to get my potentially diseased oyster that he probably caught from the radioactive Hudson River.
In my mind I thought that this oyster would taste like the delicious, spicy concoction that I tasted in Trinidad, but I was wrong…I was so so so so so wrong! SOOOO so wrong. So so soooooooo sooooooo wrong. As wrong as the time in the 90’s when my dad’s mom and my mom’s dad started dating and almost made my parents into step-siblings.
After he fetched an oyster shell from his cooler, he spent 2 seconds scraping something from it (presumably the tumor that grew on it while it marinated in the unfit-for-human-consumption water), and then he handed it to me. I said “what am I supposed to do with this?” He said “eat it.” I said, “aren’t you supposed to put it in a cup with some sort of sauce?” “Nope.” “You expect me to chew the shell?!” “No. Eat the stuff inside the shell quickly, otherwise it’ll burn.”
I should’ve thrown this sad-looking oyster directly in the trash and walked away, but I was too far into the experience to turn back now. I drank it like a seasoned oyster-drinking champ, and I waited for the taste to kick in before burning. It tasted like a death/train-smoke/ tile-grout/cigarette/fermented-egg/fish-tank-water/brussels-sprout/nail-polish/nickelodeon-slime soup. I made a bad decision.
Immediately after I ate it, my ankles started to sweat profusely and everything appeared blurry. It was disgusting. The taste was stuck in the back of my throat for 5 minutes and then it vanished and the world returned to normal. That’s when I realized that he said that he sold “oyster” because his filthy oysters were not fit for the human body to consume more than one.
Lesson learned: Do not consume diseased oysters from the lone oyster salesman.