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the Goliard

July, 2002

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The Atwaters             

The Atwaters are a mysterious couple who were introduced into the midst of the Goliard staff by The Snapper at around the same time the Snapper himself, following his aforementioned aspirations as parvenu, was opting out of the cooking rotation. The Atwaters seemed a blessing at the time, stepping in to fill the Snapper’s void graciously, although, in retrospect, perhaps with an enthusiasm that should have raised our guard. They ingratiated themselves to a jaded staff by hosting several dinners at their rented, and in hindsight, a bit too quaint, mid town domicile. And since they came on the scene at a time when the group was thirsting for relief from Piolline's string of chili cook offs, we might have had our defenses down a bit and perhaps should have been a bit more careful before embracing them with open arms. As we think back upon it now, in the face of recent events involving breaches of national security, we're not sure who they really were or how we even became acquainted with them. Some among us are wondering if they were even a real bonafide American couple at all.

Of course, now that said couple has gone missing, speculation within the Goliard newsroom about the Atwater’s true identity is rampant. Some of the recent theories include a belief that they were a straw couple, a pair of paid informants, strategically placed by the government in hopes of flushing out suspected deviants or tax evaders within our staff. Also heard was contention that they were actually robotrons being tested among us to see if they could successfully blend in without detection (the male always did seem a trifle stiff, the postitor of this theory explains). Perhaps they were just a couple of poor schleps in the witness protection program. One of us is pretty sure that they were actually under the command of their dog, a fifty pound Vizsla, who was running the whole operation. This Vizsla was called Maggie, at least when other people were around and, (as shown in the picture) was often placed in charge of grilled meats at the gatherings. Who ever heard of putting a hunting dog in charge of grilled meats? We have to admit that the animal always did seem to be much smarter than she was letting on.

The Snapper himself has no memory of actually meeting the Atwaters and claims that suddenly they were just friends of his as if they had always been there. "If you ask me how I met Kevin and Angela Atkinson.... I think those were the names by which they were originally introduced, I'm not sure I could tell you," reflected the Snapper recently. "There was this thing when we all were planning a ski trip and somehow Keith... was it Keith or Kent. Now Kurtis Appleburg sounds more right? Anyway, whatever his name really is ended up driving a bunch of us up the ski hill even though he couldn't ski and didn't even have a four wheel drive. He had this two wheel drive Ford Explorer with the original Firestone tires on it and seemed insistent that we all ride with him. Since I have a Subaru and my gal at the time drove a Land Cruiser, I'm not sure how it happened that we were all piled into that type of vehicle in such snowy conditions. But, just like that, we were suddenly all careening down the road at his mercy. Then, a week later, I looked next to me on the tennis court expecting to see a familiar face and found that Atkinson was somehow now my tennis partner."

Another staffer remembers Atwater's initial appearance at a staff tennis match. "Suddenly their was this new guy called Kyle Atwood in our group on tennis night. He seemed at first to be an excellent tennis player but as I think back about it now he was more like someone who had been intensely trained in some sort of crash course to look like an experienced veteran when he actually had never played the sport before. There were definitely holes in his game. He would hit these awesome, sort of automaton shots for winners, only to get beat down the line on the next point by a routine floating return that any experienced player would have blasted down your throat. It was like certain elements had been left out, like he’d missed a session or two at the spy academy. Someone would hit a drop shot and it completely handcuff him and make him drop his racket. That would never have happened if he had played a lifetime of tennis like he claimed. He also had impeccable on court etiquette which you never see anymore. It was as if the people who trained him might have been stuck in the old school and weren’t up to date with the post MacEnroe game. Not to mention all the weird things that would come out of his mouth during a match. This one time, my strings broke and I went to my bag to get a spare racquet and out of nowhere he shouts, "watch out! he'll be using his down the line racquet now". Anyway, once he was entrenched in the group, he conveniently developed some sort of bursitis or other mystery illness so he couldn't play and would just show up to drink beer with us afterwards. He’d tell mysterious stories about a sketchy past in Texas and blurt things out like "There’s some extra beer here." Nobody could figure the guy out at the time but he was pleasant enough so we never gave it much thought. I think it's clear now that he was fishing for some type of information either about the Goliard itself, or one of us personally. And then, once he got it, he was just gone."

Yet another staffer remembers being suspicious immediately about the couple that didn't seem to belong together. "The thing I remember most about that specimen Kory Attenborough is the way he was suddenly part of the gang. And most of us go back fifteen or twenty years. It's not like we were taking applications for new buddies. He was good, this guy. Whoever trained him knew what they were doing. Send in an infiltrator who plays tennis, likes to barbeque, smokes cigars, looks like everyman, and seems to have endless free time. And when you think about it, right when we might have started suspecting something about Kerry, they sent in this other agent to pretend to be his wife! And that Andrea Attleberg! She was even better than he was. Classy, attractive, but obviously not from around here. They must have had to use her a little sooner than planned because she was real raw at first, but she was obviously a higher up. She also hadn't put the time in on the tennis court that he had and was a little unrefined when it came to that. And I'm not just talking about all the farting although it was fairly stupefying just from a sheer volume standpoint. Perhaps one of her trainers or whatever was having a little fun and told her that, in the particular group of Americans she'd be infiltrating, farting is a key part of a tennis match. That girl used to gas it up between every point. Anyway, once she arrived on the scene,  it was clear that she was the one that ran the show between the two of them. She must have outranked him in the network. I even saw her march him away from the table by his elbow one time and scold him severely in some strange language. I just thought I'd had too much to drink at the time but now it's all becoming clear."

When asked what the duo might have been after, staffers aren't sure. "I've been thinking about that since it became evident that they weren't coming back and we'd been had in some way," says an editor. "I mean, I don't know what real damage they could have done. And I sort of miss their cooking if you want to know the truth. It was a unique blend of mainstream Americana and the exotic. Their gustatorial offerings included some grilled fare, delicious desserts, creative salads, and a Shawarma and Fatoosh that would have pleased Ali Baba. But there was something not quite right about Kurt and Ashleigh's house. The back yard was clearly some sort of training compound for one thing, all bare dirt with a munitions shed off to the side. And their kitchen stuff was way nicer than anything else they had. I mean they owned one of those cool, hand-held grease guards and these cake tins that you just don't see in a normal grad student kitchen. It's like it was hastily thrown together by someone who really didn't know American culture that well. I mean, who has excellent amenities in the kitchen and a two wheel drive Explorer in the garage? The only thing I can think is maybe the people calling the shots were in a hurry to throw a place together where they could invite us over and photograph us and record our voices. Or maybe they were just trying to set up a sort of urban laboratory to study us, hoping we'd feel comfortable and maybe confide something incriminating. I met their supposed landlord once. Talk about a sketchy character. The only thing he said to me was "My dog doesn't smell" whatever the Hell that means."

In any event, the Atwaters just disappeared one day and have since claimed through e-mail to have been relocated suddenly to somewhere on the eastern seaboard, reportedly to pursue opportunities in mystic metallurgy, tomb cataloging, or medieval literature. Supposedly they had to leave in order to complete their dissertations which, by the way, were both conveniently being obtained in such esoteric fields of study that none of us could even ask an intelligent question about what they were into. And don't most people complete their dissertations and then leave? It's just another thing that doesn't add up. 

And if their intellectual plans were a mystery, they weren’t very clear about where they were physically going either and, although we do get e-mails signed Karter Athenbeurg periodically, they never really make any sense. One minute Allison is staying in Buffalo and he's moving back to Texas to avenge a college sodomy, or he's embarking for inner city Chicago while she goes overseas. Sometimes he’s driving for hours to teach Spanish to African Americans and she’s a professor of some sort but still has to work until ten thirty at night. Who ever heard of that? For awhile they were going to open a restaurant with Annette doing all the baking and Kurtis running the floor even though he acknowledges he’s never worked in food service. The e-mails we get from Kenny have the desultory complaints about the weather and other laments that evidentially are supposed to make us believe that he hates living away from the relentless baking heat of Arizona but those clearly fall under the category of trying to remain in character. Obviously nobody who's been here would dare to complain about the weather somewhere else.

So we're not really sure what they're up too or where they are. Anyway, they cooked some pretty good Shawarma once and we wish them well, at least until we know for sure that they did us harm.

Good luck Konrad and Annabeth. Or whoever you are.

An Atwater Update

Atwater Shawarma Ingredients:

1 cup yogurt 
2 Tbsp. lemon juice 
4 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce 
1 Tbsp vinegar 
1 Tbsp onion, finely minced 
1/2 tsp black pepper 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper 
1/2 tsp ground mace 1/2 tsp salt 2 lbs. beef, lamb or chicken, very thinly sliced 
1 cup Tahini (sesame seed paste) 
1 clove of garlic, minced 
1 tsp lemon juice 
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped 
1/2 cup water (approximately) 
Pita bread 
1 medium tomato, sliced 
1 medium onion, sliced 
Preparation: 

Combine yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, pepper sauce, vinegar, onion, black and cayenne pepper, mace and salt. Add meat and marinate overnight. Place the marinated meat in a barbeque cage and cook over hot coals for 15 minutes. OR cook on slotted broiler pan in oven on broil for 3 minutes, turn and continue to broil until cooked through.
Combine tahini, garlic, lemon juice and parsley until it is of a creamy texture, Add water if necessary. Place the cooked meat, sliced tomatoes and onions in pita bread and pour on the tahini mixture as desired.

 

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