4630 NE Sandy Blvd, 288-973

Jim, who I barely knew, called to tell me he was broke, and to ask if I would buy him lunch. I drove over, picked him up, and drove us both to Pal's Shanty.

"This is an okay place," he said. I agreed. "Portland's got a lot of nice places," he added. "Parks and shit. There's this park across the street from my house, I go sit there and smoke or whatever. And there's this one old guy who's in there every single time I'm there, with one of those... the hummy metal finders. Metal detectors! And he never finds anything! I've never seen him find anything. And you sort of feel all bad for the guy, but really, he's this complete sonofabitch. Like, if there's kids in his way, he'll start screaming, he'll swing the finder thingee at them, he doesn't care.

"So after like, I don't know, two, three months watching this guy," continued Jim, "this benevolent thing came over me, I was all, I'm gonna completely make this guy's life and hide shit for him to find. So we had been saving change in a jar in our house, right? And I took all that and put it in a ziplock and went and buried it in the park. Then I waited for the old guy to come back. And the sonofabitch never showed up again! And you know what," Jim laughed, "when I went to dig up the bag, I forgot where the fuck I buried it!"

He paused.

"I remember that story being a lot funnier," he said finally. "I must not've told it right. Sorry. I just took a WHOLE bunch of acid like half an hour ago."

Having said that, he put an unfolded napkin over his face, poked his tongue through it, and began eating his clam chowder through the hole.

"That's one way to keep the soup off your face," observed our waitress, swooping in and filling our water glasses with one smooth dip and turn.

Anyway, Pal's is really good and you should go. It's like a Skipper's or Long John Silver's, but about a bajillion times better, with a lot more food.