(to) bludgeon to death with a cider jug

The restaurant at 2337 Market St (currently "Blue") used to be a latin-fusion restaurant called "Pozole". Their food was on the better side of so-so, with slightly more inspired moments than insipid ones. Anyways, one went to Pozole as much for the exceptionally hot waitstaff as for anything else. Decay- quipped once that the hiring process there must have been "...they give you a job application and a tanktop and you have to fill out both really well..."

Back in September of 1997, a gay Russian émigre named Vitaly Poliakov was murdered by a 17-year-old named Joshua Puckett. Poliakov, 29, resided in Orinda and frequented JRs in Walnut Creek, then the only 18+ gay club in the Bay Area. Poliakov was a wealthy importer/exporter and some people have alleged that he dealt drugs on the side.

After an all-night drug binge, Puckett awoke to find Poliakov going down on him. After admitting that he bludgeoned Poliakov to death with a glass cider jug, Puckett claimed he acted out of self-defense against Poliakov's unwanted advances -- the classic "gay panic" defense.

Puckett, who has always maintained that he is straight, appeared famously on the cover of XY magazine's "California" Issue (XY-10) and waited tables at Pozole, where he flirted with the patrons. He even marched with Pozole in the Pride Parade. People have also alleged that Puckett frequented JRs and was most certainly not straight, characterizing him as a hustler.

After the killing, Puckett stole Poliakov's credit cards and drove Poliakov's body (in Poliakov's car) over 200 miles to San Luis Obispo County and dumped Poliakov in the Atascadero Creek. Despite the viciousness of the crime (Poliakov's skull was crushed and he had to be identified by fingerprints) and the less-than-credible "gay-panic" defense, Puckett's clean-cut good looks were sympathetic to the jury and he was convicted only of involuntary manslaughter and burglary. He is eligible for parole in 2008.

By Christmas Eve of 1997, Puckett was already facing murder charges and Decay- and I found ourselves at Pozole (one of the few places still open without a reservation) for dinner. The meal was (typically) so-so and our waiter was (typically) cute. Unfortunately, he was either new or incompetent, making several mistakes with our order throughout the night.

The dessert featured that night was advertised as "chocolate crème brûlée", which I duly ordered. It took an inordinately long time to arrive, and when it did, it looked and tasted exactly like...chocolate Jell-O Pudding. Fortunately, I like chocolate Jell-O Pudding, or else it would have been a total loss. When the waiter returned a little while later to ask how desserts were, I responded witheringly "Well....this tastes alright, but it's neither crème, nor brûlée..." He looked aghast. (But didn't offer to replace it or take it off the bill.)

After we left the restaurant, Decay- and I had a laugh about our bumbling waiter and Decay- (ever ready for a tasteless quip) said "Did you see his face when you told him it was neither crème nor brûlée? I was afraid he was going to bludgeon you with a cider jug or something..."

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