Friday, November 29, 2013

Food Chase

Welcome to Black Friday and the beginning of the shopping season.  Remember, Jimmy Miller the Super Powerful: Forecast Acid Rain is only $0.99 for Kindle or Nook.  No waiting in line for it.  The story is so powerful, as is most everything I write, that you can just plug your Christmas lights up your, uh, nose and save money on electric bills this holiday season.  I don't know if it can keep a Menorah lit for eight straight days, but it might work for Hanukkah.  Someone just needs to show Jimmy how to play dreidel.

Here's a kid friendly bit of super powerful flash fiction:

Food Chase
I refused to chase after game-playing goof-balls who thought I had nothing better to do than to taunt me, spit raspberries at me, and hoping I would play along.  “No…I will not come after you.  No matter what you do.  I will not play with my food.”  However, the hot dog continued to dash through the house, passing by the kitchen to see if I was following.

Before my food took off on me, I was setting all the condiments on the table—mustard, ketchup, relish, and onion that I chopped myself with a sharp steak knife.  I certainly felt more like a responsible fellow and no longer in the baby stage of my life.  When I shoved all the containers with leftovers that were all green and fuzzy, I grasped the bottle of ketchup and found it to be empty.  

“Mom!” I called.  “We’re out of ketchup!”

When it came to my hot dogs, I could do without all other condiments, all with the exception of ketchup and mustard.  However, I assigned a particular order on where everything had to go, or I refused to eat.  On the top portion of my hot dogs I saved for a line of ketchup and along the bottom a line of yellow.   Once when I went to a place that put mustard on in a zig-zag line—it promptly went into the garbage.  My mom yelled at me for wasting food.  Only, I was on my way to becoming a man and I had to take a stand on what was acceptable to me.  Hot dogs were one of my favorite foods, so I had to take them seriously. 
My mom was at the stove heating up a can of baked beans.  She did take them out of the can before heating them because she’s not stupid (not as smart as me, but close).  I couldn’t believe the hot dog blaspheme that came from her lips.  “Honey, can’t you just eat it without ketchup?”

I turned from the fridge to face her with a shocked expression.  “Mom.  How can I eat a hot dog without ketchup?  That’s just wrong.  I’m sure that even God uses ketchup on his hot dogs.  He’ll zap us with lightning or something.”

Smirking as if my comment was some stupid kid idea, she responded, “God is not going to strike you dead if you eat your hot dog without ketchup.”

“Well…maybe or maybe not.  Still, I can’t eat it without ketchup.  It’s just…eww.  Can’t I just get some money and ride down to the gas station?  They’ve got ketchup.  It won’t take me long” 

The gas station was three houses away from us, so it wasn’t like I was asking to ride my bike across town.  Here was where I was baffled by my mom.  She always told me how mature I have become now that I was nine, and she seemed to imply that she no longer thought of me as some helpless kid.  So, I was disappointed when she argued that she would not let her nine-year-old son ride by himself for such an errand.  If I was twelve, she’d reconsider.  Her argument was a car could plow into me in which I responded, “I know how to watch for cars.  I’m not a baby.  You always say how mature I am and stuff. Now you’re treating like I’m two.” 

“Oh, I’m not treating you like a baby.  You are more mature, but you still have more maturing to do.  It’s a crazy world out there.”

She went on to describe another worry that a stranger could come along, snatch me up, and then my mom would never forgive herself for sending me to what could have been my death.  She proceeded to explain the horrible scenario of what kid abductors were capable of.  I told her that my friend Robert had been teaching me ninja moves that his teenage brother learned in some kind of ninja class.  Or perhaps it was from some realistic 3-D game he and his buddies played that involved being ninja’s and pulling out people’s guts and stuff.  Robert’s brother was the king of that game and he was 16 and everyone knows that teenagers at that age were experts on everything.  I couldn’t wait to be like Robert’s brother…

“Just let me bring along some throwing stars or something to use as a weapon.  I know how to deal with kidnappers.  Maybe…I’ll help free some kid that they had snatched before daring to try and take me.”  I assumed this would give my mother food for thought as she understood her boy could defend himself and others if need be.

“Donny.  Don’t be ridiculous.  Things aren’t like they were when I was a kid.  We could freely go outside and not be afraid of strangers, dogs, and cars.”  She was at the stove still stirring the beans, which I always loved to scarf as much down as I could.  Then, I could have fun and while we were curled up on the couch watching some movie, I would cut the juiciest farts and watch her reaction.  It was priceless.

“Mom…there were cars when you were a kid.  And, they were metal and just as likely to hit a kid on a bike.  There were most definitely dogs or did someone recently invent them? ‘Oh, look, I invented a dog.’” I spoke as if I was a scientist who created dogs.  “And…there had to have been strangers, even the weirdo kind that take kids.”  Something told me there had to have been scary strangers threatening to take kids in the 1980’s.

Looking at me with that expression that accused me of being a smart mouth, she relented, “Okay.  Those dangers were always there, but the difference is I’m a parent now, and it’s my job to worry about my kid’s safety.  Look, if you want ketchup so badly, I’ll drive down and pick it up myself.”

“And leave me by myself?  I thought a gang of pirates were in the neighborhood today,” I sarcastically said, purposely making a smart mouth of myself. 

“No, you can come along, but we’re just getting ketchup.  No chocolate bars, no ice cream, no soda, no comic books…just ketchup.”  My mom always said this before going to any store, but she could always count on me to ignore her and plead for something anyway.  She didn’t mention chips or beef jerky, so I would exploit this omission from her list of what I couldn’t get.  I would have had my own money, but Robert and I spent it all on ice cream bars when his mom took us both to the gas station down the street.

Getting up off the table in preparation to go with my mom to the gas station, I noticed my hot dog had gone missing.  I first wondered if I had eaten it already and I asked my mom about it.  “Hey, Mom.  Did I eat my hot dog already?”  

“No.  I was talking to you this whole time.  I would notice if you ate your hot dog.  You complained that you had no ketchup for it.  That’s why we’re headed to the store.”  That’s when I saw in the corner of my eye, my hot dot walking upright on little tiny human legs extending from the end of the frankfurter part, but not the bun.  Human arms waved out of its side protruding from the bun.  “Mom.  Look.  My hot dog is alive.”

“Wha—”  Her mouth hung open in disbelief.

Well, I was not going to let that thing get away.  First, I had to remind my mom, “See, if I put ketchup on it, it wouldn’t be doing that.”  I stepped over to it, but it took off running and I chased it around our town house occupied only by my mom and me.  My dad lived in a different city and I visited him every other weekend.  
 “Get back here!”

That hot dog was quick.  It reminded me of the Gingerbread Man, and when I thought of that story, I halted in my tracks.  “Fine!  I’m not chasing after you.  That’s what you want in the first place.”

I went back into the kitchen and sat stoically at the table, watching that little frankfurter doing its crazy dances, even running up so close to me, but then sprinting away when it thought I was coming after it.  “I’m not chasing you, you wiener!”

“How is that thing alive?” my mom asked.  When the beans were warm enough, she removed the pan from the burner and onto a hot pad on the dinner table.  

The hot dog passed right next to her and I thought I heard it mutter, “C’mon, lady.  Come and get me.”

She just laughed at the thing.  “No.  I’m not chasing after you either.  Get back here so Donny can eat you.”
“No…not without ketchup.”  The hot dog somehow was making raspberries at her, but there was no visible mouth or tongue.

My mom got up from the table and poked her head in the fridge.  “I gotta throw out all these left overs.”  She pulled out the bottle of ketchup I claimed was empty, and she pointed out a tiny amount at the bottom of it.  Shaking it in front of my face, she questioned, “I thought you said we were totally out.”

“Yeah,” I said because it was so close to being out, I knew trying to get the minute amount left inside would have involved a great deal of effort.  Not only that, it would make a bunch of fart noises and I couldn’t stand to use ketchup out of a bottle that did that.  “I can never get that tiny bit out of there.”

My mom rolled her eyes, but whistled to the prancing hot dog.  “I’ve got ketchup.”

My hot dog pattered over to the table, crawled up my leg, which really tickled, and then it lay itself down on my plate.  It waved its hand at her, “Bring it on.”  Pounding the spout end on the table, the ketchup managed to find its way onto the hot dog bun in the spot I desired, but it wasn’t a perfect line and it did make several fart noises.

I curled up my lip in disgust and uttered, “How can I eat it?  It’s not in a perfect line and it made fart noises.  It’s like it came out of someone’s butt.”

“Donny,” she sighed.  “Well, you better decide to eat it before it dances off again.  And, you better not throw it all out.”

Reluctantly, I accepted the ketchup as it was and I added the mustard, relish, and freshly chopped onion, and I did eat the little dog.  I let out a great, humongous belch, and I felt as if my stomach was coming up out of my throat. That hot dog was attempting to run free again and I would throw it up if I wasn’t careful.  Suddenly, a whole line of hot dogs in buns waltzed into the kitchen and there must have been thousands of them.  We could see outside a flying saucer where they were all coming from and we heard them all chanting, “We want Obe.  We want Obe.”

I wanted to get up and run, as did my mom, but as soon as I left my chair, they tackled me onto the floor.  They pried my mouth open with some kind of ketchup energy ray at least it sure smelled like it, and they made me throw up their brother hot dog alien dude.  He was all chewed up and disgusting from being in my stomach.  Using a mustard ray, they reformed him into what he was before.  After that, they returned to their tiny flying saucer and vanished from our eyes.

Lying bewildered on the floor, crying some from what those little wieners did to me, I shouted to my mom.  “Can we just order a pizza?”  My mom helped me off the floor and found the number to Little King Tony’s Pizza.  I vowed never to eat hot dogs ever again.

Be good to yourselves!

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