No, I do not want your soft taco - By Jacob Shelton

I appreciate what you’re trying to do Steven, I really do, but why don’t you hold on to that soft taco? It’s not that I’m not hungry, because it is lunch time and, admittedly, I get very hungry around this time of day. It’s just that I don’t want the soft taco that’s been sitting in the passenger seat of your Volvo for God knows how long. Yes, I’m aware that it hasn’t been baking under the rays of the sun, magnified by your non-tinted windows (I didn’t even know they made windows without tint anymore) for more than twenty minutes, but still.


Come on man, stop trying to make me take the soft taco. I said no to you once already in the break room – a place where it’s socially acceptable to offer someone a soft taco, but now we’re walking to my desk and it feels weird. Are people looking at us and wondering what we’re doing, you with a hand full of taco that is soft and me with a dumb face silently hissing about Mexican fast food? We can’t have this conversation here, not only because it’s weird, but also it’s rude that you’re just offering me the soft taco and not anyone else. I hate to sound like my fourth grade teacher Ms. Kraven, but if you didn’t bring enough soft taco for everyone then please stop bringing soft tacos to work.


Okay, you followed me straight to my desk immediately after I asked you stop following me while holding the soft taco in your palm like it was a tiny seashell that you feared you might crush. It’s a soft taco, Steven, you’re not going to hurt it if you clench your fist around the callous paper that encases the durable tortilla that holds the enticing greasy meat and cheese mixture that would taste oh so good as it perched on my tongue. Hold the soft taco like a man. You shouldn’t be embarrassed that the boy in the fast food window gave you an extra soft taco, you should be proud to have such an honor bestowed upon you. Hold the soft taco aloft and shake it to the Heavens, for you have wrestled a trophy away from God himself. But still, I do not want the soft taco.


I can’t believe you brought the soft taco into our meeting with Andrew and Helen. What were you thinking, Steven? If you were thinking that you could cleverly slip pieces of ground beef and cheese, wrapped in tiny ripped up pieces of tortilla to me under the table then you were wrong. That is not how I want to be seen eating a soft taco. If I were to be seen eating a soft taco that way, in front of two people whom I highly respect, I would surely be laughed out of the office, destined to a live a life of lateral moves through the professional word, forever dubbed “the tiny taco man.” That is not how I will be known, and I refuse to let you drag me down into your pit of shame.


Yes Steven, I finally ate the taco. It was after three o’clock, when I become groggy and frustrated with the lack of snacks in my desk. Normally I thrash and bang at my cubicle until I resign myself to sucking on an old butterscotch or a cinnamon peppermint candy from the Italian place on 27th street, but this afternoon I remembered your promise of a soft taco, meaty and greasy, and also there was cheese. I won’t tell you how I secreted away the soft taco away from your desk. But let’s just say that I waited, concealed around the corner, until you went to the printer and then I struck. Outside, in the alley behind the office that separates all the other offices from one another, I tore into the crinkled, yet robust paper that swaddled the flour hewn pouch of fatty ground beef and also cheese and I tore away tiny chunks of the soft taco and jabbed them into my mouth as if I were baby bird being given life by my mother. Then I returned to my desk, greasy and smiling, reminiscing of my ill-gotten soft taco. Remember, the next time you wonder if it is appropriate to bring me a soft taco at work, Steven, the answer is no.