I’m standing in line, waiting, on my way home from the bar, subtly swaying back and forth with my feet planted like cinder blocks at the bottom of the lake. It could be a minor pee-pee dance or just something to keep me distracted from the spins – I’m not entirely sure at this point. I’m just trying to maintain my composure. It’s almost my turn to order. I’m watching the couple in front of me, their arms intertwined with each other’s bodies as they order their food by numbers. They complete the transaction and move aside. It’s my turn.
I step up. I watch the hair on the cashier’s upper lip dace as he moves his mouth, but I can’t make out the words he’s forming. “Chalupas,” I say, leaning on the counter, jamming my first in my pocket to scrounge up the loose change.
He rings me up and I step aside. Transaction completed. I’m next to the Siamese couple, the one interlocked by tentacles of appendages. They’re laughing, talking, kissing. Hissing in each other’s ears like writhing snakes in a hotel bar. They’re in love; I envy them. They get their food and just like that they’re gone.
The cashier tells me my order is up and I take the bag. I sit down and eat immediately because if I don’t I’d probably pass out. What Taco Bell has so cleverly dubbed “fourth meal” is my first meal of the day. Food, if anything is hardly a convenience. They say it’s a necessity of life, but I’ve found you can get by without it. I’ve adopted an alternative list of life’s necessities. Then, if I can afford, it’s hard to make room in the budget for the human desideratum.
The tacos go down as smoothly as spoiled milk. With every bite, I think about that story of the lady who hatched a herd of cockroaches in her mouth after eating Taco Bell. I swallow the last of the poor-grade meat and sour cream squeezed from a tube and play basketball with my wrappers and the trashcan shouting “Kobe” upon release, missing entirely.