A work of flash fiction that drives home, when viewed through the lens of frankfurter appreciation, just how very different we can be from each other…
by: Alex Antiuk
I looked at Ronald, and watched the hot dog water coat his heavily chapped lips. It made them sparkle in our lonely kitchen light, and I wondered if I too would look that beautiful when I took a bite.
It was a cold, quiet evening in our apartment and we didn’t have anything else in the fridge. We didn’t even have buns or mustard, just two hot dogs sitting in their juices. I took them out of the package and asked Ronald, “Do hot dogs go bad?” He just shrugged his shoulders and I bobbed my head slightly. This was my way of saying, “Oh well.” I I took out a small pot, filled it up with water and put it on the stove.
I dumped the hot dogs in once the water had some steam floating out of it. A few minutes later I watched them turn slightly more pink and I assumed they were done. I’d only ever had a hot dog once before. It was in Times Square and the man who sold it to my dad was missing a tooth and had big, yellow and brown fingernails. His nails were so large they actually created the perfect curve to slide down the center of the bun and open it. I also remembered he poked the hot dog from the boiling water with his nails as well, but that was possibly just my imagination.
“How is it?” I asked Ronald. He had eaten his hot dog in exactly three bites. They weren’t extra large hot dogs and I didn’t know how many bites were acceptable. I was only half the size of Ronald and I always ate slowly. But Ronald was a guzzler. He drank his coffee in one gulp, ate his toast in two minutes ,and ate dinner with his head down, his mouth a moist, conveyor belt that never stopped.
Ronald smiled at me and said, “It was good, Sandy.” I looked back at him and felt myself perk up slightly before I took my own large bite. There was a weird, floppy texture on my tongue and I couldn’t stand it. The only flavor I recognized was salt, mixed with some kind of meat seasoning. It didn’t taste like any particular meat, just the flavor of meat. I spat it out onto the table and Ronald didn’t say a word.
I grabbed the glass of water beside me and took a big gulp. The tap water flew down my throat, and with it the meat flavor.
“I’d rather starve than eat this!” I said to Ronald. Who shrugged his shoulders, before asking with an intrigued look on his face, “Can I have the rest?”
Alex Antiuk can be found @letsbamboobaby on Twitter. His debut short story collection, Dumb Music, was published by Soyos Books.