He waited in the hot Memphis sun for an hour that Saturday morning with a head throbbing from the long line of beers the night before. His stomach grumbled a disconcerting churn that sounded almost impolite.
When his name was called, he walked through the front door and discovered the dining room blooming with the aroma of fast fried efficiency. His taste buds gurgled with anticipation. The decor was spartan, clean folding tables neatly aligned in two rows on a concrete floor surrounded by white walls. The cheap plates, equally white but topped with rusty-gold fried chicken that popped against the surrounding whiteness, were toted by surly waitstaff at shoulder height. Each passing plate confirmed this was the place.
His order was simple — chicken, biscuit, and fries. Four words to flavor memories forever.
Soon his plate arrived, a crispy breast and thigh sitting atop a mound of blocky, salt-covered fries and a flaky buttermilk biscuit, golden on top and brown on the bottom, with two packets of honey tucked underneath.
The first crunch of the chicken was layers of revelation. The sound of the crackle against his teeth, the feel of crisp heat on his lips with a drip of grease escaping to his chin, salty umami running across his tongue, and the whiff of fried batter floating into his nose.
It was a salve to his weary flesh. The pangs of his hangover melted with each bite. He used five napkins to clean his fingers when he was done but the evidence remained.
As he exited the chicken shack, his heart sank. Perfection is a curse when its rarity is realized. Food was never supposed to be so delicious. He sighed, knowing every other thing he would taste, no matter how good, would be disappointing.