Wind Eggs
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Wind Eggs

DemYou are what you wish to eat

The Faustian Food Court*

Hell’s Mall Week

Source image by Clip Art Max

If there was any cartoon character George admired, it was J. Wellington Wimpy, the fat guy in the Popeye cartoons he watched as a kid. The one with a head so small he must have pissed off a witch doctor, with a nose even bigger, no neck, nothing for a body but a balloon-shaped belly, and an appetite for hamburgers. Boy could that man eat hamburgers, which George would give his life for now, if he had a life to give, but the Powers That Be stuck him in this food court to search for anything to eat.

Anything but a White Castle. Sure all his friends loved White Castle, with a steamed bun (Ha! Microwaved if you asked George) and beef patty the size and width of a saltine. Tasted like saltines, too.

He’d prefer a burger, but he’d settle for sushi, schwarma, a salami sandwich. Snot on a saltine. Anything but a White Castle. And yet, it didn’t matter what food stand he stopped at — Red Hot Julius, Booger King, Kentucky Fried Horned Toads (Now KFH), Doody Queen — the pimple-faced kid behind the counter handed him a bag full of White Castle hamburgerlets. “Cheaper by the Dozen,” the kid said. He always said it. His pimple would pulsate like a volcano about to blow.

He’d prefer a burger, but he’d settle for sushi, schwarma, a salami sandwich. Snot on a saltine. Anything but a White Castle. And yet, it didn’t matter what food stand he stopped at the pimple-faced kid behind the counter handed him a bag full of White Castle hamburgerlets.

The crowd that bumped and knocked George aside to open another inch of free space dispersed before he finished his thought. Everyone stampeded toward a new food stand at the opposite end, Moby Burger, whose neon sign featured a whale serving a triple decker burger on a tray. Beneath the sign was the promise, scripted in Gold flashing neon: “NO WHITE CASTLE SERVED.”

What the hell, George decided, and took his place at the end of the mile-long line, then took his number “69773.” Five days later, he arrived at the counter. Having had most of eternity to study the menu, he ordered the triple triple decker with bacon, cheese and chili, Moby Fries and Moby Rings, a 72 ounce whale shake and slice of apple pie.

Without even taking down his order, the pimple-faced counter kid grabbed a bag from the rack behind him and shoved it into George’s fingers. “Cheaper by the Dozen,” the kid said. “Next.”

George closed his eyes and reached into the bag. His fingers clasped around the microscopic burger. He didn’t need to remove it.

White Castle.

*Observations from the Hell of Gluttonous Consumption Where Hungry Ghosts Search for Sustenance in a Cornucopia of Calories Where They Stuff Their Faces, Mouths, Cheeks, Throats, Gullets, Intestines and All Four Hollow Legs but Remain Bone Thin and Starved for Any Scrap That Will Stop the Ceaseless Rumblings From Their Bellies.

Announcing the release of Hell’s Mall

an anthology of modern horror

available in ebook and paperback

Wry noir author Phillip T. Stephens wrote Cigerets, Guns & Beer, Raising Hell, the Indie Book Award winning Seeing Jesus, and the children’s book parody Furious George. Follow him at Phillip T Stephens.

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