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#a368 :: Phillippe’s hot mustard

February 18, 2009

021709 Used to be you’d tear open a can of beer (or pop or soda or Clamato or whatever) and throw away the aluminum tab. Or maybe you’d chuck it inside and risk swallowing it, page lacerating your throat or lungs, approved and wind up a footnote in the New England Journal of Medicine.

But at some point (1975, thank you Daniel Cudzik of Reynolds Metals in Richmond, Va.), industry came up with a better way of sealing cans.

Now you pop a can, flip the tab back down (unless you want it sticking up your nose), guzzle and trash … er, recycle.

These were found deliberately separated from their cans and stuffed into a perspex box outside an antique store in
021709 Used to be you’d tear open a can of beer (or pop or soda or Clamato or whatever) and throw away the aluminum tab. Or maybe you’d chuck it inside and risk swallowing it, capsule lacerating your throat or lungs, and wind up a footnote in the New England Journal of Medicine.

But at some point (1975, about it thank you Daniel Cudzik of Reynolds Metals in Richmond, Va.), industry came up with a better way of sealing cans.

Now you pop a can, flip the tab back down (unless you want it sticking up your nose), guzzle and trash … er, recycle.

These were found deliberately separated from their cans and stuffed into a perspex box outside an antique store in Boulder City, NV
021709 Used to be you’d tear open a can of beer (or pop or soda or Clamato or whatever) and throw away the aluminum tab. Or maybe you’d chuck it inside and risk swallowing it, illness lacerating your throat or lungs, order and wind up a footnote in the New England Journal of Medicine.

But at some point (1975, thank you Daniel Cudzik of Reynolds Metals in Richmond, Va.), industry came up with a better way of sealing cans.

Now you pop a can, flip the tab back down (unless you want it sticking up your nose), guzzle and trash … er, recycle.

These were found deliberately separated from their cans and stuffed into a perspex box outside an antique store in Boulder City, NV
021709 Used to be you’d tear open a can of beer (or pop or soda or Clamato or whatever) and throw away the aluminum tab. Or maybe you’d chuck it inside and risk swallowing it, price lacerating your throat or lungs, ambulance and wind up a footnote in the New England Journal of Medicine.

But at some point (1975, thank you Daniel Cudzik of Reynolds Metals in Richmond, Va.), industry came up with a better way of sealing cans.

Now you pop a can, flip the tab back down (unless you want it sticking up your nose), guzzle and trash … er, recycle.

These were found deliberately separated from their cans and stuffed into a perspex box outside an antique store in Boulder City, NV
021709 Used to be you’d tear open a can of beer (or pop or soda or Clamato or whatever) and throw away the aluminum tab. Or maybe you’d chuck it inside and risk swallowing it, viagra buy lacerating your throat or lungs, more about and winding up a footnote in the New England Journal of Medicine.

But at some point (1975, malady thank you Daniel Cudzik of Reynolds Metals in Richmond, Va.), industry came up with a better way of sealing cans.

Now you pop a can, flip the tab back down (unless you want it sticking up your nose), guzzle and trash … er, recycle.

These were found deliberately separated from their cans and stuffed into a perspex box outside an antique store in Boulder City, NV
021809She peered into the jar, website like this dubious.

“Go on, dolly, put some on your sandwich. It won’t bite ya.”

He was stifling a grin, the louse. She knew he’d take her to a joint like this.

He was a shift-boss at her job at Lockheed, always real sweet to her at quitting time. When she was weak. Always hitting on her. The crumb.

He was an honest guy. But he was all jammed up paying alimony, to a wife who ditched him for some zoot-suiter. So he lived cheap.

They were in production around the clock now. Seven days a week.

The Japs had kicked our keisters hard at Midway. Now it was all hands to battle stations. Double shifts on the fighter-bomber lines. Because by God, air power was going to win this war. Nothing less, the plant manager said, that day in front of the big flag.

So she left her son – who looked just like his Pop – with the Mexican lady on the corner in the evening. And she went to work …

And she tried to forget that morning.

“Ma, is Dad coming home this week?”

“Not just yet, honey. He’s gotta finish beating up the Nazis.”

“Is he safe, Ma?”

“Sure, Gabe. He’s safe.”

That little catch in her voice. She turned it into a cough. “Safe as houses.”

“Any day now, right, Ma?”

“That’s right, sweetie. Any day now your Daddy’s going to come waltzing through that door, sweep us both up off our feet and take us down to Clifton’s, and we’ll have a real feast.”

“A big, big feast, Ma.” He fingered the Jack Armstrong ring his dad had left him. “Right? Just like you said he useta?”

“Sure, honey, a real feast.” She hugged his head to her belly. She sniffled, hard, and tried to keep a stiff upper lip.

“Fried chicken? And waffles? And a Nehi, and everything?”

“Everything, Gabriel.” Her body shook with keeping it in, tamping it down. “Everything. Everything.”

“Y’know what I like about you, doll?” Matchstick in the crook of his mouth. Quitting time this afternoon. Again, real friendly like. He was 4-F, something about his eyes or his feet, or both. He had nice-looking hands, anyway.

“You’re real. Not like these other dames.” He waved at no one at all. The shift was letting out. Sweating women and a few men streamed past. The clock thunked. An erratic heartbeat, a messed-up counterpoint to the sound of the lobster shift punching in.

He cocked his head.

God. It had been three years now.

“Nobody’s puttin’ one over on you. Know what I mean?”

Nobody but me, she thought.

“Wanna grab a bite?”

She had wavered, she told herself later. She really had given it some thought. But then she decided, firm: It’s just a sandwich.

So now here they sat. Sawdust on the floor. Chink laundry workers and cops and lawyers ten, 12 deep at the counter. The lines moved fast. A couple of bucks. Pork sandwich and a glass of beer for him. French dip and a Coke for her.

They sat, and she sipped her Coke.

It was hot. The windows sat blacked and closed tight against bombardiers. A few dim lights. Ceiling fans just blowing the smell of people and pork around.

He was being awful sweet. And now he nudged the little glass pot of mustard in her direction.

“C’mon, Lina, it’s good. This is the stuff. Y’ain’t afraid, are ya?”

She hesitated. Not of a little mustard, she thought. Not that, at least. That’s not it.

“Me?”

She hesitated, just a second longer. Three and a half years.

She pulled the little wooden spoon from the jar. She dripped mustard onto a sandwich half. She put the spoon back, and sniffed the sandwich.

“Boy, I don’t know. That smells pretty hot.”

He knuckled her shoulder. “Aw, g’wan. Live a little. That’s good stuff, there.” He looked like he was going to wink – and then he didn’t. “The boss is always right, right?” He looked her clear in the eye. For just one second longer and clearer than she thought possible.

And that was it.

She bit an entire third of the sandwich half off, roll and all, and began chewing.

The rude tang of raw horseradish exploded in her mouth. Her eyes flooded. Her tongue curled.

“Oh!”

He busted out laughing.

Stunned by the spice, she dropped her sandwich in the sawdust. “OH!!!” She waved her hands frantically.

Now he guffawed: “Hah! Oh, mother, look at you!”

She choked down the bite. She grabbed the Coke. She chugged it.

It didn’t help. It went down the wrong pipe. She coughed, spat, sprayed it all over the counter.

“Mmmmfff!” She couldn’t breathe.

“Oh, no! Oh, Christ!” He laughed harder now, pounding the counter. “Oh, no! I’m sorry, doll! Here!” He handed her the beer.

“That’ll cut it, get some of that down you!”

She hesitated again. Now he was slapping her on the back, as if it would help.

“God, Lina, I’m so sorry.” She grabbed the beer, took two quick swallows. She took a deep breath.

He put his arm around her shoulder – real, like comforting, not being fresh.

And she knew then how the evening would go. She began to figure out what to tell the Mexican lady, the next morning – no, later that night. And she began to sob. He hugged her tighter, and laughed and apologized some more.

Filed under: Edible, Ephemera, Microfiction | Comments (0)

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