Chris shoved his hand into his pants pocket and pulled out his phone. He frantically flipped it open and began scrolling through his contacts, his other hand gripped firmly around a metal handle on the cart in front of him. He stopped once the phone’s LED screen lit up with Dan’s name, then pressed “call” and brought the phone to his ear. It began ringing.
“Dan, have you ever seen the movie Big?”
“Is that the one with Marissa Joan Hart? Where she plays a dinosaur named Terry who decides to become a vegetarian, but has to fight for acceptance in the city she once terrorized?”
“No, Big is the one with Tom Hanks, where he gets old—”
“Oh, Big. I thought you said something else. Yeah, I know it. Why?”
“I’m having a crisis that is almost exactly the same as that movie.”
“Seriously? Did a wish come true? Are you super old now? Why would you wish to be super old? You’re already like 30. Wait, if you tell me you’re crazy old and the VP at a toy company, I’m going to literally spew diarrhea all over the floor in excitement again.”
“No, not quite.” Dan looked down at the cart in front of him. “I mean it isn’t exactly the same as Big, but it’s pretty similar.”
“Well, I didn’t make a wish, and I didn’t grow old, and I haven’t really become the VP of a toy company,” Chris heard a faint whimper on the other end of the line, as if someone had covered the mouthpiece and screamed in frustration. “But,” he continued, “I am the owner of a falafel cart. I don’t know how, or why, but I woke up this morning and there it was.”
“You own a falafel cart?”
“Yeah. I got out of bed this morning, walked out of my apartment, and there it was.”
“And it’s yours?”
“Yes, definitely. I mean, there was a guy at it last night, but he left.” Chris closed his eyes and ran his hand along the side of the cart. It felt so smooth against his skin, so perfect. It felt like he belonged with it.
“Let me get this straight. You walked outside, saw a falafel cart, and immediately realized it was yours?”
“Exactly,” Chris said. He stared at the cart. It was beautiful. A blue and yellow umbrella towered overhead, covering the metal center which was filled to the brim with a mixture of chick peas, lamb, chicken, beef, vegetables, and over a dozen—well, over three—kinds of sauces. The whole thing sat on tiny black wheels, which were locked in place by four ceramic bricks. Chris had placed them there himself, in order to stop it from rolling around in the heavy winds.
“So what you’re telling me is that you’re basically like Tom Hanks in the movie Big, except with falafels instead of toys?”
“That’s what I’m saying.”
“Chris,” Dan paused. “This is so much better than getting old and becoming a company vice president.”
“I know,” he replied.
“Do you? You basically just got yourself free falafels for life, not to mention a permanent job that you’re the boss of. Oh, and did I mention the part about free falafels for life? That’s pretty important.”
Chris stared down at the cart, eyebrows raised. “I never thought about it like that.”
“Let’s not forget that chicks dig guys with falafel carts. You’re going to be rolling in that poon.”
“You think so?”
“I know so, Chris. I just popped infinity boners thinking about it. Not to mention the fine stream of diarrhea now flowing down my leg from excitement. Thank you for that, by the way. I just put these pants on last week.”
Chris lifted up the metallic door sealing off the lamb, chicken, and beef from the world. He stuck his hand inside and swirled it around, enjoying the sensation of dead animal as it twisted around his fingers.
“Do you think I’ll make much money?” he asked, hand idly squeezing a slab of raw meat.
“What kind of question is that? Of course, you’re a falafeler now. I once read that is basically on-par with being a Made Man in the mob. All you need now is—”
“A customer!” Chris interrupted, putting down the phone. A professional-looking man in a suit was walking directly toward the cart, eyes fixed on the menu plastered against its side. He stopped, still staring at the sign, just before hitting its edge. Chris subtly removed his hand from the meat-container, careful not to draw too much attention. He guessed it would be bad for business if customers saw him molesting and squeezing their food before serving it.
“Let me get a falafel with lamb,” the man said. He glanced down at Chris’ hand, which was still only half way out of the meat-holster. Chris had severely over-estimated how long the man would be staring at the menu, and now he was caught in the act. He pulled it out the remainder of the way. The man stared up at Chris and then back down at the meat box.
“Put it back in,” he said, a grin spreading across his face.
“What?” Chris said. He wiped his hand off on his pants.
“Put your hand back in there. Slowly.”
Chris stared at the man. He looked a little less professional from up close. His face was unshaven and covered in welts, his teeth yellow in some areas, black in others. It was now clear that the suit he was wearing was actually a t-shirt with a blazer and tie imprinted on it. He was also not wearing pants, which had initially not registered as strange to Chris. However, in combination with his faux-suit and unkempt face, it became slightly more alarming.
“I don’t think I want to,” Chris said.
“Bitch, put your hand in that meat and swirl it around real good like,” said the man.
“No, please, don’t make me do this.” Chris felt his heart rate begin to accelerate. He glanced around to see if anyone else was present, but they were entirely alone.
“I want you to put that hand back in the meat and slather it all over my falafel. I want your meat inside my falafel, bitch.” The man closed his eyes and ran his tongue slowly across his lips.
“Please, stop, I don’t want to do this. I don’t even know how to make a falafel. This is my first day.”
“If you don’t slap your hand in that meat and give it a nice squeeze, I’m going to have to get angry.”
Chris felt the familiar sensation of a tear forming in his eye; his heart was now thumping against his chest, almost as if he had just completed a marathon he’d never prepared for. He slowly rose his hand into the air and placed it over the meat box, his arm trembling beyond his control. He lowered it into the meat, careful not to look into the eyes of the man across from him.
“Good, now squeeze it. Squeeze it hard.”
Chris limply brought his hands together, clenching his eyes shut and looking away as he did so. The tear broke free from his eye and slowly meandered down his cheek.
“Nice, that’s nice. You’re a good little bitch. How’s that meat feel?”
Chris wiped his face with his shoulder. “Good,” he whimpered. He felt a small object smack against his forehead, landing against the metal top of the cart with a clink. He glanced down toward the sound, a golden Sacagawea dollar-coin resting in its place. He looked back up at the man.
“That’s your tip for being my whore,” said the man. He winked, grabbed a napkin from the cart, and began walking away, his bare buttocks swaying softly with each step. Chris looked down at his hand still resting inside the meat. He slowly took it back out and picked his phone back up, hand still covered in meat-juice.
“Dan?” Chris said, his voice cracking slightly.
“Still here, I was cleaning up my diarrhea. I really spewed it this time. I think I got some on my cat. He’s fine, though. Cats spend a lot of time in poop.”
Chris slid his hand toward the coin and grabbed it, then closed his eyes. “I’m giving up the cart.”
“I think I just got raped, Dan. I’m not ready for this life.”
“Chris, that’s all part of being a felafeler. That’s the risk you take when you step into the world of falafels; you can’t just give up now.”
“I didn’t ask for this falafel life, Dan. I didn’t ask for this!” Chris pulled his arm back then threw the coin as far as he could before turning his back on the cart. A soft clink echoed in the distance, followed by a harmony of pleas from Dan. Chris slowly closed the phone, then turned and began walking up the steps to his apartment, a fine trail of meat-fluid dripping off his hand as he moved.
Writing Prompt: You fall asleep normally. When you wake up, you are the proprietor of a falafel stand you’ve never seen before.