Halfway through your burrito at the cheapest taqueria in the Mission, you notice the cook has a yellow tinge to his skin. You don’t want to see it, look once look twice, but you do.There’s no mistaking the banana skin, marigold eyes. You knew someone who had a roommate with hepatitis last year. You try to remember things you know about hepatitis, you read in ‘Fight Club’ that a hep germ can live on stainless steel for an unholy long fucking time.

You have a mouthful of food, grilled steak burrito, and realize it has turned to cardboard death in your mouth. The half-chewed bite goes surreptitiously into a napkin. The place is packed, it’s always busy here, almost around the clock. How many people has this guy prepared food for? His co-workers haven’t noticed, they see him every day, gradual events assimilate. They probably wouldn’t notice even if he dropped dead on the spot, right in the middle of sweating all over his grilling meats and refried beans.

Slowly you set your burrito back on its paper plate, rise, back away as if the Reaper himself has appeared in the form of a perspiring, overweight line cook and prepared this specific dish to hasten your demise under the clever guise of nourishment. Of a sudden you feel a prickly self consciousness, as if under intense scrutiny, a leering, pervasive sense that every germ in the place is sneering at you behind your back while cheering their kin who now merrily do the backstroke to your gut.

As you step onto the sidewalk, the world appears in an almost fourth dimensional, deeply unsettling new perspective. Every splatter of phlegm, pigeon shit, trickles and stagnant pools of nameless fluid, all hold a hitherto unperceived threat. You’re going to fucking die, you will probably never see it coming, no reason. Will you even know until it’s too late? You shortcut into an alley, it’s broad daylight and though dozens of people walk by, your finger down your throat as you lean behind a dumpster, stench of piss, retch, gag, vomit half a grilled steak burrito on the wet spot. More grisly germs. You wipe the sweat and puke off of your face, your upper lip, find a 14 Mission stop, sit, in a super-charged dream state as if you have already left your body.

There are smatterings of beef and digestive fluids on your boots. You stare numbly at them, consider the implications. Toilet seats, shaking hands? Kid stuff! No,death is everywhere, ignominious, lurking in filth encrusted corners flagrantly or unobtrusively on paper plates, in the air itself, circling the drain. In a moment of accelerated awareness, you look down and see, in relentless detail, each granule of crust and grime packed into the slats of your bench. Adrenaline surges, you jump away and directly into the path of a garage bound bus that barely made the red light.

Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s