The year is 2050.
It’s been years since they were outlawed, but some of us still had to get our fix. You could still find them if you knew where to go, usually across the railroad tracks to the shady side of town.
Junk food, as addictive as heroin, the government decided years back. Junk Food penalties are now the same as a Schedule II narcotic. But I wasn’t addicted to any ordinary junk food; I was addicted to the king of junk food, the hot dog.
So I needed my fix and headed down to the corner of Vegan Street and Tofu Alley. I got out of my car and knocked on the back door. Joe answered, smiling as always. “Mustard and onion, right?”
I nodded. Joe handed me two dogs and his big freebie to regular customers, an Alka Seltzer packet. The dogs cost $10 bucks. They say Joe’s supplier is the Salami syndicate out of Jersey. They’re a tough group and punish narks by forcing raw sausage down their throats until they pass out or get trichinosis, whichever comes first.
Anyway, I took my dogs to the corner of the city park where I can eat in my car in peace. It was hot outside, I put the window down. In the middle of the second dog a tall thin girl in beads, a psychedelic T-shirt and jeans walked by, she looked at me and sniffed. She was walking a wiener dog, a vegetarian wiener dog I am sure.
“You know”, she said. “Those things will kill you.”
“No, they’re tofu dogs, I said, lying. She looked at me.
“Mister, they don’t smell like tofu dogs.” She walked away in disgust, with her wiener dog tagging along.
A couple days later, about midnight, I heard a knock on the door.
“Junk Food Police, Hot Dog Division, we have a warrant, open up.” That girl must have written down or memorized my car tag.
I opened the door. They saw the buns I’d left on the table. The three cops pushed me aside and headed to the refrigerator.
The lead cop barked at me: “Are you going to open that refrigerator door for us, or are we going to have to break the thing open?”
I opened it; they looked around and noticed something under the salad bag. It was the extra uncooked dogs I get every so often from Joe.
“You’re under arrest, mister”, the head cop said. Before I knew it, the cuffs were on and he was reading my Miranda rights.
A few weeks later I was in court with my Public Defender. The judge was thin, lean and mean.
“You’re a first offender, so I’ll go easy on you,” he said. “One year in the state penitentiary with mandatory counseling as part of the recalcitrant carnivores program.”
“You know what that means?”
“No, judge,” I said.
“You only eat vegetarian food while in the pen,” the judge said.
Well, I’ve been out for a couple weeks now and doing pretty well. Prison kind of took away my taste for meat, although all prison food is bad, I mean, you couldn’t tell the beets from the broccoli half the time.
But then I found myself walking down Vegan Street and remembered Joe’s, I couldn’t help it.
I knocked on the back door.
“You’re back. I knew it, they always come back,” he said.
I was ashamed. He smiled.
“You still take mustard and onions?"
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2 years ago