It was 20 full seconds before I realized I had been scrutinizing the last, oddly abused looking, box of Doritos loaded at the 7-11 on Milwaukee Ave. It sat there quiet, in meditation as it soaked in the radiation from the heat lamps above. The lamps function flawlessly in terms of keeping food slightly under room temperature at full blast. “Have these been selling well?” I found myself sheepishly asking, shifting my weight from side to side. Small talk stalling. Waiting for the perfect moment where my inhibitions and embarrassment had diminished enough to make the courageous purchase. I imagine the feeling is similar to when the entire store would stare at whoever emerged from the hastily covered (usually by a beaded door curtain) adults only section at Blockbuster. “What do you think?” she responded in a surly manner bordering on complete fury. “Good?” I wearily responded. “What’s better than a big ass, motherfucking buttery ass, cheese filled Dorito, now you tell me.” It was a convincing enough endorsement and I purchased the final box in silence.
The texture of the orange triangle was otherworldly. Somehow both moist and granular, firm and wet. Aggressively lukewarm, though no fault of its own. The orange dust on them appeared infinite and in constant conflict. Astronomers could study these occurrences for a better understanding of Jupiter’s Red Eye. No less than 10 layers of this dust were shed onto my hands, staining them for the rest of the day. An unmistakable mark announcing to the world I had eaten the dust of the gods.
The texture of it in my mouth was somehow even more alien than in between my fingers. There were notes of an undetermined white fish. The aroma from the hot dogs spinning below had also found a home on the chalky surface. Inexplicably gamey and slightly sinewy. As the alien food continued to probe my mouth, it was apparent that the texture closely resembled a bathroom sponge that had been used to scrub a Comet filled bathtub several weeks prior. Or the amorphous blob of leftover dishwasher soap. If you can somehow get over the texture and the oddities contained in certain bites this salt ridden, deep fried cheese log has a certain Midwestern charm that reminds me of home.