The donkey sauce was killing us. Either that or the factories that produced nothing in particular and impregnated the clouds and air with sulfur and asbestos, maybe it was a combination, whatever the case, my handkerchiefs were filling with more blood every week and my bones could barely hold my sagging flesh as it plummeted toward the worn asphalt of the strip mall I worked at. Flavortown bordered Gary in Northern Indiana and was an unassuming settlement that my friends and I had moved to ironically five years back in an effort to generate social media content for uninterested friends and family.
The content was generated, consumed, shit out with an expired batch of Guy-talian Fondue Dippers and now we were all stuck here in the same toilet. We didn’t check the fine print on our lease, which included a mandatory decade long service with a death penalty clause if breached. We had seen someone try to leave Flavortown before their time was up, the next day was a public hanging during an Imagine Dragons concert.
Much like Gary, Flavortown was the beating heart of directionless pollution as its web of veins and arteries poisoned surrounding cities in the already deteriorating rust belt. Our jobs were to extract the donkey sauce from the donkeys themselves. Though I didn’t really consider them donkeys at all. They were human donkey hybrids, the lab creation of some truly awful bastard. I figured there was an easier way to get thousand island dressing mixed with ranch, but we were told that milking the skin tagged utters of these neglected donkeys that looked vaguely like Guy Fieri was the only true way to provide the American public with what they wanted. They didn’t seem to mind much, indifferent to the condiment their bodies generated, they were hooked to televisions that broadcasted Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and were fed DMT regularly. In some ways, I wished I was them and in other ways I felt us becoming more similar by the day.
I’d once hatched a plot to escape, thinking I could ride one of the creatures to freedom. Thinking that I could save us both from the town that was grinding us like peppercorn into drool filled tourist mouths as their tongues probed the ears of unsuspecting servers. Thinking that its atrophied legs would somehow be more capable than mine, able to outrun imminent death in favor of the prolonged one everyone else seemed to enjoy.
When I hopped on, ready for salvation, the last thing I heard was bones snapping before its legs crumpled completely and we both collapsed into the asphalt. That was the last time I tried to leave and the death of something so innocent only functioned to spiral me deeper into the depression that accompanied existing for the sole purpose of condiment accumulation and passive organ rotting from pollution.
Now I got drunk and hoped things would change without a catalyst. Assuming that things would just work themselves out, even though I knew they wouldn’t.
We’d all die here. We’d be buried in flame decal button up shirts and backwards upside down sunglasses like everyone else who had died harvesting the sauce. At least we had provided the secret dressing that lubricated the esophagai of dying Americans enough to consume another fistful of knuckle steak at airport bar and grills across the country, at least we had done that.