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  • Gary Hunter

Sharing Fries at Tyler’s - Dec. 4, 2022

The smell - a basket of greasy hot and crispy, pencil-sized potatoes - rises between us. They call it a “shared portion” that I have already invisibly cut into two equal halves. My friend and I start by matching one to one - a burger bite for each fry. It quickly shifts to one for two. They are good. A little blackbird at my feet distracts me. I flip it some crumbs from my bun and lose track of the count. No need to panic. I’ll easily catch up with grabbed bundles of three, crushed to appear as one. Ketchup and oil ooze down my hand. He asks the waiter for another diet coke. Yep, opportunity strikes. Another threesome slips between my lips.

It’s amazing what you can stuff in your mouth without swallowing, and still talk. By now, half the basket remains, my burger is nearly done and he’s only halfway done. I boldly shift to five pinched and cloaked as one while he’s back to picking and poking at singles. At this point, I know I’m ahead and getting full, so I let him have the last few to appear generous, while I sigh, sit back to degrease.

This manic affection for salt and oil folded into crispy hot pleasure I can’t really explain. It is a well-guarded obsession, hidden behind the word “like”. Keeping a conversational iced tea smile, inside I become mean, aggressive, and manipulative in dark jungly ways. There’s a madness in my eyes as fingers become snakes, pythons that wrap their prey in tight greasy coils.

French fries may only be a side dish for you. To me they’re a favorite trophy I am very, very skilled in capturing and bringing home.


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