There’s a magical, heartwarming ritual in which J and I partake on the weekends. They come around midnight, selling their trans fat-laden wares to the drunken, the belligerent, the grease-jonesing masses. These heroes, the local firefighters, set up their hot dog cart across the street from a dive bar we frequent; nothing sits on the beer-doused belly quite so well as a chili-cheese jalapeno dog and a steaming white trash delicacy known as the Frito Pie (more on this in a later episode). We wait every weekend night, filled to bursting with anxiety, for the Champions of Drunken Hunger Alleviation to alight upon their designated corner. They don’t always come; sometimes bad weather impedes, sometimes a post-ballgame couch-burning turns ugly. But we always hold on to that flickering glimmer of hope.
Hope prevailed last night; J noticed the giant red umbrella as I came sashaying into the bar, post-liquor promotion. We satiated our urges to thwart sobriety and heckle those with lesser taste in beer, and traipsed that sacred path to the Hot Dog Cart of Glory roughly an hour later. The collegians of our fair city are usually good-n-ripped by 1 AM, and tonight was no exception. As we stood, shivering in giddy anticipation of the bounty of dawgs and pies that awaited us, a group of fratdudes carreened past.
“Yo Houn’dog!” or Smitty, or BrownEye, I really don’t recall, “you won’ ta getcher smokes from the Firemen’s cart?” Said volunteer gentlemen chefs also pawn the requisite late-night staples: gum, condoms, Excedrin, Alka-Seltzer, and of course, cigarettes.
“Fuck dem firemen!” BigBoiieey countered to his buddy, reeling dangerously close to oncoming traffic. “Dey rip me off las’ week, charge me FyeDollah for a packasmokes! Fuck dat!!”
J and I exchanged a look, taking in the devoted firefighter behind the cart, freezing his ass off to raise some funds for the organization that will undoubtedly save the life of MadDawg when he falls asleep with a lit cigarette in his bed.
Was I this socially oblivious as a drunken college kid? Did I display such monumental ingratitude to those righteous souls kind enough to keep my clobbered ass from dying? I really don’t think so.
Or maybe I was just too fucking hammered to remember…