Hamster Republic -> James -> Short Fiction -> Protein Bars
©2003 James Paige
What is a protein bar? A slab of meat and nuts? A euphemism for beef-jerky? And what would possess you to eat them? Do they taste like steak? Are they chocolate-covered? Did somebody pay you? Somebody payed you, didn't they? Or at least they promised you money. They promised you that you could make millions by participating in a protein-bar multi-level-marketing scheme, didn't they? You only need to buy one crate, and then you make back all the money plus many times more by re-selling more crates to your friends, and you said, 'Hey, this sounds too good to be true!' so you bought 120 crates, and so far you have sold three, and one of those was returned almost full cause it caused stinky gas, and now you don't know what you are going to do with your one original crate, let alone the 117.9 crates you were supposed to sell, because nobody wants them and you blew so much money on them that now Stephanie isn't speaking to you, and so you are trying to eat all of them, to hide the evidence so to speak, and pretend it never happened, but the things taste awful and you aren't getting the right nutrients, all that protein and nothing else is giving you rickets or scurvy or something but you can't go to the doctor about that because you don't have health insurance anymore because when you got into this thing you quit your job thinking you would be rich and would never have to work again, except you didn't tell Stephanie that you quit, and you haven't told her yet, so you have been leaving during the day and going to a bar down the street so she will think you are at work and you just sit there all day at the bar drinking beer after beer and eating protein-bar after protein-bar until the money runs out and you try to trade protein bars for more beer, but the bartender tastes one and he wont do it, and the gas is really building up in your intestine and getting very very painful and clouding your judgment along with the thirteen beers that you bought with the very last of your money and today Stephanie is out there shopping at Ikea with the credit card racking up more bills, and you don't know what to do and you just want to scream and scream and scream, but you can't because your belly hurts so much and your mouth is full of a gristly greasy protein bar that has so many little bits of bone and exoskeleton in it that you can barely chew and you haven't even finished your second box yet, and you stagger to your car and stare at your keys as protein-bar crumbs drip from the corner of your mouth and you wonder how much money you could get if you pawned the car. How many beers would that buy? And you wonder if you could drive the car into an ATM and smash it open and steal the money inside, but you aren't sure you can pull a thing like that off in your current physical state, and didn't you read somewhere how that doesn't work anyway? And then you think about just driving off of a bridge and ending it all or maybe just eating another of these damn protein-bars and see if that doesn't kill you. And you swallow the last of the one in your mouth and fumble at the wrapper of another one but in your drunken and gas-pain-seared state you can't even get it open, it just slips out of your fingers and falls to the ground and you lean down to try and pick it up, but no, you keep leaning and leaning and down you go and your head hits the door of the car parked next to yours and then everything goes black and you don't remember anything more.
©2003 James Paige
Released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 License
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