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"Fries" by C.E. Hoffman

We’re stuck in the drive-thru screaming at each other.

Your window’s down ready to order while I fail to hide my wet-sob face from the guy in front of us who’s locking eyes with me from his rearview mirror, or maybe he can’t see me, maybe he’s a million miles away, maybe we’re just another bullshit Big City couple and nobody cares.

Maybe nobody should.

Here I am, your purveyor of multiple daily blow jobs, and I’m the bad guy, the bad girlfriend, the one your friends warned you about.

“Are you collecting points?” asks the newly-landed immigrant forced to stand on their feet for twelve hours w/ no breaks so we can soak our sorrows in trans fats, who to us is no more than a crackling speaker, a repository for our soap box antics.

“No. I’ll have a Big Fat Meal and a double-double with an espresso shot. You want anything?” this last query is for me, and I know it’s your feeble white flag, but there’s nothing to say, because this place has nothing I need.

They are not in the market for assertive atticism or self-esteem. They’re all out of coupons for love.

I’ve had my hand on my seat belt button, the one that says Press or Release, the one we all played with as kids, back when the backseat of our parents’ cars became a spaceship propelling us into a future so much better than the one we got.

The DUFF and Hairspray lied to us as much as Disney films. The hot guy doesn’t go for the “chubby little communist girl.” If he does, it never works.

Like should stick to like. Pretties should stick to Pretties. The rest of us need to learn to love ourselves.

We pull up to the pay window where the newly-landed immigrant is working two jobs for the price of one. She takes your change with a smile, more courteous in the face of injustice than I could ever be.

If I was the one driving, I’d turn us right around.

We don’t need any more salt in this car.

C E Hoffman (they/them) was born, gave birth, and tried to die in Edmonton, AB (not necessarily in that order.) A grant recipient, Writer’s Union of Canada member, and winner of the 2022 Defunct May Day Chapbook contest with their chapbook NO ACTUAL SIN, they’ve been published widely online and in print since 2010, and edited Punk Monk Magazine since 2012.

Current releases include their #OwnVoices short story collection SLUTS AND WHORES (Thurston Howl Publications, 2021), BLOOD, BOOZE, AND OTHER THINGS IN NATURE (Alien Buddha Press, 2022), and GHOSTS, TROLLS, AND OTHER THINGS ON THE INTERNET (Bottlecap Press, 2022.) Follow them on Twitter @CEHoffman2, and listen to their podcast Scribbles & Spills.


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