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The End Of An Era
idol season ten | week twelve | 801 words
Salty

x-x-x-x-x

"All right, it looks like everyone's here, so let's get started."

"I don't even know why we're doing this," the anchovies complained. "What's the point of talking about how we feel? It doesn't change anything."

"Sharing sometimes helps us feel less lonely," the French fries said.

The anchovies sniffed. "Speak for yourself. Except for Caesar salad and the occasional pizza, I've been out of favor for decades. You want to talk about loneliness? You're a little late to the party."

The olives shrugged. "None of us are as popular as we used to be. With so many aging Baby Boomers watching their blood pressure, salty foods are the first thing to go. I still get gigs on nachos and pizza, and the kids use me to make space-alien fingers at Thanksgiving. The grownups, though? It's like they hardly know me! My cousins, the greens, still get cocktail work. But half the time, they don't even get eaten. Straight into the garbage, like some kind of decoration…"

"Exactly," the pickle said. "Man, I used to be in the middle of everything. At delis, I was the go-to guy as the extra on a sandwich order, and for hamburgers and some of the sandwiches, I was part of the main event! They even sold me at Disneyland for a while, jumbo dill pickles the size of a jam jar, for five whole bucks. The Japanese tourists loved me. Boy, those were the days."

"No kidding." Over at the coffee pot, the beef jerky sighed and poured a fresh cup. "Salt used to be a valuable commodity! People mined it out of the ground and traded it for jewels and gold, for crying out loud. Now we're, like, pariahs."

"Some of us more than others." The pickle jostled the bag of potato chips sitting next to him. "Being salty and high in fat has to totally suck, am I right?"

"At least I'm fun at parties," the chips said. "I get invited everywhere."

"Hey," the olives said. "Speaking of fatty foods, where's bacon?"

The macaroni and cheese rolled its eyes. "He says there's a bacon renaissance going on, and he doesn't need help with his self-esteem."

"Geez, what an ego," the movie popcorn huffed.

"I know, right?" The canned soup passed the box of donuts around. "Must be nice."

The hot dog scooted his chair forward. "It's so hard to let go of what we had. I mean, I used to be part of the whole American ballgame experience. I'm still there, but I just don't feel important anymore. If I didn't have pretzel right there in the same boat as me, don't know what I'd do. He just gets me, you know?"

The other foods sat quietly, feeling sad. Apart from the corn chips and chile con queso, none of them had that kind of special bond, and oh, how they wanted it.

The French fries looked around the room. "Spam, we haven't heard from you yet."

"Not much to tell, really. Still big in Hawaii, still ignored on the mainland. It could be worse. When I get noticed around here, it's usually someone sneering at the ingredients, or the can, or the jelly coating, or whatever. Being overlooked isn't always bad."

The macaroni and cheese nodded. With its artificial colors, flavors, and mysterious additives, it was happy being a comfort food and escaping close scrutiny, even if it was nearly toxic to anyone on a low-sodium diet.

The French fries checked the clock. "Well, our time is up for this week. I think this was a good first session, with a lot of important sharing. Our next meeting is in two weeks, same time and location. For those of you who are also in the Fatty Foods support group, that meeting is next door and starts in ten minutes. Thank you, everyone. Please fold the chairs and put them against the wall before you go."

The pickle stacked his chair, and snagged the last remaining donut. It was a plain glazed, hardly worth the calories, but Eh—a donut was a donut.

The potato chips walked past.

"I suppose you're headed for the fatty-food follow-up?" the pickle said.

"Yeah, so?"

"So, do you know that ice cream gal who goes to that meeting? I've seen her around. She's hot. Well, not hot, but you know what I mean."

"Not really."

"Dude, get your head out of the bag! She's, like, three scoops of gorgeous with a maraschino cherry on top." The pickle shook himself. "Man, would I ever hit that!"

The potato chips rustled and shuddered. "Gross."

"Why? I totally would."

"Ice cream and pickles? Plus, you're covered in warts."

"Yeah, so, who isn't?" The pickle leaned in an elbowed him. "No, seriously, be a pal…

"You think you could introduce me?"


--/---

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