Hot Dog with No Relish | Chris Sharkey

    “Shut yer damn trap, ya rangy mothafucker!” 
    George hurled his finished Jim Bean bottle towards his scaly alligator, which was choking rather loudly on a dog bone. Flap scurried down the kitchen steps and through the doggie door, eager to prey on the neighbor’s unsuspecting pets. Once a week, there would be some kid stapling flyers of their missing cat or dog, desperately looking for their loved one. George couldn’t care less about some cat named Fluffy.
    “Fuck them neighbors and their stupid-ass rodents.”
    George grabbed another bottle behind his chair: Fireball whiskey. He personally couldn’t stand the taste of it, but it got him drunk, and that was his mission, by whatever means necessary. With one huge swig, he sucked the whiskey into his throat. George let out a belch that shook the floor like Zeus’s thunderbolts.
    “They don’t call you fireball for nothing, baby.”
    He put the bottle down, and continued to watch the Miami Dolphins lose to the New Orleans Saints. It was a boring game, with the Saints leading 3-0 at the half.
    “F you, Mark Ingram. I hope you go ‘n down to the Bayou, and get eaten up by a big ‘ol gator.”
    George always wanted to go back to New Orleans. His father moved him and his brothers out to Miami after his mother died giving birth to George’s sister. Mr. Samuels couldn’t handle the constant reminders of what he had lost. Maybe if they moved, they could be a happy family again. The first day they arrived in Miami, they stopped at a hotdog stand called Sweet Dogs. George caught a glimpse of one of the hotdogs. It overflowed with French fries, pouring off the bun like a greasy Niagara Falls. George got one without relish because he considered the taste not to complement the sweetness and bitterness the ketchup and mustard already provided. The Samuels family was back to their loud, obnoxious selves again. All this thought of a hotdog made George hungry.
    “I need some grub,” George slurred. The fireball had just kicked in. George lifted himself off his chair, which triggered an explosion of dust to arise. He zig zagged out of the living room and to the kitchen steps past the towering mountain of uncleaned dishes. George hesitated to get his balance, and proceeded to walk down, clinging to the wall for his life. One step… two step… missed step.
    Tumbling down, George landed on his butt. He pulled himself off the dusty wood, cracked his neck, and got his keys. The Miami sun blinded George as he stumbled out. His 1997 Chevy Astro van smelled of armpits and sex. The engine proceeded to make its regular coughs and wheezes, much like its owner. After the pathetic engine started, George took a swig of a flask on the passenger chair. 
    “Tastes like piss,” he grimaced. It probably was. George drove out of Rolling Road Drive up to a stop light. His flask dropped as he turned left. Swiftly reaching for his flask, George didn’t see the oncoming truck speeding towards him.
    “I smell smoke,” George thought.
    It turned out he was right. The car flipped upside down, with the driver’s door completely separated. He tried to wrestle his way out, but couldn’t move his left leg. George looked down in horror at the bone protruding from his thigh before fading back to unconsciousness.
    The sound of the heart monitor awoke George from his medicated slumber. The hospital bed itched his back and wouldn’t go away. As he moved to itch his back, a sharp pain hit his left leg. George screamed, then looked down to see a bloody, bandaged stump where his left leg should be. A nurse immediately rushed in.
    “Do you need anything sir?”
    George gazed into her eyes, wondering if life was worth living.
    “Gimme a fuckin’ hotdog widdout relish. I swur to Gawd, if there’s any relish on it, I’ll stick it down yer throat.”
    The nurse ran out to get the hotdog. Fifteen minutes later, she woke George up with a freshly made hotdog. George smiled through the pain.