Ep.85 – Taco Tuesday - How HUNGRY Are You?!
Who's hungry?! What could be less threatening than a taco? They're crunchy and delicious... and they certainly won't destroy your body and consume your soul or anything...
Taco Tuesday by Keith Tomlin
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My god, what is happening to me? I’m trapped in my own body. I can feel myself moving, walking around but I am not in control. Sometimes, if I concentrate hard enough, I can see out of my eyes but that is becoming harder and harder to do. I occasionally hear bits and pieces of muffled conversation but, as time goes by, that too is fading away. All I know is that I am slowly losing my mind. I don’t think I’m going crazy but my memories are fading away, losing all of the details that make up my life. I mean, I know my name is John Davidson and that I was born in Ohio but I can’t quite remember what city. I know it started with an ’S’. Sandusky? Springfield? I just can’t remember. My childhood is gone along with most of my high school and college days. I know that I currently live in Columbus, Ohio but the rest of my life is like looking into a foggy darkness. The only memories that are clear are the events that happened the last few days. I’m afraid that if I don’t keep at least that much fresh in my mind, there will be nothing left of me. I think it began a few days ago. It was morning and I was standing in line at the coffee shop in the building in which I work. I was still rubbing the sleep from my eyes when I heard a cheerful voice behind me. “Do you know the best thing about Tuesday mornings? It’s not Monday!” I turned to see a man in this 30’s, dressed in a nice suit, grinning broadly. I didn’t recognize him but I figured he must be new here. It’s an unspoken rule that you never talk to others in line, especially this early in the morning. Regulars to the coffee shop know this and everyone follows this tradition. “Yeah, huh. I know,” I said. Not my most eloquent statement but it was early and I was trying to walk that fine line between being polite and trying to discourage him from further conversation. I turned and faced forward, hoping this would signal my unwillingness to converse but I wasn’t surprised when he continued talking. “It should be a great day, super-duper! It’s supposed to hit 75 degrees with no chance of rain,” said the jovial voice behind me. I rolled my eyes, not turning around to look at him but giving a noncommittal nod and a low grunt. He continued, “I can’t believe that we’ll be stuck in an office on a day like this.” I made sure not to move a muscle, I didn’t want to send any hint of encouragement. “Say, pal,” he said, “you look like a man that enjoys a good taco.” Ok, I admit, this piqued my interest. It was an odd thing to say to a stranger during the morning coffee rush. It wasn’t just the words he said, it was also how he said it. His voice had taken on an authoritative air and I had turned to face him without realizing that I had done so. His eyes locked with mine and I could not look away. “Last night,” he stated, “I ate at this Mexican place that was out of this world.” He sighed, a blissful look momentarily passing over his face before he continued. “It’s a bit out of the way but, friend, it is worth the drive. Get the tacos. Trust me, it will change. Your. Life.” He pulled out a business card and handed it to me. “Here’s the address, check it out. You don’t want to live to regret it.” I took the card like a man in a daze. I mumbled something and turned to face forward and realized that no one was between me and the counter. The barista was asking if I was ready to order and, from the tone of this voice, this wasn’t the first time he asked. I hurried to the counter and placed my usual order. While waiting on my coffee, I took a look behind me and found that the man was gone. I began to doubt that he was ever there until I felt the outline of a business card in my shirt pocket. The rest of the morning blurred by as usual. I had the same worthless meetings, the same meaningless tasks. I nodded when I was expected to nod and shook my head when I was expected to shake my head. I had thought that working at an advertising agency would be glamorous, that I would come up with clever ad campaigns, pitch ideas to grateful clients, and sit in on photoshoots with beautiful models. Instead, I’m the guy that makes the visual aids to use in other people’s presentations. If the client likes it, it’s because the account executive had an amazing idea. If the client hates it, it’s because I screwed up the layout. Oh well, it’s not all bad, one time I got to pick out the font. It wasn’t until lunchtime that I thought about that strange man again. I had only a few minutes to grab lunch and I ran down to a burger joint on the corner. As I bit into my sandwich, I realized that it tasted like cardboard. The fries tasted the same way. All I could think of was tacos and the thought of anything else sickened me. I ended up throwing the hamburger and fries in the garbage and walking back to work, stomach growing. The rest of the day, I could think of nothing except tacos; seasoned ground beef, topped with lettuce and cheese in a toasted shell. My distraction showed and I was asked several times if I was ok, once by someone who actually seemed concerned. I assured everyone I was fine and I somehow stumbled my way through the rest of the workday. At 5:00 pm, I left work and immediately drove to my favorite Mexican restaurant. As I parked the car, I realized that the thought of the tacos from this place turned my stomach. I sat in my car confused, my stomach growled, demanding food, but the thought of eating here made me retch. I finally remembered the business card in my pocket. I grabbed it, ripping my shirt in the process, and looked at the address printed on the card. I threw the car in gear and sped out of the parking lot. I drove out of town and, after a 35-minute drive, I pulled into a parking lot in front of the restaurant listed on the card. This strange building looked out of place, a one story structure made out of heavy gauge steel sheets, glowing with neon light. It looked a strange sight, this neon monstrosity sitting at the edge of an empty field in the middle of nowhere. My stomach ached, huger pains shooting up into my chest. I quickly shut the car off and scurried inside. I don’t remember much about the inside of the place. I recall there was a strange-looking man, small and lanky, who lead me to a seat at a rough wooden table. He slipped away without saying a word. I also seem to recall other people, some writhing on the floor, but I can’t be sure that was real, everything seemed like a dream. After a minute, or maybe an hour, the small man returned, bearing a plate full of tacos. He placed the plate in front of me, nodded, and disappeared again. Well, to be honest, he could have been standing next to me the whole time, I only had eyes for the tacos. I quickly grabbed a taco and brought it up to my nose, taking a deep breath. For a second, I thought I smelled rancid meat, mildew, and rot but that was quickly replaced by the tantalizing scent of taco meat so fast that I doubted I even smelled it in the first place. Hands shaking with anticipation, I took my first bite. Pure ecstasy. My god, every nerve ending in my body seemed to explode with pleasure. I was shivering so badly that I could barely hang onto the taco. I could feel every inch of my body pulse with orgasmic delight. I took a second bite and the feeling increased tenfold. I could feel every hair follicle standing on end, each one so sensitive that any movement would send shivers of pleasure coursing throughout my entire body. I was so erect that I ached, my penis straining against my underwear so hard that I thought it would burst out of my pants. Every breath I took stoked the fires of my pleasure; each movement sent waves of shivers down my spine. I climaxed over and over and over again. I slid down the chair, ending up on the floor. I have no idea how long I laid there, twitching with the slightest breeze, sated and sore. I eventually struggled to my feet and stumbled out of the restaurant but I have no recollection of driving home. Next thing I know, my alarm is going off. 5:45 am. I am still spent, every inch of my body aching. The thought of moving sickened me, but after trying three times, I finally make it out of bed. It never crossed my mind to call in sick, I was operating solely on autopilot. I brushed my teeth, showered, shaved, dressed, and drove off to the office, all done in a daze, each movement born of repeated gestures I did thousands of times before. I didn’t snap out of it until I was standing in line at the ground floor coffee shop. A coworker tapped me on the shoulder. “Damn, John, you look like shit. Late night?” the man said. It took me a moment to come up with a name for that face… Steve, no, Stevens, Chad Stevens, from Accounting. “Yeah, not feeling the best, Maybe food poisoning…” I mumbled. As soon as I said poison, it was like flipping a switch. My stomach started to rebel and my bowels turned to water. I ran out of the coffee shop and stormed into the men’s room. I dove into a stall, barely making it before I painted the back wall with what little was left in my stomach. I quickly pulled down my pants and emptied my bowels violently. My whole body broke out in a sweat, my suit sticking to my skin. After several rotating rounds of puking and shitting, I finally felt a cold numbness come over my body. I cleaned myself up as best I could and limped out of the restroom. On the way out of the building, I vaguely remember a few people gasping when they saw me but I ignored everything except moving my foot to take the next step. Just like the night before, I didn’t remember the drive home. My next clear memory was sitting on my bathroom floor, head hanging over my toilet, my body naked and covered in sweat. I had no idea what time it was or how long I have been there. All I knew is that I kept vomiting over and over, an endless heaving into the porcelain bowl. There was nothing in my stomach to bring up but I kept retching. My stomach was on fire, burning pain shooting up my torso. I began puking up blood, first just a tinge of red in the bile that I was bringing up. That tinge quickly turned into a crimson flood as I felt things inside me begin to tear. The blood soon became chunky with bits of tissue as my body began to purge itself of its internal organs. The chunks became larger and I struggled to pass bigger and bigger pieces. The heaving became a torrent as my muscles locked up and I became a gruesome parody of a fountain statue that gushed blood and guts instead of water. Time lost all meaning as I sat there frozen, watching my life’s blood spill out all over the bathroom floor. Finally, after an eternity, the muscles let loose and I collapsed. The searing pain had been replaced by a dull ache. I lay there on the edge of unconsciousness until I felt a new pain, this time in my bowels. Blood began to pour out of my ass as the whole process began again, this time from a different orifice. I tried to scream but could only manage to weep. Sometime later, I woke up. I didn’t remember passing out but I must have been unconscious for quite a while. The floor of the bathroom was a puddle of congealing blood and bits of flesh, already starting to crust over. The buzzing of a dozen flies filled the air as I opened my eyes. It took a second to realize that the pain was gone, replaced by an emptiness, a coldness, a dark void. It was a very peculiar feeling, I could tell my body was freezing and I should be shivering with cold but I felt no discomfort. The side of my head was stuck to the white tile floor and I had to struggle to peel my cheek from the carnage that trapped it. This was repeated for every part of my body that was submerged in the mess and left me panting and weak. My arms and legs shook with effort as I crawled to the bathtub and flopped over the edge of it. Using the last of my energy, I turned on the faucet and flipped up the plunger to engage the shower. I remember watching the water start to fall on my face as I blacked out once again. My next conscious memory was standing in front of my dresser mirror, adjusting a blue and white striped tie. Shocked, I looked down and realized that I was dressed in my one my nicer suits, my suit jacket neatly folded on the bed. It was bright, the early morning sun was shinning through the bedroom window. I started to leave the room but stumbled as I found it very difficult to make my legs move. It was as if I had to concentrate on every movement, each step feeling as if it were my first ones. I stumbled past the bathroom and stopped dead, looking at the immaculate floor. There was no sign of the bloody mess I expelled. I walked into the bathroom, frantically looking for any sign that it really happened, that I wasn’t going crazy. Finally, as I tore the room apart, I found a thumbnail sized hunk of flesh stuck to the back side of the shower curtain. Seeing that, I dropped down on the toilet seat and wept, not knowing if I was glad it wasn’t a dream or overwhelmed because I hoped it was. I sat there for hours, until there were no more tears left. I stood and moved over to the sink and splashed water on my face. I wanted to cry again after I realized that I could not feel the temperature of the water. I could tell it was wet but it could have been scolding hot or freezing cold, the temperature didn’t register on my skin. I pinched the back of my hand and felt nothing. Well, not exactly nothing, I could feel pressure, I knew that my fingernail was pressing hard into my skin but there was no pain, only numbness. I had to find out what happened to me and the only place I could think of to start was the taco restaurant. As I walked through the house and out to the car, I began to relearn how to control my muscles, my legs started to lose their jerky motion as I continued to use them. It took a few minutes of driving before I was able to lightly press the gas or brake pedal instead of jamming each one to the floor. Jumping on the highway, I drove out of town, heading to the country, towards the restaurant. I realized that thinking about those tacos did nothing for me, in fact, food in general held no interest, even though I would guess it’s been over a day since I ate. I was not hungry, I was just… empty. After a half an hour or so, I pulled into the driveway of the restaurant, or at least where the restaurant had been. Looking around now, all I saw was an old, dilapidated barn next to a corn field that stretched as far as the eye could see. There was no doubt in my mind that this was the spot and yet, how could it be? I got out of the car and wandered around the lot, looking for any sign of the restaurant. The barn was filled with old farm equipment, rusty and tangled in weeds. I made my way though the ancient junk to a rickety wooden ladder that led up to a hay loft. Leaning out an opening in the loft, I gazed at acres and acres of cornfields. I was about to turn away when I noticed a clearing in the field behind the barn. Straining my eyes, I could make out a series of large circular patches burned into the ground. It looked familiar, like something I may have seen in a documentary on the sci-fi channel. Excited about finally having something I could investigate, some possible answers to the myriad questions I had, I turned to make my way back down the ladder. Suddenly, I felt a presence, something lurking behind me. I spun around before realizing that it wasn’t behind me, it was in me, a shadow on my mind. This dark entity grew larger and began seizing control of my body. I tried to fight back but it grew too strong, too fast. I was ripped from my mind and plunged into a wold of darkness. Time lost all meaning and I struggled not to go mad. Hours, maybe days passed and I continued to plunge deeper into darkness. I used to be able to see out of my eyes if I concentrated but now that has slipped away from me. I can no longer feel any sensation outside of the void. All I have left of me is my memories and those too are fading away. I don’t remember where I was born, where I live, or even what my name is. My whole life is gone, every memory that makes me what I am is vanishing. I keep trying to remember whatever I can, to keep it fresh in my mind but each minute I seem to lose more. The last thing I remember is walking into a barn filled with old farm equipment and that too is fading. Dear god, I am fading. I am lost. ———————— Chad Stevens looked at his watch and shook his head with impatience as he looked at the three people in front of him in line at the ground floor coffee shop. He hated his job, he hated his coworkers, and he hated that, as the newest hire, he had to pick up coffee every morning for everyone in accounting, even though he worked there over three years. Sighing, he checked his watch again. “Do you know the best thing about Friday morning? It’s not Monday!” said a voice behind Chad. Chad hung his head and ignored the man behind him. “It looks like a great day, peachy! It should only reach the high 60’s with a slight chance of rain,” said the voice, sounding too happy for this time of the morning. “It should be a crime that we’re stuck in the office on a day like this,” he continued. There was something familiar about that voice and Chad turned to see who spoke. “John! Wow, you look a lot better, man,” Chad exclaimed. “The way you tore out of here on Wednesday, I figured you would be in bed sick for at least a week. I heard it took the janitorial crew two hours to clean out that bathroom stall. How are you feeling?” Chad said, looking concerned. “Me, I’m super duper! Never been better!” John said, with a huge grin on his face. “Say, pal,” he said, leaning close to Chad, “you look like a man that enjoys a good taco.”
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