And here I am again, responding to a Chuck Wendig challenge. This time it was to set my iPod to shuffle and use the first song to come up as the title of a 500-word story. The song that came up for me was Kielbasa by Tenacious D.
Damn my juvenile tastes in music!
Kaufmann grunted and doubled over.
It was the kielbasa, had to be. The fucking kielbasa! He knew better than to eat something from that goddamn wop street vender… but he was in a hurry, and it was convenient. Walked right past the greasy-haired bastard and his steaming vat of sausages every day. Plus, he, Kaufmann, was from solid, tow-headed German stock—Kielbasa was practically his native dish! But now here he was, sweating and crapping his brains out in the executive bathroom. He knew exactly what was waiting for him in the conference room: two partners, his account assistant, Marsha, and four impatient businessmen. Four businessmen who were waiting to hear his presentation to decide if they would grace the firm with their business. Four businessmen who, with the stroke of a pen, would indirectly earn him a cash bonus of $1.2 million dollars. Four businessmen who weren’t going to tolerate Marsha’s excuses and offers of fresh cups of coffee for much longer. Kaufmann wiped his ass for the third time, stood and pulled up his slacks. He made it all the way to the sink before rushing pell-mell back to the stall, barely getting his pants down before another torrent of fury hit the bowl at Mach one.
Magarelli whistled as he cleaned.
He took great pains to make sure his equipment was spotless before he closed down for the night. It might be okay for other venders to sell their hot dogs or pizza or tacos out of disrespectable grease-splattered carts, but he took more pride in his work than that. He father had taught him that if you were going to do a thing, then you should do that thing well. Magarelli had no illusions that he was a great chef, but he served good food at a fair price. And he always had a broad smile for his customers, for Magarelli truly appreciated those who choose his cart other the small herd of other food carts in the plaza. But as much as he enjoyed serving his customers, and he enjoyed observing them more. Something else his father had said: to understand the true nature of a man watch how he treats his subordinates. And Magarelli saw plenty of bad behavior… barked orders to harried underlings, secretaries sent out to fetch lunch in rainstorms, berating obscenities screamed into cellphones. For the worst of these men, Magarelli had a surprise gift. Under the gleaming stainless steel surface of his cart, beneath the basin that held the warming water, Magarelli had a secret cubbyhole. Here he would tuck away a sausage or kielbasa that had gone off. When Magarelli was presented with the opportunity to teach the worst of these men a lesson—like the horrible blond man this afternoon—he took it. Through crafty slight of hand he retrieved the rancid meat, placed it lovingly in a fresh bun, and flashed a wider-than-usual smile.
It was no grand life that he lived, but it was good enough.