Saturday, April 10, 2010

chased by a cheesesteak

like many vegetarians, i suffer from a horrifying dream where i am being chased through the streets of a city. it's dawn, and though the sky is overcast, or maybe because it is, there's a pink-orange mist over everything as if someone dumped a smoothie on the sky. usually, i'll be running, but in a suit, complete with shiny dress shoes that pinch my feet a little. i keep looking over my shoulder, and i can barely breathe from the pink-orange exhaust fumes, but for the first few minutes of the dream, all i know is that i'm afraid. slowly, it dawns on me that i am losing the race, and at first i think a giant pretzel is pursuing me. when it catches up, maybe i'm going to be dipped in a reservoir of hot mustard, and maybe left there until i've gone soft.
what gets me every time though is this corner. i'm running and looking back and wishing i could adjust the buckles on my shoes by a notch or two, and suddenly, i'll just sense that i have to turn a corner. so i slow down just enough to prevent physics from throwing me to the ground, and then i'll get this amazing second wind and just kick harder and move my legs faster until all i can think about is the blur of my limbs and the sweat building on my neck and forehead.
suddenly, though, i'll look back again, and realize there's something like a giant four-legged cheesesteak pursuing me. i don't mean a cow or a bull or animal of any kind. just an actual, living, humongous cheesesteak, losing a few grilled onions every minute, which seems only likely to speed its progress. i'll catch myself wondering if this is some sort of punishment for not eating meat. sometimes, i think to myself that if the cheesesteak catches me, the worst thing it could do is force feed itself to me. would it pull a smaller cheesesteak out of its pocket and made me take a bite? would it tie me to a chair and force me to eat cheesesteaks until i pass out? these thoughts linger, and they seem to be slowing me down, as if i've eaten too much mayonnaise. i start considering my options. can i yell at people to eat the cheesesteak? is that an appropriate action for a vegetarian, even in self-defense? perhaps my best option would be to simply give up and try to hold a conversation with my pursuer. it could be that human-cheesesteak relations are at a real bad stretch, and an impratial ambassador is needed--someone whose dinner isn't part of the debate. i could make life better, both for humans and for cheesesteaks. perhaps they'll leave us alone if only we learn how to cook and enjoy them properly. perhaps they just want to give us a new recipe. otherwise, what reason could they have for chasing me or anyone else? cheesesteaks might soon be our best friends. maybe then the real tragedy is that the giant pretzel seems to have vanished.

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