“To Try or Not to Try the Chipotle Aioli?” by Luke Strom

May 25th, 2022 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

One whole summer of just Gatorade and mac and cheese. One whole summer to save the dough for a scouts’ seat ticket to the biggest ball game of the year. Well look at you now—right behind home plate with a perfect view.

But you’re not even watching the game. The thing in your hands—the beefy, tightly wrapped and only half-thawed burrito—is all that matters now. You’ve been staring at it since you tore the tinfoil off the top, and you haven’t blinked since. Now your fingers are turning blue, and the virgin bite still awaits your drool-crusted lips.

Delving into the light at the end of the burrito, you wonder, is this your peak? Is this when you finally discover who you really are? A cold sweat runs down your belly and brow and the fat thing trembles in your fingers. Jesus, there’s no way human-to-human foreplay could ever be this good. Yeah, this thing in front of you would beat any lousy lover, even with the indentation marks from the tongs that pulled it out of the microwave a thousand heartbeats ago. But you love the burrito just the way it is. It’s so… magnificent… you don’t even notice all its flaws.

But you do notice a flicker of orange behind your chubby treasure. Without breathing, you move the burrito to the side, and there on your knee is an unopened packet of chipotle pepper aioli. Aioli? You’ve heard of it before, but what the hell is it? And how did it get there on your knee? Was it planted by your wife with a tiny camera hidden inside to catch you cheating on her with this bulging behemoth? Or was it innocent, merely an eager friend to your new heart throb? Shit, you’re sweating—OK, breathe, just breathe.

Next your right-hand fingers wiggle off the burrito and hover over the aioli packet, sweating at the tips, swollen with indecision. Don’t do it—it’s foul, it’s unbecoming to use condiments, you hear your hag grandmother snap after swatting your hand with a wooden spoon. No—it’s alright. She’s dead now. No one’s watching.

So you reach for the packet, trembling like the one time you tried touching your wife down there, and you flinch with a little shock when you first touch it. Then you try to pinch it, but the packet slips from your sweat. Man, you’re better than this. You have a Roth IRA for God’s sake. So you squeeze your thighs together, muster your abusive father’s military might, and you pick that goddamn packet up.

Now your motor functions obey a single, primal desire in you and lift the packet to your lips. Your teeth tear the top off, but no aioli rolls onto your tongue—you still don’t know what it tastes like. It’s so wrong. But it must be so unbearably good, whatever’s in there. No, you can’t. You can’t… help it.

Your eyes twitch back to the burrito, and now even the artificially warmed part feels cold and limp. You gotta make a decision—now. But what if the aioli isn’t all you think it’ll be? What if it ruins the beans, the cheese, or the beef, and you can’t even look at a burrito again? What if you can’t even look at your wife again? All these torments cackle through your skull like flying gargoyles who all look like your grandmother, and you cower into your seat.

Do it. You’ve always been a decent boy, don’t ruin it now. Do it anyway. But you’re not a boy anymore, are you? Do it now. No, you’re not a little boy.

Your team’s bases are loaded at the bottom of the ninth, and everyone else is on their feet screaming as the last batter steps up to home plate. Ball-strike-strike-ball-ball. But in your mind is only, “Aioli—no aioli—aioli?” Then as the pitcher nods to the catcher one last time, you’ve made your decision.

No life would be full without a little risk, without the carnal knowledge you’re about to gain, or the ecstasy of rebellion. The pursuit of those three virtues pushed you through military school and all those years of sexual repression, all the way to this stroke-inducing inning when the fate of the world hangs with your creamy, orange glob of chipotle pepper aioli, and finally splatters all over the burrito to the sound of the bat cracking through the park.

You’re not a boy anymore.

The End (thank God)


Luke Strom is a writer based in Boulder, Colorado. Some of his work can be found on Defenestration, and occasionally his mom’s fridge door.

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