My mother would be tired, She’d offer us, three boys, one father, Wendy’s. But Taco Bell was just next door, and that was what she wanted. I always wanted chicken nuggets, like a scientific law (my first screen name, age 12, was ‘ChickenKing101’, my whole identity then a simple and embarrassing joke), but sometimes, when I saw my mother’s eyes go distant, I’d change my mind. I wanted Taco Bell. I mostly got three tacos, two soft, one hard, but it was never as filling, never as crisp as the fried potato and protein across the street. One day, as so often happened, we were blessed in the bag with an extra Crunchwrap Supreme. My mother had her food. My dad swore it all made him sick. So I said shit, alright, I wanted it. I always remember it as being cold on the inside, undermicrowaved, but what mattered was the Crunch, room temperature and sharp under my teeth, the sour cream and meat like a lunatic pastry running buckwild against the natural order. I ordered it again and again. I would come ride to pick it up, chewing ice out the cup the way my mother always did because of her iron, ready to contemplate the mystery and allure of the Supreme. In college, I sat in a friend’s car, stoned the way you only get when it’s all still new to you and looked up at the stars from the Georgia parking lot. I was hundreds of miles from home, putting myself in a life of debt to study art. My friend walked up with a grab bag of snacks, his eyes as red as salsa. I wasted no time. I was put on this earth to taste the Supreme, to know it like I know myself, a product of effort and care by tired labor. Nothing about me was original, hot, or in any way uncommon. But the stars still shine in Georgia like they do in Pennsylvania, the moon is a glimmering friend to study on the East Coast and the West. The world is always just beneath your feet, just like your mother might have showed you. The Supreme is always supposed to be within your reach.
John Chrostek is a writer living más out of South Philly. He reads for Uncharted Lit and loves his family.