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July 12, 2005

Filed under: fiction»micro

The Late Mr. Xiang's Lunch Break

His office staff watching from the 12th floor, Mr. Xiang sets out to prove, once again, that his iron stomach can digest anything. On previous occasions, he has eaten canned grubs, exotic cheeses, goat, yoghurt past the sell-by date, ocean oysters, prairie oysters, skunk, cow tongue, cow brain, bull pizzle, possum, Chicken McNuggets, steak tartare, hamster tartare, escargot, hamster flambe, baked Alaska, rooster feet, ox whisker, shark fin, and (on one notorious occasion) 50 hard boiled eggs, among others. This week, he promised his office staff that if sales exceeded the previous month's record, he would surprise them yet again. The staff, who have become grizzled veterans, agreed on the single condition that they be allowed to pick the challenge. Then, with gusto, they set out to finally make Mr. Xiang sick.

So now Mr. Xiang, the moment of truth upon him, steps up to one of the district's finest sidewalk vendors, right outside and across the street from the office window where his staff gapes impatiently, and orders a foot-long hot dog with extra relish. The vendor, a well-known character by the name of Smelly Melvin, takes payment in grimy, grease-covered hands and smiles widely with both of his teeth as he gives Mr. Xiang a steaming frank on a cold, stale bun.

The day is won! Perhaps they thought this would stop Mr. Xiang, but his appetite is invincible. He tosses the now-empty wrapper into the trash can and considers ordering another hot dog. No, he thinks as a strolls nonchalantly onto the crosswalk. Even he can only take so much. Looking up, he catches sight of the staff members still waiting at the window, screaming and yelling behind the soundproof glass. They are waving to him wildly and pointing, which Mr. Xiang thinks is overkill even for such a magnificent feat as Mr. Xiang's lunch break. Ridiculous, he thinks as he crosses the center lane, cars honking madly all around him. They act as though a mere hot dog could kill him!

No. That would be the bus.

Future - Present - Past