Y’know, it’s surprising what you end up missing the most.
Take me, for example. When I was first infected, I steeled myself for endless nights of angst. Never seeing another sunrise, never seeing my old friends and my family again, becoming a monster who had to kill to sustain my own existence, possibly being damned to an eternity in hell...I got over it. None of the old clichés really gave me that much trouble, to tell the truth. No, what got me was the hot sauce.
I’ve had a bottle of hot sauce in my fridge since forever. Hot sauce goes with everything. Everything. And that’s exactly what I ate it with. You ever had cold Chinese from last night – no, Chinese takeout from a fast food place – look, no one thinks that’s funny, so give it a rest, will you? Have any of you ever had cold Chinese food from last night with pickles and hot sauce for breakfast? Let me tell you, it is a feast fit for...well, okay, for a twentysomething male college student. But anyway. If it was possible to survive on nothing but hot sauce, that’s what I would have done.
And then I was infected.
And I discovered that there is, in fact, something that hot sauce does not go great with. And that would be a stomach that’s adapted to handle human blood and...that’s it.
Yeah. It’s fucking boring. Ignore all that romantigothic bullshit about ‘the sweetest bitter nectar ever to cross his lips’ blah blah blah. Blood tastes like blood. That’s kind of the point.
Sure, the first few nights I didn’t notice. It’s kind of a kick for the first little while, as I’m sure all of you know. But then one night I went to the fridge without thinking. And there was that one lonely bottle of hot sauce staring accusingly back at me.
That was the first time my condition actually made me cry. That’s right, I curled up in a ball in the corner and bawled and angsted until the sun came up and knocked me out. Not over my soul, or the family I could never see again, or the people lying dead in dumpsters because of me. No. Not me. I cried over hot sauce.
Oh, now you’re all laughing. Like you haven’t done it too. Every last one of you had a favourite food, I can almost guarantee it. And then one night, when you’d successfully got the big questions out of the way, when you were feeling pretty good about yourself, you realised, “Oh. My. God. I will never eat crackers and cheese again.”
No? Okay, maybe it was realising you can’t go on day-long shopping sprees anymore. Or how in summer, you can’t go shopping at all, because your favourite stores close before the sun sets. Or maybe...I dunno, you can’t go to waterparks anymore. Look, all I was trying to say is that those old clichés aren’t the big deal here. We all thought about them, all the time, even back when we were human. Especially you – you were a vegetarian, right? When it comes to stuff like, like, metaphysical or moral issues, they’re just too big. It’s easy to pick a side, or decide to stay undecided, and then forget about them. No, it’s the little things that get under your skin.
Like hot sauce.
I’m rambling? Oh, I’m so sorry. Take the floor. Angst about how you tried to survive on rats but nearly died again, we all love to listen to that story.
I’m never coming to one of these meetings again.