The day was October 5th, 2007. It was a Friday, unseasonably warm and sunny for these parts. I was walking through the parking lot at work when, quite by happenstance, I looked down into the car I was passing, a brown early model AMC Eagle. There, on the passenger seat, was a hot dog slathered in relish, mustard and ketchup. It was resting on a cardboard hot dog boat, the kind you’d find at your local convenience store, which is where I surmised this hot dog had been acquired.
For some reason I slowed down slightly, because I had to take in the chaos of garbage strewn about the car. That was a mistake, because due to the heat and sun, I not only saw the hot dog, I smelled it too. Actually, I smelled the relish and mustard, two things I abhor even in the best conditions. As the scent wafted to my nostrils I nearly vomited right into the half-down passenger window. Repulsed, I quickly continued on my walk through the parking lot.
Sure, I’ve bought food before that I intended to eat for lunch and didn’t get around to. I’d like to think I never left it on my passenger seat in the sun for more than, say, a couple hours, but sometimes things happen. I never gave it another thought.
Until October 12th, the next Friday. As I was walking through the lot, thinking absent-mindedly about whatever, I saw the hot dog. I didn’t even realize I was walking past the Eagle, but there it was, the same hot dog, same hot dog boat, same relish, mustard and ketchup. It was still sitting on the passenger seat, but it had been pushed aside a bit by other garbage, or what I assume was garbage. Still, there it was, not less than three feet away from the driver’s nose. I literally cried out when I saw it.
I doubled my pace and once in my office I frantically told all my coworkers about the hot dog. I think they weren’t sure what to think about the fact that I had noticed such a thing, like maybe I was even making it up. They weren’t nearly as impressed as I was, but of course they hadn’t seen it, hadn’t smelled it, hadn’t lived it like the hot dog was Punxatawney Phil and I was Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.
On Friday, October 19th, they changed their tune.
“No!”, they cried out.
“Yes!”, I insisted. It was still there, still on the precipice of the passenger seat.
The Eagle became my mission. I became resolved then to seek out the Eagle, to see how long this beefy abomination could be tolerated. Answer: At least till today, October 22nd. But now, The Hot Dog has transformed. Somehow, what was once a collection of pink frankfurter, tan bun, green relish, golden mustard and crimson catsup was now more or less all one color, something between brown and gray. If Loreena Bobbit had been married to a Borg…
Here’s the thing: Tomorrow, I will find the Eagle yet again. I will take a photo of it with my phone. The quality won’t be all that great, but considering our other digital camera is on the fritz, it’s the best I can do. And then I will show the world. And then we will keep a vigil, perhaps even a betting pool. When will The Hot Dog leave? Considering all the other garbage in the car, Vegas might take this one off the board.