By Duke Harten
You were manning the hot dog vendor’s cart while he went off to score because he said he’d give you ten dollars or five hot dogs, dealer’s choice. You looked bored, spinning tongs like a gun, listening to something—probably Serial, Season 2—and I said what are you listening to and you removed an earbud and said what?
This was maybe two or three days ago. I’m actually a vegetarian and even if I wasn’t, fat chance I’d go to a hot dog cart—everything you need to know about hot dogs you can learn from the hot dog episode of How It’s Made. Watch that and tell me what you think about a hot dog.
I went up to the cart and I was wearing a yellow cardigan and you looked at it and squinted like it was too bright to look at directly. A wave of intense sartorial self-consciousness descended on me a lot like a literal wave would.
“One hot dog,” I said. I hoped you weren’t wearing Converse sneakers but I couldn’t see your feet behind the hot dog cart.
“No, before that,” you said, “What did you say.”
“Nothing,” I said, and I pulled out my phone and scrolled through Twitter while you fished a wet hot dog out of the bath and put it in a bun and wrapped it in foil. The funniest tweet I saw while you were doing this was: Is supposingly a word? I’m asking for a friend.
You got confused about what to charge me. “What’s the fair market value of a hot dog?” you said and I just about died there, I just about lost it. He could be wearing Converse, I thought, and I would still probably sleep with him.
We decided two dollars was a fair price and I gave you a two-dollar bill. Spoiler alert: that was the lucky two-dollar bill I’ve carried since ninth grade when Sissy Teller gave it to me as a thank you for saying no to Brian Danforth when he asked me to homecoming because Sissy really wanted to go with him and everyone knew Brian would ask Sissy if I said no. (I never told Sissy the truth that I was just too nervous to say yes to Brian, because that event propelled me and Sissy to become best friends for all of high school and I still get drinks with her when I go home for Thanksgiving.)
You looked at the two-dollar bill and held it up with the same acknowledging gesture someone would do with a mug of coffee if the coffee is especially good. I said thanks and you said you’re welcome and you put your earbud back in and I left to find a trashcan to throw away the hot dog.
If you think this is you, email me with “two dollar bill” in the subject line.