Zoinks! by Dale Culp

A WebFiction Published Thrice Weekly

The enthralling, true tale of a trans girl just trying to get by and make the most of her life.

Also, she hunts ghosts and occasionally solves mysteries.

New to Zoinks!? Start at the beginning.

Chapter 1 - Act 3 - What About Them Pickles?

"I really can't take anymore of this, Valeria. I can't!" I tell my best friend over lunch.

"Girl, I know. You just gotta hold in there! Ok? It can't be bad forever!"

I notice that Valeria has ordered the full meal, and is happily chomping away at it. Her burger looks so good; so delicious. Lightly seared beef patty, mayonnaise and cheese with lettuce and tomato slices on a sesame seed bun. She lifts the top bun to remove the pickles, scrunching her face as she tosses them on her plate next to an order of hot, crispy, tender, golden fries.

"I hate when they get my order wrong! I specifically said, 'NO PICKLES!'" she says, and then takes a bite. She then mumbles, "*Mmph* At least they didn't ... *chew chew* put ketchup on it! *swallow* *mmph* I can actually eat it now!" Bits and pieces of food come out as she speaks, and there's mayonnaise all around the corners of her mouth.

My mind is swimming as I stare at her side salad. She hasn't even touched it, and despite the fact that 90% of it is lettuce and barely has any caloric value, I can't help but note that it would help make my very empty stomach feel full. Lemon juice, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce and olive oil coating leaves of romaine lettuce, slices of coddled egg yolk and croƻtons, and topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, crushed garlic and black pepper. It's all I can do to resist asking her, "Are you going to eat that salad?"

Oh, shit... I said that out loud!

"Naw, I hate salad," she says, and then slides it across the table at me.

"This is my life, now," I think to myself. "Subsisting on the cast away food of others." And then I look up, to make sure I really did think that instead of saying it out loud. Valeria just stares back, taking another mouth full of burger. "Good. That was internal."

I polish off the salad and scrape the bits left on the plate into my mouth. We ask for our check and get ready to leave the restaurant. It's almost time to get back to work.