Secret Sauce

Just a little flash fiction I had the idea to write because I was bored and wanted to be creative while waiting to clock out from work. Gotta do what you gotta do to keep the mind going! Hope you enjoy and sorry if anything seems wrong here – this was my first time trying to write something like this! I’m not good with “modern,” non-fantasy writing, but it was something I wanted to try.

“Why do you eat that crap, Tony?” My assistant’s sudden question caused me to curse, and I nearly dropped carefully wrapped burrito in my hand.

“Damnit, Jane – knock would ya?” Grabbing the pile of napkins I had tossed on my desk earlier, I hastily wiped at my pants where a tiny bit of hot sauce had fallen. “I should take these outta your salary!”

“I wouldn’t have much left if you did. Sorry, boss.” The young burrnete at least had the courtesy to look ashamed for a moment – just one, mind you – before she pressed me again. “So, why do you?”

“Why do I what, Jane?” Sighing at the stained pants, I tossed the napkins into the small trash bin beside my desk. Placing the burrito down to avoid any further accidents, I turned gave her my full attention.

“Eat that crap? Every day I see you eating something from some food truck or another. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you eat anything else if we’re not at a meeting.” Her question made me pause and I glanced down at the burrito in thought.

Eyeing the red sauce that slowly oozed from the steak and cheese burrito – I really should put some greens in there the doctor off my back – my mind took me back. Back to a time before Wall Street, high rise apartments and late night meetings. Before nosey assistants interrupted my, small, lunch to ask assinine questions on one of my most hectic days of the year.

Back to a time when it was just a father, struggling to get by with his food truck, and his young and curious son. Living in a small apartment, a shoebox that was no bigger than his living room is now, and a single bed that they both shared. The smell of peppers, garlis, onions, and chilis forever burnt into the small living space, and a sauce pan that had seen better days.

“What do you think, Antonio?” The young father asked, watching with worry as his son tried their latest mix.

“This is the best yet, Papa! Everyone’s gonna wanna eat it!” Licking the spoon clean, the boy tried to steal another taste.

“Not if you eat it all first! Come on – help me load the truck!”

“What can I say? It’s the sauce. Don’t you have work to do?” Shaking my head and snatching my burrito off the desk, biting into it, I turned to look out the window – pointedly ignoring the burnette. I heard her huff, muttering about “grumpy old men” and winced as she not-so-gently shut the door behind her.

Lowering my gaze to look inside of the meat and cheese filled flour-tortilla, I chewed thoughtfully. Taking another bite as soon as I’d swallowed my first, I could only sigh in disappointment. It just wasn’t the same.

“Damn secret sauce…” I muttered, and I heard the laughter of another man in my ears. I didn’t have to look to know no one was there.

Finishing my burrito and tossing the small paper bag aside, I glared at the picture on my desk. The father, now an old man, and his son, graduated from college based on the uniform. They were both smiling, laughing. Taunting me beyond the grave, huh? “I’ll figure it out one day, mark my words!”

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