The Astronaut Collective is a monthly occasion when a theme is presented and anyone who wants to contribute has an hour in which to come up with a piece of work reflecting their spontaneous output of said theme. This is the piece I wrote for the latest A.C. expedition, with the theme of impulse (also found here):
On a whim, Loopy turned off onto a sidestreet he had never ventured down before called Juniper on his walk home from work. It led him to a little Mexican food joint, where they served burritos from a sliding glass window in a faded blue building the size of a trailer home. It was called Super Burrito. It was meant to be. Loopy could smell the refried beans before he could hear the steady fuzzy polka beat of ranchero blaring over the Super Burrito radio.
He ordered the standard Super Burrito, sour cream, cheese, rice, beans, carne asada, lettuce, tomato, salsa. He dabbled hot sauce into the gaping mouth of his gargantuan burrito between every bite, and had the thing demolished within 20 chomps. It was pretty good. The last 1/3 of the burrito consisted largely of grease, but he just couldn’t stop wolfing it down even though he was stuffed. He belched softly into his mouth and then looked around as if newly awakened, noticing a pretty Mexican girl sitting at one of the tables across the fake green turf talking on her cell-phone. He caught her eyes, and knew prospects were good when she looked away and fiddled with her hair and then looked straight back at him while chatting swiftly away in Spanish. Loopy pulled a paper napkin from its tabletop container and carefully wiped the remainder of beef and Cholula from the corners of his mouth. He sauntered up to her and waited for her to put down her cell-phone. She talked for a minute or two longer, watching him, never taking her eyes off of him until she said “Adios” to her friend and flipped it shut.
“Hi,” he said, suddenly laughing at the silliness of the whole thing, unable to find anywhere to begin. Luckily, this loss of poise and purpose broke the ice, and she laughed too. Everything was understood, without speaking. They were young, full of life, and both had eaten phatty burritos within minutes of one another. Suddenly conversation was easy. Loopy sat down at the table and they talked for what seemed like minutes but turned into a half an hour, and the Super Burrito was closing. The Cholulas were collected from tabletops, napkin containers rounded up, the window slid shut. And then Loopy was suddenly unsure, as always, of when and how it should end. Should she be invited out now, or was that too soon? Should he simply settle for an e-mail, or a number, and stroll on back down the way he had come by such happenstance? He sat in silence uncomfortably for a minute, and she relished this, allowing him to wallow just a little bit longer, seeing how true he was, how unguarded his inner workings. He would be more than just a night of drinks. She took his hand and wrote down her number on it and kissed him on the cheek.
He walked back down Juniper stepping sideways every now and then to ease out a Super Burrito fart, excited about his place in the universe, amazed at how some kind of force of god had led him so impulsively to love, to his destiny contained so mundanely in a Mexican burrito stand. And now he must wait, deliciously, until the right moment will come again to proceed to the next unknown pathway to the heart.