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Meals From the Crypt

By Nick Brown

NOVEMBER 3, 1997:  Fall is here, and with it come the scary voices. Voices perhaps borne upon the season or, perhaps, born of the herbal concoctions proffered by one's squirrelly employer. No matter, they're here. What better way to soothe a raging psychosis than to waste all your money on food that is actually bad for your body? Drinking. Following people. Knife stores. ... Ah, there's plenty of time for those things. For now, let us wander through my gallery of curiosities.

Long John Silver's Grab and Go Sandwiches: The Evil Pirate's new line of budget sandwiches is misleadingly named after the Purse Snatcher's Credo. You are indeed required to pay for them, though not to finish them. Thus, they should be called Wait, Pay, Wait, Grab and Go Away Mad Sandwiches. They are about the size and shape of a hot dog replete with mysterious ghost sauce, lettuce and crumbly crumbs on the top of the bun. Altogether, not a bad idea and not terribly repulsive as fast food goes, but be prepared to grab your gut and go to the bathroom.

Long John's popcorn shrimp, chicken and fish are also quite good for the price. Try swallowing them whole like vitamins.

McDonald's McRib Sandwich: Maybe it's just me, but I get the impression that even McDonald's is not very excited by the return of this infamous faux rib sandwich. They have plenty of "McRib is Back!" signs, but the subtext plays more like a public service announcement than a sales pitch. This greasy, pressed-meat monstrosity is just plain weird. You can forget trying to see the fake bones pressed on the meat's surface; it's just too messy. Notice how its oblong bun is covered with crumbly crumbs, while the slimy meat slides onto your white dress shirt. Notice how they put pickles on it. As if I needed to try one again. I should shoot myself.

Taco Bell's Fire Sauce: Taco Bell adds a new imaginary gradient to their ever expanding range of imperceptible levels of pretend hotness. This time, Fire Sauce boasts visible jalapeño bits, but is still not very hot. In a side by side taste test between the four sauces (None, Mild, Hot and Fire), I could barely detect any difference at all. Whatever. I'm not complaining. Just remember that you've got to ask them for sauce and that they're doing you a huge fucking favor by giving you some.

The Wicked Fast Food Industry: I found a handbill on my windshield arguing that the fast food industry is corrupting our children, wrecking the environment, and being mean to animals. If this fight sounds like yours, call (888) FARM-USA. Otherwise, dial (800) THE-LADY.

Carne Adovada Hash Browns: I don't know how long it's been an official menu item, but Frontier Restaurant and affiliated Golden Pride locations are cooking up big plates of hash browns, slopped with excellent carne adovada and covered with melted cheddar cheese. It makes a grand meal and is required eating for Marina Mostar if she wants to join my team.

Halloween Candy: I know everyone is really interested in my life, and this is the season to score big bargains on some of the best candy from my childhood. November 1st heralds unheard-of specials on Smarties and Sixlets, the trailer park variations on Sweet Tarts and M&M's, respectively. Only the wretched will ignore this smile from the beyond.

If you're the thriftier sort, be aware that most households and retail stores will give you candy on Halloween night no matter how old you are and even if you're not wearing a costume. Technically, you're required to say "trick or treat" in order to get the goods, but as a practical matter any demand should suffice. Just don't try it at my house, as I will be passing out copies of Crosswinds this year. Now that's scary.

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