Horseradish by Brian Beatty
Hurley suspected the horseradish on his hot dogs had gone bad before he had the foil totally open. Something smelled fermented. In a weird way.
There were typically lines at flea market food stalls, so Hurley always brought his own, wrapped tight in aluminum foil he used at least twice before it went into his recycling. Leftover hot dogs with horseradish were a favorite.
Hurley didn’t entirely trust his old nose, so he asked a younger passerby for an opinion.
“Do these smell funky to you?” Hurley said, waving his partially unwrapped hot dogs under the surprised teenage boy’s nose. “Not James Brown funky, but like I might suffer for it later?”
“James Brown?” the idiot kid replied blankly.
Hurley sighed, then gave his lunch an easy underhanded toss into a nearby trash bin.
Brian Beatty is the author of five poetry collections: Magpies and Crows; Borrowed Trouble; Dust and Stars: Miniatures; Brazil, Indiana: A Folk Poem; and Coyotes I Couldn’t See. Beatty’s writing has appeared in The American Journal of Poetry, Anti-Heroin Chic, Conduit, CutBank, Evergreen Review, Exquisite Corpse, Gigantic, Gulf Coast, Hobart, McSweeney’s,
The Missouri Review, Monkeybicycle, The Quarterly, Rattle, Seventeen and Sycamore Review. In 2021 he released Hobo Radio, a spoken word album with original music by Charlie Parr. Beatty lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
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