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The Cuban-American Frankfurter Wars

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Exclusiv3
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#1

Posted 09 February 2009 - 02:41 AM

In the heart of New York City, Diego lined up his mustard bottle with his ketchup bottle, with his relish dispenser. Glass sodas shimmered on the side of his hot dog cart, taking in the early July afternoon. What a life! It was 1954 and the streets were filled with no nonsense businessmen and their briefcases (their wives eagerly awaiting their arrival back home, no doubt). From under that festive yellow and red umbrella, Diego was king of his domain. The son of Cuba finally found a niche for himself in this brand new world.

"Let me get one with mustard, onions and relish," remarked a passerby, fixing his tie as he ordered. "I'd also like that with a simple cola, if it isn't too much trouble..."
"Of course, boss! You got it," appeased Diego, lifting containers and administering condiments. "What a lovely day, isn't it boss?"

Diego tickled the frankfurter with every dressing the passerby had desired. After placing the hot dog on a paper plate, and wrapping the cold cola in a napkin, he relinquished the treat to his customer.

"My, it is a nice day, isn't it?" replied the passerby after paying Diego his dollar and five cents.

All afternoon long, passerbys frequented the hot dog cart. Diego would fulfill their order with enthusiasm and reap the rewards of a job well done. However, every once in a while, a reward even greater than the standard $1.05 would make its way to him.

Alas, there she was.

A tall drink of water made her way down the avenue. Her white sunhat sprung, up and down, on top of those curly, golden locks of hers. The rhythm of her heels sent her long, white dress swaying... tickling the top of her calves. Wait! Was she heading toward the hot dog cart? No. She couldn't have been. Diego polished his glass colas and before he knew it, the tall drink of water cut to the front of the line.

"Um..." she muttered, one finger on her lips. "Do you have anything that isn't fattening? I must maintain my figure, you know? Maybe, a pretzel?"

Diego smiled and removed his pointed paper hat. Twiddling his chubby fingers, he reached into his silver container ...and plucked out a pretzel.

"Unsalted," proclaimed Diego, wrapping the pretzel in a napkin and placing it in the tall drink of water's hands. "For the lady."
"Oh!" she shouted, clapping gleefully before accepting the snack. "How much?"
"The fee is usually $1.75," lied Diego. "But for you, $1.05."
"That is so thoughtful!" she squealed. "Well, all I have is $2 and a pocket full of pennies... why don't I just give you 2$ for your wonderful serv--"
"NO!" screamed Diego, nearly crumpling his paper hat in his hands. "ONE DOLLAR AND FIVE CENT! THE FEE IS ONE DOLLAR AND FIVE CENT! ONE DOL... ONE DOL... FIVE--"

She paid the whole $1.05. After that, that tall drink of water quickly shifted down the other side of the avenue; the attention of every man in the area shifting along with her. It was also at this moment that Franklin arrived.

Franklin was a popular American-bred hot dog vendor. Once he showed up, every potential customer of Diego's lined up behind Franklin's cart instead. It wasn't personal, they were Franklin's neighbors... he made them feel more at home. This was happening everyday, unfortunately for Diego, so the son of Cuba decided to do something about it.

"You, there! Sir! Why not tell me you order so I could craft it for you?" asked Diego.
"Uh, that's all right! I'll wait here."
"Golly! That's an awfully long line," smiled Diego, his unseen hands trembling with exertion. "You can come over here, get what you need and head back to work before all of those other guys. Come on."

That offer was too enticing. The tall man, donned in his business suit, reluctantly walked over to Diego's hot dog cart... looking back to make sure no one had seen him.

"Now," continued Diego. "Tell me what you want."
"I want a Philly cheesesteak... but they don't sell those around here--"

Diego reached into his silver container ...and plucked a steamy "Philly cheesesteak" sandwich.

"I didn't know you sold those." remarked the tall man.

After wrapping the sandwich in a napkin, Diego asked for his standard $1.05. After receiving his payment, he relinquished the "Philly cheesesteak". At that point, Diego did not concern himself with niceties; there was no more talk of the weather and no more smiling. Only business.

Diego lured a slim man from Franklin's line onto his own.

"Tell me," demanded Diego. "What do you desire?"
"What do I desire?" asked the slim man. "Not to sound rude, but are you running on all cylinders? I desire a lot of things... like a cherry red convertible--"

Diego reached into his silver container ...and strenuously pulled out a cherry red convertible. After placing it onto the street, the slim man donned a look of grim disbelief.

"One dollar," said Diego. "And five cent."

Shaking, the slim man paid Diego his change and proceeded to inspect his new vehicle. After rubbing it (and kissing it), the slim man praised not only the car, but Diego as well. "He's a genie or something!", the slim man would shout. After that, everyone went over to Diego's cart.

The customers demanded the strangest things. Pin-up models, superpowers, even money and they got it all as long as they paid the required $1.05. Franklin, distraught with what he'd been seeing, rushed for Diego's cart and commandeered it. Franklin reached into the silver container ...and pulled out a gun. Before he could use it, however, it vanished.

Diego reached into this wallet and paid his rival, Franklin, $1.05. Then, the gun reappeared. Franklin tried to shoot Diego, thinking him to be an alien, but was once again interrupted. The mob of customers, eager to get their hearts' desires, took over the hot dog cart and paid each other $1.05 each. Franklin was mauled over by the mob and by the time he recovered, Diego was gone.

"--Get the hell out of my way!"
"--Hey, punk! Where's my $1.05??"
"--What are you looking at?? It's my turn! It's my turn!"

The once mild-mannered men became greedy and violent. They used a miracle machine that changed $1.05 into whatever they desired for nonsense. It was clear. Diego, perhaps the only person worthy of the hot dog cart, was no longer the king of his domain.



Lochie_old
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#2

Posted 09 February 2009 - 06:41 AM

The way you've written it, technically, is very impressive. But I just feel that whole storyline seems a tad childish. A hotdog seller granting every wish that a New Yorker can desire? Seems a tad novel in my opinion.

I'd also like to question how this really deals with the theme of 'transformation', because it seems very shallow that a magical machine made people greedy.

Exclusiv3
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#3

Posted 09 February 2009 - 01:11 PM Edited by Exclusiv3, 09 February 2009 - 01:36 PM.

Thank you for the feedback Lochie. I very much appreciate you taking your time to review what I've written and I WILL return the favor.

I thought I'd try something different in my first outing with a short story (I usually like to write novellas, novels, etc...). It may seem childish at first glance but, like most children's stories, there are underlying themes involved.

There are at least three instances of "transformation" involved with this piece. The most obvious being...

"They used a miracle machine that changed $1.05 into whatever they desired for nonsense."

Also, try not to focus on how everyone changed that way but why. There's a lot going on in the end that may seem "childish" but don't let that fool you.

I'd like to end by saying, please, use spoiler tags when you discuss the plot of the story. That way, it won't ruin what other readers read. Thank you.

Lochie_old
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#4

Posted 10 February 2009 - 05:44 AM

The way I intrepreted it was that the 'magical hot dog stand' turned people greedy because they could forfil their fantasies. You haven't really elaborated on how I questioned this was 'childish' but really just repeated what I said.

But don't worry about it. And another thing about the spoiler tags, if people wanted the story ruined they would scroll down and read other peoples posts.

I'd be interested in reading more of your work if you've posted them anywhere else.

Exclusiv3
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#5

Posted 10 February 2009 - 02:03 PM

I suppose that's a good point about the spoilers. Alright, allow me to break down where I was going in this piece (particularly the ending).

You're not wrong. The way you've interpreted the hot dog cart is certainly correct. You can look at it literally, as a miracle machine that can grant people's wishes. However, there's also an underlying metaphor for American consumerism involved.

During the 1950's consumerism was almost unrivaled until the 1980's. These were times when prosperity was common, so sales in sports cars, porn magazines and comic books (all in particular) saw significant surges. This is all well and good, but the problem with consumerism is its' arguable association with addiction. It's not any trouble if you buy a shirt, but if the thought of not getting the shirt causes you to drastically change your behavior... then it becomes an issue.

I don't know if you heard about the death of a Wal-Mart employee during Black Friday just last year, 2008. He was trampled to death by apathetic, overeager customers and really... that's the ugly, violent side of consumerism. The "hot dog cart" for those people was the Wal-Mart store. I took that as an inspiration when I wrote the ending. Hopefully, this answered your question. If not, let me know.

Currently, this is my only story on the site. I plan on writing a lot more, though. My stories are generally weird.


Eminence
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#6

Posted 10 February 2009 - 05:03 PM

QUOTE (Exclusiv3 @ Feb 10 2009, 14:03)
You can look at it literally, as a miracle machine that can grant people's wishes. However, there's also an underlying metaphor for American consumerism involved.

I think this is part of the piece's downfall. There is 100% no underlying theme of American consumerism - for it is shoved straight to the forefront. It's not graced with any real element of subtlety; you make your point in too obvious a fashion; it doesn't really require thinking about. Now, obviously, you need to give the reader hints and clues about what the themes of the piece are, but in this case I didn't feel I had to read between the lines, as it was almost narrated for me in a perfectly clear tone.

I think the idea of the piece as a short allegory is very interesting; the whole approach to the competition's theme is refreshing to say the least, and very engaging to read. I just think that, with a touch more subtlety, the end product would've been a little more complex and interesting.

Oh, and regarding the grammar of the piece itself, I felt there were too many ellipses. Took away from the effect of each one as they were used so often throughout! tounge.gif

Exclusiv3
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#7

Posted 11 February 2009 - 12:06 AM

Allegory; that was the word. I couldn't recall the word so I just said "underlying theme". Yeah, I didn't notice that with the ellipses. I just love them so much. Thanks for the review, very much appreciated.

If there's a story you'd like me to review, just let me know. I owe you one.

Lochie_old
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#8

Posted 11 February 2009 - 05:36 AM

This site isn't C4C, we help each other out because we feel like it, not because we expect something in return. So take a seat and relax, hope to see some more stories from you in the future.

Exclusiv3
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#9

Posted 11 February 2009 - 01:12 PM

I'm not returning the favor because I have to, I know. I like to follow Kant's "universal maxim" whenever I make decisions. It's never steered me wrong before. Besides, this is something I want to do.

sam33
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#10

Posted 13 February 2009 - 08:37 PM

I really liked this to be honest. Nice story which I don't think was childish at all smile.gif.

Ronmar The Only
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#11

Posted 13 February 2009 - 10:38 PM

Ha, I'm surprised by the mention of Kant on the forums.

Exclusiv3
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#12

Posted 16 February 2009 - 02:51 PM

Thanks a lot for the comment, sam33. I really do appeciate it.

I don't usually agree with Kant like that, but he was dead on with that maxim of his.

mark-2007
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#13

Posted 01 March 2009 - 04:58 PM

Nice one. Although it was not my choice, this is a good story. Congratulations. It's especially impressive since this is your first story posted on these forums, I think. Might be wrong with that one though.

Exclusiv3
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#14

Posted 01 March 2009 - 07:58 PM

QUOTE (mark-2007 @ Mar 1 2009, 16:58)
Nice one. Although it was not my choice, this is a good story. Congratulations. It's especially impressive since this is your first story posted on these forums, I think. Might be wrong with that one though.

Thank you for the compliment.

Yes, it's my first story on here. I'm very proud to go up against such strong competitors. Since you didn't vote for me, I have to make it my mission to get your vote for every SSOTM that I compete in.




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