Sriracha / Or, How to Make Food Taste Awesome / Or, How to Roll a Spliff / Or, How to Write a Homework Fiction Piece / Or, My Work Ethic
Tom was sitting in a room with two couches. He had his computer in his lap and was typing diligently. His roommate Nick was on the other couch.
“Yo guy, what are you doing?” Nick asked Tom.
“I’m working. What?” Tom said.
“What are you working on?” Nick asked.
“It’s schoolwork man. I’ve got to write a story.”
“What kind of story?”
Tom looked up at his roommate on the other couch and saw Nick staring wide-eyed. Tom knew what Nick wanted because it was always the same thing. Tom sighed; he figured that for now it would be easiest to answer the question: “It’s a kind of a ‘How-To’ story. We have to write about something we know how to do really well and include it in a narrative, or just write it out like a recipe. I’m writing mine about how to make food taste awesome. And the moral is put sriracha on it, because sriracha makes everything awesome. I’m gonna tell the story about the time I put it all over the apple pie Rich made while it was in the oven and he loved it without realizing.” Tom smiled figuring he was going to get a rise out of Nick, and they could start a funny conversation about putting sriracha on weird foods, which would help him come up with some more ideas for his story. But Nick didn’t bite, Nick said:
“Word. When is it due?”
“Monday,” said Tom.
“Word, you’ve got lots of time to do that. You want to do that later and help a brother out?”
Tom’s face flattened. “Really? What do you want?”
“I’m trying to smoke, man, and I want you to roll something for me…us, if you want to join me.” Nick grinned
“Nah, I’m doing work right now. I gotta get this done. Roll something yourself.”
“You know that I’m no good at that man. I’ve got fat fingers.”
“Fuck your fat fingers, your fingers are fine. You just gotta learn the proper technique and then practice. It’s not hard,” said Tom
“It is hard,” Nick said, “I’ve tried before and it always comes out sucking. It’s fucking frustrating, and I just wanna smoke; I can never get the fold. You need piano player fingers for that shit.”
“You sound so stupid when you talk about your fingers like that. I heard you talking about that same piano shit yesterday with Jess. You suck at piano because you suck at piano and only got good at one song, the ‘Bowser Battle Theme Song’. It has nothing to do with your fingers.”
“Hey, I worked that whole song out by myself note by note, man! That was a feat! And I was kidding about all that shit with Jess. I stopped taking piano lessons because lessons are boring and ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Litte Star’ is a bad song.”
“Sure.” Tom replied.
“I can also play Van Halen’s ‘Jump’ and ‘Smoke on the Water’” said Nick
“Let’s smoke on the water.”
“Yeah?” asked Tom, “So you’re gonna be fucking relentless about this?”
“Yeah, kind of, so you should roll me something. Just do it quick. It’ll take you like three minutes. I do want to learn some day, but I can’t. So will you just do it for me now and stop working on your bullshit for like two minutes, please? I mean honestly, you’re a college senior and you’ve got a whole Sunday to do your ‘How-To’ thing! Come on, just do this for me.”
Tom growled and looked at his measly one paragraph of a Word document. He hadn’t written anything important. It was an aimless paragraph and had nothing to do with anything. It was about couches. Tom knew he wasn’t going to be able to get anything done with this tension and Nick’s insistent chiming hanging in the air. So Tom assented saying: “Alright I’ll do it, but come over here and watch me. I’m going to teach you right now, and then you can go out and buy your own papers and practice. Don’t use mine because you’re going to fuck up a lot and waste a bunch, and I’ll be pissed.”
“Sweet. Thanks buddy. You’re such a softy and that’s why you’re awesome.”
Nick got up and came over to the couch Tom was sitting on.
Tom’s couch was the uncomfortable one, good for schoolwork; the other was more comfortable, but still uncomfortable enough to keep one awake during slow movies. The uncomfortable one was fake denim, the other fake suede—the kind that if touched by anything warmer than a Chinese food take-out container, takes up the heat, runs with it, and burns up as much of its own material as possible.
“Bring me the supplies and put on a song—something without words so you can listen to what I’m saying,” Tom said, “And don’t go back over there and smoke this shit on that couch again. I don’t know how we’re going to patch that hole.”
“I wasn’t smoking on the couch man I told you. I was having sex on it.”
“You cut a hole in our couch and fucked it?”
“You were having sex with it?”
“No, I was having sex on it. I was pulling out and misfired, and my semen is like hydrochloric acid. It burned straight through,” Nick said.
“Wear a condom next time then, please,” Tom said.
“Can’t. My semen’s like hydrochloric acid.”
Tom chuckled. Nick picked a song— “Zodiac Shit”—and brought over the supplies, and Tom began his lesson:
“Alright. First thing you gotta do is break up your green. Grind it first and then break it up between your fingers to work out all the stems. Add some tobacco and then give it a quick toss, like a salad, so it’s well mixed. Then get out a paper and fill the crease with the goods. Use king size because you’re a boss and you should not be limited to an inch and a quarter smoke. Brown’s or Raw’s are harder to fold but they burn slower, I like them.
“Take a piece of cardstock—an business card or a bookmark or something—rip a small piece about quarter inch by an inch and roll it into a small spiral. This is your filter. Place it at the end of the paper and begin to roll the whole spliff back and forth with your fingers, so you can compact the nugg into a tubular shape.
“Roll it near the edge and go for the fold. It’s more of a tuck actually. Tuck the paper under the weed so that you can start to roll it proper. The best way to get the fold is to try and get it piece by piece, from one end to the other, slowly, like you’re wrapping a gift one edge at a time. Be gentle with it, like you were tucking in your grandmother.”
“What the fuck are these similes?” Nick said laughing.
“I’m trying to get you a feel for what’s at stake,” Tom said. He continued: “So roll it up and once you got it rolled then lick the gum and seal it, slowly again, piece by piece. Pinch the end and shake it to get it packed down, and twist it off when it feels solid. Then dry the licked crease with a light if it’s wet. Loosen up the grounds on the inside by rolling it in your fingers, if you need to. And that’s it, you’ve got it!”
Tom presented the finished spliff. It was quite a looker. Very smooth, very pretty. Nick said, “Very nice, Tom, you’re an artist. Now lets throw some sriracha on this shit and smoke it!”
“Yeah, you should fill the filter end with it and smoke the whole thing through the stuff. Probably be awesome.”
Nick took the spliff and hopped over to the other couch. “Do you wanna choose the music or should I?” he asked.
“I’m not smoking man. I still gotta write this ‘How-To’ thing,” Tom said.
“You kind of just did.” Nick said.
“Yeah you’re right. I guess I did.” Tom said and he closed his computer contemplatively.
“Put on some music,” said Nick.
“What do you want to listen to?”
“I donno something bumpin’, and spicy.”
“Sriracha,” hissed Tom.
“What? Sriracha? Nothing. Let’s listen to…” And Tom picked a song—“Poe Mans Dreams”—and Nick took a light to the end.