Take 4 parts physics, 2 parts marketing, 16 parts music, 11 parts writing, and what do you get? A whole lot of parts would be one answer. Omer Wahaj is an amalgamation of all these and more: an independent journalist/writer and a part-time musician currently living in Toronto. He has written several short stories and is currently working on a few humorous/satirical novels. Omer occasionally DJs and has produced an eclectic mix of music in various genres of electronica. He also enjoys being an illeist. Follow Omer on Twitter @omerwahaj
The Seven-ty-hundred-thousand Year(?) Itch
I had been deliciously close to eating when I died. See, I had gotten up late that morning and had to rush to the office, so missed breakfast. Then, my stupid oh-look-at-me-I’m-so-cool-and-snazzy-in-my-Boss-suit boss called a meeting right before lunch. It went on till about 3 pm. That’s when Mr. Smarty Pants realized his minions were hungry. Some of us took out our lunch boxes. Some of us ordered delivery. I went for biryani. Dumb rider messed up the order and brought broast instead. I can’t stand broast so offered it to a colleague. Couldn’t even see him devouring the piece. Bastard.
I had thought of getting something to eat on the way home, but Ms. Demanding I’m-Always-Right called while I was stuck in traffic. Said she wanted to go out that night. Have a nice romantic dinner. But first, a pre-dinner movie. I really wanted to eat but oh well; had to say “Yes, ma’am.” Thought about getting some McDonalds drive-thru on the way. But then also thought of what she’d do if I were late. Shudder.
There was nothing in the fridge at home except a few slices of mold-ridden cheese and an expired carton of orange juice. So I sucked my stomach in. Tightened my belt. Went to her when she called for me to pop in the DVD. Ya, ya, I won’t scratch it. We were going to have dinner in a couple of hours anyway. I’d be ordering a horse, thank you very much.
As we sat there watching various characters on the TV screen eat all kinds of delicious things, I kept thinking of large pieces of meat, simmering and glistening on my plate, huge tacos filled with shredded beef, cheddar and relish, sizzling and crackling plates of Manchurian chicken…
“Huh?” I said for the seventh time in that dreadful slowly passing hour. “What was that, honey? My sweet pumpkin pie. My tart lemon merengue. What? I’m watching the movie. That guy just told that other guy about the bun… um… bank robbery. Just that I’m so tired. And so hungry. You know my stupid boss…”
Finally, we got in the car and drove to a restaurant. She had chosen that Mongolian barbeque place I loved. They served the best ribs. I was all kinds of ecstatic.
Thankfully – well, now that I look at it in retrospect, I guess I shouldn’t be so thankful about it – she had called earlier and made a reservation. We didn’t have to wait too long to be seated. They got us nice seats too, apparently the best in the house, right by the glass windows that overlooked the bustling street outside.
I knew exactly what I wanted and placed the order for some baby lamb ribs, medium rare, extra BBQ sauce and double sides of potatoes – baked and mashed with extra sour cream – right away.
Just choose already, I wanted to pull my hair out and start gobbling them down. She was taking forever to order.
Finally she ordered and then asked me a question.
“Sure, go on. I am here. No, no. I’ll wait. Of course I won’t start without you,” I said crossly. She was a big girl. She didn’t need my permission to go the bathroom. And why act so coy and ladylike then, asking me if she could go to the loo, when the rest of time it was always, ‘Me, me, me…’ Whatever. Where’s the food?
My gorgeous waiter arrived after what seemed like a million years, but was probably more like ten minutes. He put the plate in front of me. Everything was perfect. It looked delicious. It smelled divine.
She had still not returned from the bathroom. I supposed it would only be considerate and polite to wait. But looking at the plate of heaven in front of me was too much. My stomach had been making these weird noises all day but just as the juicy aromas reached my nostrils, suddenly a full on coordinated symphony had started playing inside my guts. The fat on top of my steak glistened in the flickering candlelight, some of it dripping down the side, mimicking my watering mouth.
Duck it, I’m eating.
I picked up the knife and fork and cut the succulent meat off the bones. It didn’t even need a knife. The meat just fell off, like butter. Or something. I was too hungry to make good analogies.
I skewered the meat – dark on the edges, tenderly pink on the inside – with my fork and raised it up to my mouth. I was about to put the bite on my tongue when it happened.
The last things I remember from that night are two big headlights, as they crashed through the glass walls of the restaurant, straight into my table.
Now I’m not sure how long has it been since that day. Maybe it was yesterday. Perhaps it was a thousand years ago. The flavor of those baby back ribs remains on the tip of my tongue but I can’t really taste them. The smoky smell still lingers all around me. My stomach perpetually rumbles, feels like a bottomless pit with a deep ethereal yearning, a needle in my soul.
Man, I wish I had had some food that day. It sucks to be hungry all the time. And being dead. That sucks too, I guess.