Chicken Tacos

Two days til pay day and we scrape together a dollar and twelve cents. The bananas have fallen off the plastic tree and there is only one apple left. The garlic stands alone.

The weather has been temperamental and so I grab a sweatshirt. By the time we get to the truck it’s snowing. The snow sticks to my clothes like static and looks like mothballs. I swat it off me because I want the Spring to come so badly.

In the grocery, we look at the row of peppers. $3.99 a pound. The jalapeño is obvious. Nothing can be done without it. My husband picks a fat one and weighs it. It rolls around on the scale and I want to crunch into it with milk.

Now there is a choice. With thirty cents gone, we must be cautious. He eyes a serrano. It’s small. It looks hot. “This is the one,” he holds it out to the grocery lights and we look at it for a moment, silently.

As we scan each pepper in the self-check out, we laugh at our good fortune. Two days until pay day and we still have a chicken breast and lettuce and corn tortillas. Two days until pay day and we found a dollar and twelve cents just to spend on peppers alone.

We insert sixty-four cents and grab our receipt. For some reason, the amount amuses us. We continue to laugh as we pass the bagging attendant, the shopping cart collector, the people in the parking lot pushing off the mothball snow. We keep laughing as we run to the truck, pretending we stole the serrano, that we would be caught by the jalapeño council. Held in a cold cell for food processing. So we decide we will run from Winter until Spring comes. And when Winter is done snowing, we will make fire.


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