Taco Truckin’

By Stuart Watson

My wife comes home from errands and drops a bag on the counter.

What’s that? I ask.

Tacos for me, burrito for you, she says. Adobada, she adds, before I ask.

Which truck?

The new one. On the corner.

Which corner?

Jeffers and Fly.

It’s two blocks from our house. Do we need this many tacos, this close? I ask.

Try it and see, she says. Until now, I had to drive a mile to my favorite truck. I open my burrito. It is hot, juicy, spicy.

Mmm, I purr, great.

She smiles.

In the weeks after, I get to know the owner of Taco-a-Go-Go. Jose sounds new to these parts. I compliment his product. I love burritos. Tacos, too, but burritos mostly. My wife is the taco queen. Jose is always busy.

Until another truck sets up across the street. It siphons off some of his traffic. But with two trucks at the crossing, more cars come, slow, stop. The corner becomes the hub of hubbub.

Two other trucks set up nearby. Then a couple more beyond, toward town. After them, others, of different colors and different specialties. Orange with shrimp. Turquoise with barbacoa. Purple with tamales. A blue and a maroon go with Oaxacan moles.

At the intersection, taco trucks stretch to the horizon, blinkers flashing, looking for a place to park.

One day, a double-decker with tilt-out patio appears down our street, in the driveway of a neighbor. I’m walking the dog where he likes to poop, and there is a taco truck. The dog looks at me. Have I done something wrong? I shrug. He turns and walks on.

After we head home, I notice another truck in the driveway one house closer to our place. It arrived in the past ten minutes.

Before I can reach our house, a pickup truck whips a 180 and backs a taco trailer into the driveway next to ours.

Another truck pulls to the curb. The driver unloads two pigs and strings them up from a swing-out rack and cuts their necks. They squeal. Blood goes everywhere. Kids run and splash in it. Neighbors scurry down, plates in hand.

My wife comes onto the porch. Her jaw sags.

Doors slam and neighbors cluster along the street, talking, pointing. More trucks and trailers drive past and set up in their driveways.

Dave, across the street, yells at me: Not bragging, but we’ve got TWO trucks.

I look at Matt, who lives four doors south. He has left his kids on the trampoline. We watch a guy park his taco truck so it blocks Matt’s garage.

Did you invite that guy? I ask.

No way, he says, but now that he’s here …

Matt walks slowly to the truck, scans the menu, tells the window guy, “I’ll have three chicken tacos extra spicy, and a machaca burrito, mild.”

Matt waits and wonders why he doesn’t own a taco truck. After lunch, the guy blocking his driveway accepts Matt’s generous offer.

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Stuart Watson had a long career in journalism, followed by two decades of freelancing and consulting. Now that he’s not chasing a check, he writes for the sheer joy and fun of it. His work has been published by The Maine Review, Yolk, Two Hawks Quarterly, Revolution John, Montana Mouthful, Wretched Creations, Flash Boulevard, Bending Genres, Flash Fiction Magazine, Hippocampus (books), Brilliant Flash Fiction (anthology), Danse Macabre, Red Planet Magazine, Sledgehammer Lit, MysteryTribune and Wanderlust Journal. He lives in Oregon with his wife and awesome dog.

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