Three horn blasts, playing Dixie, from the BBQ truck announced that the day’s offerings were ready to eat, and the Pavlovian office workers dutifully salivated their way over to Big Dave’s truck. Myself, I preferred Consuelo’s Authentic Mexican, partly because there wasn’t much of a line and I wouldn’t have to wait, partly for the street tacos made with soft tortillas instead of the crispy kind that invariably crack and let the juices leak out over my shirt, and partly because of Consuelo. She was Costa Rican, which I found ironic, but lovely all the same, especially when she smiled as she handed me my order. I appreciated how much effort she put into running her food truck and wanted to support a minority business woman, although social consciousness wasn’t exactly my motivation.
One day, after having been cut in line by that bastard from accounting Lawrence who went by Ben for some reason, I ordered my normal Tampa Tacos, marinated chicken, cilantro, and a mango salsa, and Consuelo asked me if I could wait a minute. I said sure, after all, I wasn’t going to get in line for BBQ or any of the other food trucks on the plaza. I watched as she stepped out of her truck, and for a moment I imagined her running up to me to give me a big hug and a kiss and the two of us running off together. What I saw instead, was Consuelo stepping up into Big Dave’s truck and then a minute later returning with a package of store-bought corn tortillas.
She thanked me for being patient, and I handed her a $10. Our hands touched when she counted out the change. I felt nothing. I dropped the coins in the tip jar and pocketed the ones. As I sat on one of the decorative cement benches I started to eat. Tasteless. After a while, I got up, threw the napkin and paper plate in the trash, and noticed a red dribble stain on the front of my shirt.