Dear Dirty America


The Survival Meal

June 27
17:35 2013

(reprinted from The Book of Shards)A little man lives in my head. He gives orders. He overrides considerations. He doesn’t take no for an answer. Right now he has me parked out front of Circle K in the dark at seven o’clock at night with a 16-ounce cup of coffee and the engine running, writing on a yellow pad under the light from the neons under the awning.

For some reason the little man in my head doesn’t want me to write at home. He prefers I go up on the hill overlooking the valley, but if that’s not possible, he grabs hold of whatever’s available. I tried to argue with him about this Circle K business, but he wouldn’t listen.

Three sexy women have gone into the Circle K since I’ve been sitting here, and each time the little man cut me off before I could write them down. “That’s not what we’re here for,” he said. But here I am, slipping it in anyway. I’ve still got some say in things.

Ten minutes until the movie starts. It’s Christmas night and I’m going to a movie.

People keep going into the store. They come back out with cases of beer, gallons of milk, things in cellophane wrappers. There’s an advertisement on the Circle K door for the Survival Meal–a picture of a hot dog in a bun with a ribbon of mustard on it, a small bag of Lay’s potato chips, and a twenty-ounce Styrofoam cup of cola with a desolate landscape printed on it under the date “2012”. Something Mayan. All for $3.50.

This may be the reason the little man sent me here.

To tell you about the Survival Meal.

To make you aware that the world is coming to an end.

Find John Bennett’s novels, short stories, and shards at Hcolom Press. You can contact him, or get on his Shards list at

Read a review of his novel Children of the Sun & Earth here


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