Brain Food

(a 100-word story)

At sixteen, I worked after school at a burger joint, with an older guy whose eyes were brown as muddy ponds.

Minimum wage was $1.60; but teenagers got $1.30. I hated doing the same work as the mud-eyed man for lower pay. I couldn’t wait to finish school, ditch that place, and shake its dust off my shoes on the way out the door. What Muddy dreamed about, I don’t know.

On our breaks, he always ate fish sandwiches. “Brain food!” he’d mumble, with one crammed in his mouth.

I’d just nod and concentrate on homework, cramming for tomorrow’s test.

—Lester Smith
(Originally appeared in Free Verse)

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