Dogs (S&M Iron Works, New Orleans)

"I'm going to pretend..." he tucked his sunglasses into his breast pocket, "I didn't hear anything you just said."

Lucky Dog carts were a common sight around the city of New Orleans. Here or there one could catch a quick and satisfying snack--be it lunch time or a late night indulgence--depending only on how many dogs you ordered from the smiling, and possibly sassy attendant. There were two sizes of hot dog: small or large. Either one was a witticism waiting to happen.

Today, a squat man clad in his candy stripes stood behind the cart wearing a rather peculiar hat--that is, if anything could be considered peculiar in NOLA. A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head. The green earflaps, full of large ears and uncut hair and the fine bristles that grew in the ears themselves, stuck out on either side like turn signals indicating two directions at once. Full, pursed lips protruded beneath the bushy black moustache and, at their corners, sank into little folds filled with disapproval and potato chip crumbs.

Owen, mind already on his meal, barely acknowledged the man behind the cart, content to point at the swirling dirty water, his only communication. The man grunted with tongs in hand and reached into the abyss to retrieve and brandish a wiener at Owen, whose curt nod expressed his disapproval. The meat retreated into the depths and a shorter hot dog was placed hastily on a bun and dressed.

"What about you?" Owen asked Katherine, motioning to the cart. "Whatever she's getting," he said to the bulbous man who held out a dog with ketchup, mustard, and relish. Owen craned his neck, then pointed at the vat of chili. The attendant grunted, spooning the chili over the dog and shoved it, oozing over the sides, into Owen's hand.

"What?" he said, returning Catbite's gaze, "I like the short dogs."

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