Fear the Frito

January 14, 2009
By Jane Kessner, Bethesda, MD

All I wanted was to fit into the NYC scene. It always seemed to be so wonderful and glamorous on “Sex and the City.” I could sit in chic cafes with my gal pals, sipping martinis and discussing men. Everything about New York seemed so much more exciting than the small Iowa town where I grew up, about 50 miles outside of Des Moines.
So, after high school, I went to New York City to become a model. I was the right height, and I figured that modeling would catapult me into the glam lifestyle I had always dreamed about. I rented a small apartment in Brooklyn -- not exactly “Sex in the City” caliber accommodations, but it was the best I could afford. For an entire year, I went to modeling agencies and tried to meet New York’s in-crowd. Unfortunately, I only saw that crowd when I watched episodes of “Gossip Girl” on my used and scratched TV.
Everywhere I went, people would either ask me where I came from, or they’d know just by looking at me. No one chic really wanted to associate with a girl from the Iowa corn fields. The modeling agents told me I needed to lay off the corn and potatoes, and the bouncers at club entrances said my clothing looked like it came straight out of a Midwest Wal-Mart.
When I did go to dinner with people, people who weren’t even really in the in-crowd, they’d say my mannerisms were quaint. Problem is, there was no place for a quaint, Iowan, corn-fed girl on NYC’s runways or in its in-crowd. After a year, I gave up and went home.
Sometimes, people go home after journeys and are so thrilled to return. Either they come home saying they “found themselves” and now can lead content lives, or they say that the big journey just wasn’t for them, and they’re happy to go back to their dull daily lives in small towns. But I didn’t fit that formula. I wasn’t happy to go back to Iowa; after all I hated the place -- the corn, the emptiness, the lack of flashing lights. I loved New York, even if it had rejected me. I blamed my failure on Iowa because growing up in that state somehow made me unfit to be a real-life “Sex and the City” cast member. I despised Iowa, and especially my parents for raising me there and turning me into a boring, Iowan, corn-fed, Wal-Mart-shopping girl.
The day that I came back, my extended family had a “Welcome Back” party, complete with Iowa’s culinary specialty: the Walking Taco. You make a Walking Taco by cutting a Frito bag open lengthwise and pouring chili and taco toppings on top of the chips. Then, you walk around (hence the walking part), and eat the whole mess with a fork. I hated Walking Tacos, as they were the cuisine of the state I so despised.
I acted cheery as I greeted friends and family, telling them, “Oh, yes, New York was fantastic, but I was really ready to come back home and see you all!” But after an hour or so, I took my dad aside into the kitchen, saying I needed to talk to him alone. I brought my Walking Taco along. I was taller and stronger than him by now, and so I grabbed his neck in my elbow, forced his mouth open, and poured my Fritos down his throat until he started choking. I did not help him as he choked, but kept stuffing Fritos down his throat until he could no longer breathe. I called to my mother, saying daddy needed help. But when she came running, I did the same thing to her as I had done to my father just a minute earlier.
As I observed my parents, lying still on the ground, their mouths spouting Fritos and chili, I was content. These people had forced me to grow up in Iowa, and thus ruined my New York dreams. They had ruined my life, and it was only fitting that I kill them with an item representative of the state they loved and I hated. I ruined them with the same state that had already ruined me.

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