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Chili Dog With Extra Love
Standing under the hot sun on the sticky beach, Martin watched people pass by on the boardwalk. He was a people-watcher. Secretly, he was into fashion, but he didn’t let his best friend, Norman, know that. Norman was pretty much the coolest person Martin knew, but Martin didn’t know very many people. He was a little shy, and felt lonely most of the time. He spent most of his days with the hot dogs he sold at the Blue Lagoon. On Saturdays, he liked to go to Norman’s apartment for some pizza and video games. They especially liked the Starwars Xbox games. Sunday was the day that Martin watched Project Runway, which he recorded with his Tivo. He’d considered auditioning for the show himself, but decided that he was too shy, and his hotdog customers would be disappointed.
Martin’s favorite customer was Melinda. Melinda was his most loyal customer. She was a volunteer firewoman on the weekends, but mostly, she was an illustrator for children’s books. Melinda liked to visit Martin in the afternoons, when she was done illustrating for the day. She told Martin that he had the best hotdogs around, to which Martin would blush. Melinda made Martin feel less lonely.
Martin used to have bigger dreams. He used to be more outgoing. He even went to college to get a degree in fashion design. He made friends with lots of girls (and even some other guys who liked fashion). Martin had felt popular. When Martin graduated from college, he pursued a job at a fashion magazine. It didn’t work out. Dejected, Martin tried to open up his own clothing store, but it turned out that Martin didn’t think he was a good shop owner. Martin decided to give up. That’s how he ended up with a hotdog stand. Now, all of his old friends were famous and successful, while Martin felt like a nobody.
One day, Martin got Norman to wear the hotdog costume in order to try to get more customers. Melinda came over to the hotdog stand and Martin introduced her to Norman. Norman waggled his eyebrows at Martin, as if to say, “She’s pretty.” Martin blushed.
After some of the usual small talk with Melinda, a customer came up.
“One hotdog please,” said the white-haired man, “with relish, and chili, and cheese…and onions.”
As Martin prepared the hotdog, Norman leaned over to Martin and said, “This guy looks suspicious.” Norman had a sort of sixth sense for that kind of thing.
“Hmm…” said Martin thoughtfully. “That’ll be $3.50 please,” Martin said as he handed the hotdog to the customer. After rummaging in his pocket for a little while, the man suddenly took off running down the beach.
“I knew it!” screamed Norman. Then, Norman started sprinting after the man, still in the hotdog suit. Though unsettled, Martin started laughing with Melinda as they watched Norman chase the man, stepping over beach-goers and knocking over umbrellas.
“I think I’ll write my own children’s book, and put this in it.” Melinda said, laughing so hard that she had to lean on Martin, which made him blush, of course.
Martin and Melinda continued to watch Norman in his quest for vengeance. Norman wrestled the man to the sand, demanding money by the looks of it. After some struggle, Norman stood up and held a few dollar bills high in the air. He then walked back over to Martin and Melinda proudly. Norman’s hotdog suit was smeared with chili and relish. Melinda congratulated Norman on his victory as he handed Martin the money. Norman had gotten a $10 dollar bill out of the man’s wallet. After Norman left to change, telling Martin that he’d see him Saturday, Martin worked up some courage and invited Melinda to stay at the hotdog stand with him, and he’d close it down early so that they could eat hotdogs together and watch the sunset. Melinda accepted with a smile, and this time she blushed, too.
After sitting down near the tide, Martin told Melinda about his dream of fashion designing. Melinda told him that she thought that was a really nice dream, and that he should pursue it again. She then told Martin how she’d always wanted to be an author, but felt that she was better at drawing than writing. Melinda explained that she went into illustration because of this. Martin told her that he thought that she was creative and full of ideas and that she should pursue her dream, too. Martin and Melinda decided that they would help each other try to pursue their dreams. When Melinda had to leave, Martin offered to walk her to her car.
“You really helped me tonight, Martin. Now I’m excited to pursue my dream, again. You’re a sweet guy.”
Martin bashfully said “thank you,” and goodnight.
After that night, Martin became a shop owner, and was successful this time. He still sold hotdogs on the beach on the weekends. Melinda wrote and illustrated a children’s best seller book about a man in a hot dog who was a superhero. Martin and Melinda became a couple and watched the sun go down most Friday nights. Norman decided that he had a real talent for crime fighting and became a cop. He enjoyed it very much. He wanted Martin to start selling donuts, too, so Martin became a man with a hotdog and donut stand. The donuts were very popular. More people came and visited Martin at his stand, and Martin felt popular and happy again. Martin became very grateful to the man who stole one of hotdogs on a fateful summer day.