San Jose and Salvador’s danger dogs

Spilling out in high heels into midnight streets of San Jose,
crawling with people dressed to kill
happy on life, a few drinks and some smoke from the weed that drifts,
that wafts,
so thick you could cut in half,
an invisible cloak that clashes with the deliciousness of onions
and red peppers frying on hot steel plates.

Hotdogs wrapped in bacon,
danger dogs they’re called I reckon,
jalapeño peppers popping, sizzling in grease,
drawn like a moth to flame,
hunger’s game,
I exclaim,
“We will have two with everything!”

The strong man gets cracking,
as if he just attached himself to a power cord,
tossing and frying onions and red peppers,
assassin assaulting with the scents,
as an eye questions,
“One jalapeño?” in a thick accent,
“No two!” I correct him,
I could eat five, I guess I’m feeling brave?

The hot dogs crisp wrapped in bacon fat,
he works fast and proceeds to slide them into soft buns.
With veg and condiments, hands it on a paper plate,
it’s pretty late to be eating.

Bundled up in a hoodie and warm plaid,
an open face I would soon forget
but a demeanor that’s so calm that I find it easy
to ask his name while I ate,
“Salvador” he says with a warm smile,
“Savior.” I translate in my head.

In between scalding but senselessly delicious chews,
I wonder if my co-conspirator has steel plates for a tongue,
in two breaths, he’s made his food vanish,
I wonder how you say magic in Spanish.

“So how long have you been doing this?” I feel compelled to ask,
suddenly I’m Chatty Cathy
must be the jalapeño’s kick
or the onion vapors that’s rendering me talkative,
he thinks for a while and counts on fingers
and says
“Four,”
“I see…that’s why the food is fantastic!
Gracias Salvador.”

This story is about a night out that ended with stopping for the most delicious hot dogs made by a Mexican guy named Salvador in San Jose, California. In this tiny encounter, I got to know him a little.I wanted to write about how hard immigrants work and make the best of the little they have and own. I understand it because I’m an immigrant myself.

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Priscilla Prerna Rai

Priscilla Prerna Rai

Writer of sorts Vancouver | Himalayan