Bill loved chicken-fried steaks. He loved them so much, in fact, that he ate them every day, and even enjoyed talking about them to his family and friends. As you might guess, Bill began to dwell on chicken-fried steaks to an unhealthy degree, his escalating obsession gradually altering his basic thought processes. Until one day, with a firm, unshakable resolve, Bill decided that he wanted more than anything else in the entire world to have a three-piece, double-breasted chicken-fried steak suit.
After returning from the supermarket to purchase a thousand chicken-fried steaks, Bill put on his apron and began to cook them all up. When he had several heaping platters of cooked chicken-fried steaks, Bill set about trying to devise a way to attach them to each other in order to construct a wearable suit of clothes. Failing this, he simply stripped naked and began super-gluing the steaks directly to his body. Eventually his entire body, except for his head, hands, and feet, was covered with chicken-fried steaks. Anxious to show off his incredible new suit to an astonished public, Bill put on his socks, shoes, and a tie, and went outside.
Strolling down the sidewalks of the old hometown in his chicken-fried steak suit made Bill feel like "Mr. Big" at last. People instantly began to look up to him--he could see it in their bulging eyes and expressions of envy and dismay as they gasped in horror and ran away screaming. And the children loved it. They danced with delight, pointing and shouting in mindless glee at Bill's passing, unaware that they were witnessing history in the making. Decades later, Bill mused, these children would be telling their own grandchildren that they were "there" when Man first walked the earth in a chicken-fried steak suit.
With a jaunty spring in his step, Bill breezed into the office building where he worked and marched proudly before his fellow employees to his desk, leaving a trail of gravy on the carpet behind him. Reveling in their collective gaze, he stood before his desk, cleared his throat, and formally addressed the group. "You've probably noticed that I'm wearing a chicken-fried steak suit today," he announced. "Rest assured, this doesn't affect the way I feel about you all. I still regard each and every one of you as being almost my equals. So, please--try not to be unduly intimidated by my presence."
Bill's boss, Mr. Wendell, was the first to speak up. "Bill...what's the matter with you?" he asked with concern. "You look...well, you look like you've totally lost your mind."
"No, I don't," Bill said airily. He plucked the Baxter file out of his briefcase and regarded it studiously over his glasses. "And now, if you'll all excuse me," he added, "I have work to attend to. You may continue to gaze admiringly at me if you wish, as long as your sighs of passion and envy don't drown out my thoughts." Pretending to ignore them all, Bill sat down in his cushioned chair and spread out the Baxter file for his perusal.
Mr. Wendell came over and sat cautiously next to him. "Bill," he said in a low voice, "you do realize that the CEO of Baxter Industries is due to arrive here this morning. Needless to say, this meeting is absolutely crucial to the future of our company. Now, why don't you just dash home and put on a real suit, and we'll forget all about this funny little--"
"Mr. Wendell," Bill interrupted testily, "I'll have you know that, legally, my chicken-fried steak suit is just as real as yours or anyone else's suit. Plus, it's more interesting, it smells better, and it's historic. I'm sure that Mr. Baxter will appreciate the thought and effort I've put into it, and will be deeply honored and grateful that I saw fit to wear it upon the occasion of our important meeting. Will there be anything else?"
Mr. Wendell didn't say anything. With a strangely incredulous look, he backed away and slipped into his office, closing the door. Bill chuckled quietly as he enjoyed his victory and imagined himself astride a mighty steed, addressing a great army before battle. "Remember this day!" he bellowed mightily in his mind as the soldiers cheered. "A sword day! A chicken-fried steak day!"
Suddenly, something felt wrong. It seemed the chicken-fried steaks that were glued to Bill's ass made his buttocks feel funny when the two were squished tightly together in the cushioned chair. Bill twitched reflexively, trying to conceal his sudden discomfort from his admiring coworkers. How could he not have foreseen this? Why hadn't he first tested the suit out in one of his own comfortable chairs at home?
The Baxter file went unnoticed as Bill continued to suffer the agonizingly strange sensation of several chicken-fried steaks being smashed against his buttocks. His mind raced. He had to get them off. Dashing into the executive washroom as inconspicuously as possible, Bill began to tug firmly at the chicken-fried steaks, trying to peel them off. But they might as well have been spot-welded to his ass.
He had a last-ditch idea. If he could sneak out through the back door and into the alley behind the office building, maybe a passing stray dog would eat the chicken-fried steaks that were glued to his ass. It would only take a minute, and as soon as the dog had eaten only those particular steaks, Bill could simply zip back inside and sit comfortably in his cushioned chair once again, without anyone being the wiser.
No sooner had Bill devised this plan than he was out back in the alley, bending over a trash can with his rear end in the air. "Steaks!" cried Bill. "Yum-yum steaks!" Before long, two poodles that had recently gotten seperated from their owner scampered by. As soon as they got a load of those delicious chicken-fried steaks, the poodles made a beeline for Bill's ass, launching themselves into the air and coming down with two mighty chomps that sent Bill screaming up a brick wall.
Bill came flying into the office area in his chicken-fried steak suit with a poodle dangling by its teeth from each buttock, just as Mr. Wendell was shaking hands with Mr. Baxter in front of his office. Spotting the two men, Bill managed to compose himself and walk over to them with his hand extended. "Greetings, Mr. Baxter," he said confidently, turning on the charm. "I'm Bill. What a distinct pleasure it is to meet you at last." The dangling poodles growled menacingly.
The two men gaped at Bill in utter mortification, speechless. Bill coolly took charge of the situation. "Why don't we all step out and discuss our impending merger over lunch?" he suggested. "I know a place that serves the most mouth-watering chicken-fried steaks you ever sank your teeth into."
Mr. Baxter responded to Bill's invitation by vomiting into a potted plant and then keeling over dead from a massive coronary. Mr. Wendell backed against a wall, stunned. "Ruined," he muttered. "We're ruined."
Bill tried to salvage the situation. "Oh, I'm sure Baxter Industries has someone else they can send," he said. "I'll handle the details and follow through on it ASAP." One of the poodles took a fresh chomp on his left buttock and he added, "OWW!"
The room fell silent. Everyone was afraid to speak, or even to move. "Bill," Mr. Wendell managed to say at last. "You're fried. I mean, fired."
At this, everyone else in the office burst into laughter. The tension had been unbearable up to that point, and some kind of release was needed lest they all go mad. Mr. Wendell started to laugh too--slowly at first, then in waves and waves of uncontrolled, manic laughter that convulsed his entire body and froze his face into a frantic rictus of pure insanity. Finally he reached such an extreme state of gibbering, psychotic hysteria that when the paramedics arrived to get Mr. Baxter, they also had to wheel Mr. Wendell away strapped to a stretcher.
The laughter died down as everyone managed to regain their composure. Bill looked at them with reproach. "I hope you're all ashamed of yourselves," he said. "Your behavior has quite likely jeopardized our relations with Baxter Industries and, on a personal note, I found it most embarrassing." One of the poodles shifted its grip on Bill's right buttock. "OWW!" he added.
With Mr. Wendell indisposed, Bill was next in line to head the company. And with the managerial reins now firmly in his grasp, he turned Wendell Enterprises into a chicken-fried steak suit manufacturing empire. His cherished dream of outfitting every man, woman, and child in America with chicken-fried steak suits and other related apparel was, at last, within reach.
Unfortunately, nobody else in the country wanted to wear chicken-fried steak suits, and the entire company went bankrupt that afternoon. Bill blamed this failure on the unenthusiastic attitudes of his employees, who then hog-tied him, carried him down to the local zoo, and threw him into the lion cage. Bill survived, but was never the same. He now lives across the street from me and can often be seen standing around in his front yard in his underwear, blowing his nose. Occasionally I'll yell over at him to knock it off, and he'll gaze upward with a beatific look and say, "Is that you, God?"
As for chicken-fried steaks...he no longer remembers them. All he eats now are microwaved corn dogs with no mustard, and he has never, to my knowledge, considered wearing them.
(originally posted at Andersonvision.com)