Concise Prose. Enough Said.
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By Brandi Wells

I tried to get Dalton to eat Spam, but he wouldn’t do it. He said he only eats tortellini and not clunky meat by-products that sludge out of a can with copious amounts of yellow goo. I tried to explain that it was important. “I’m writing a collection of short-shorts, essays and poems about meat by-products,” I told him. “I need you to do this for my research.”

I had fried Spam, blackened and plopped on toast with spicy mustard and a Spam and spinach quiche with parmesan cheese.

“No thanks,” Dalton said. “I don’t eat shit like that.”

“Me either,” I told him. “That’s why my research is so tedious.”

So I sat up a Spam stand, much like a lemonade stand, in front of my apartment. I dragged five or six milk crates out onto the sidewalk and stacked them in front of me. The food, I sat on paper plates that I hoped were weighted down well enough so they wouldn’t blow away. I wasn’t close to the road, so the only people that walked by were my neighbors and sometimes Dalton when he needed to throw up. I had a poster board taped to one of my apartment windows that said ‘Eat Free Spa,’ because I ran out of room and had no where to put the ‘m.’ I probably should’ve written it in pencil first or measured the whole thing out with a ruler.

None of the neighbors stopped to eat Spam. One of them asked me if I was a narc.

“No,” I said. “I’m just doing Spam research. I’m writing a novel. With essays and short-shorts and poetry.”

He didn’t want any Spam.

After a few hours I threw it all away in the big green garbage can that sits on the sidewalk. It had an I.D. number scrawled across it in white paint: 930930. I wondered what the number was for. Maybe people steal garbage cans and leave them sitting other places. The City will see 930930 on my garbage can and know it’s supposed to go in front of my apartment, so they’ll return it. It’d be a nice gesture.

I went inside and Dalton was sitting on the couch with this girl he knows who has three names. Her name is Ginny Grace Greccan, but I always think it’s Sarah Beth Whatever, or some other southern name out of a Lewis Grizzard novel.

“No luck?” Dalton asked.

“No,” I told him. “Now I’ll have nothing to write about.”

Except I remember there was this guy who made all his clothes from aluminum foil. I remember seeing him on the news once when I was waiting to hear if it was going to rain the next day. Aluminum foil gets crunchy-pointy and probably chafes the skin. I wouldn’t wear it, but this guy, he wore it all the time, everywhere he went, on dates and at work and at night while he slept.

I could make a suit of Spam. Spam pants, Spam socks, Spam shirt, Spam trousers. I could never go around dogs, but that’s okay, because I don’t like dogs. I don’t like the way they sniff my ass and try to lick the palm of my hand. That much contact makes me uncomfortable. I don’t see why it should be okay, just because it’s a dog.

Having a suit of Spam would keep my skin constantly moisturized. I’d never have to buy lotion or ChapStick. I could just rub my hands across my shirt and then gloss over my lips.

Dalton says he’ll leave if I start wearing Spam. He says he prefers hot dogs. Says hot dogs are America’s comfort food. He doesn’t understand about Spam.

The main problem with a Spam suit is buttons. I don’t know if buttons will hold up in processed meat. I could use string to tie everything on, but string cuts right through Spam like a laser, so I think I’ll need buttons, special Spam buttons and maybe a Spam zipper.

The suit would be a great promotional tool for my writing. Everywhere I went people would ask me why I was wearing Spam and I’d tell them about my collection of Spam essays, short-shorts and poems. I think every writer should have such a promotional tool. That Tao Lin guy wears a fuzzy bear suit when he goes to the market. (I wonder if Tao Lin prefers hot dogs or Spam?)

Since Dalton and I were both hungry, I made homemade tortellini, rolled out the pasta dough and stuffed the center with hashed up Spam and cheese. I didn’t tell him about the Spam and he said it was delicious.


Brandi Wells is a student at Georgia Southern University, soon to graduate with a BA in Writing and Linguistics and a BA in English. Her fiction is forthcoming in or appears in The Saint Ann's Review, Hobart, Wandering Army and Monkey Bicycle.
Photo: Rudolf II painted as Vertumnus, Roman God of the seasons, by Giuseppe Arcimboldo, circa 1590, via

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