NB: this piece was written for the I Don’t Even Own a Television podcast’s short story competition, where the prompt was ‘Shaq is about to eat five gyros’. It was soundly and fairly beaten by the actual winner, but I’m still very proud of it, and to this day I’m sad I never got to hear Chris Collision read it. It is immensely silly, and for some reason remains one of my most popular stories.
Shaq stared at the menu, and wept. He wanted the gyro with fries. He wanted the gyro without fries. He wanted the chicken gyro, and the lamb gyro. Most of all, he wanted the dark pleasure of the Everything gyro, which contained chicken, lamb, and a superposition of both fries and no fries – it contained the sum of all human knowledge, and some knowledge beyond the reach of man.
Coach Basketball had forbidden the Everything gyro. He said that there were some things men were not meant to know. Shaq wanted that knowledge: to fill his own boundless curiosity, and also for basketball.
“I have a large belly,” said Shaq to the gyros man. “I can fit five gyros within it easily.”
He pointed to the menu with his titanic arm. “I would like those five specifically.”
The gyros man went pale. “Four gyros and the Everything gyro? You are surely mad, Shaquille O’Neal.”
With a boom like a timpani, Shaq slapped his gigantic stomach. “ᴅᴏ ɴᴏᴛ ᴅᴇꜰʏ ᴍᴇ, ɢʏʀᴏs ᴍᴀɴ,” he roared.
The gyros man wept a single tear. “You have convinced me, Shaq. You are ready for five gyros.”
He disappeared into the depths of his food truck. Shaq waited, and smiled.
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