I stared face to face with my glistening pile of chow mein, flanked by honey walnut shrimp and Beyond orange chicken, all balanced out with an incandescent half-side of super greens.
“Wait!” I cried out. Was it too late? Did they hear me? They were already ringing my order up, tapping aggressively on their register.
“Yes?” the cashier replied.
God’s light has shined upon me once again.
“May I please have an order of cream cheese rangoons?”
Fuck yes, dude, yes. Fuck, nothing does it for me like those incredible cream cheese rangoons. The flakey, buttery outside giving way to the creamy, soft inside melting in my mouth without a worry in the world. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for a cream cheese rangoon against the burning passion of my tongue at any given time. I would go to the ends of the earth and commit acts of treason for one of those babies. All of the love stories make sense when I’m high on life across from a pretty, little rangoon. My sweet, sweet cream cheese rangoons. I would become the villain in any universe if it meant I got to taste you one more time.
After circling around the downstairs seating area at least a hundred times like a starved vulture, I finally spotted my final destination. I sat down, opened my magical, little cardboard Pandora’s box and started chowing down. Every bite was pure ecstasy. Why do people do drugs when this sort of thing exists? The chicken that wasn’t chicken — every bite equally tangy and sweet, made of some unknown protein I can’t quite place my finger on. The honey-caramelized walnut shrimp — perfectly covered from mid-body area to tail in a delectable, sweet honey coating that gets increasingly nuttier the closer you get to the bottom of the pile where all of the walnut clusters lie in wait. The scrumptious chow mein, being exceedingly superior, makes for the perfect challenge in the stuffing-my-mouth-full-with-as-much-chow-mein-as-possible game, which I play with myself, alone in the UCen. The reliable super greens always balance out the meal with a yummy crunch that makes me feel alive again, pumping regenerative juices back into my brain and bloodstream. My body may be clogged with what is slightly more garlic than necessary but that’s okay, I wouldn’t change a thing. Chomp chomp.
I was tearing through my plate, eating and nom-nomming away like I had no other cares in the world.
That was when the trouble began.
No matter how many times I went back to each designated food section on my little plate, the portion sizes never seemed to deflate. I was stuffing the entire length of my chopsticks full of honey walnut shrimp, chow mein, honey walnut shrimp, orange chicken, super greens, chow mein, orange chicken, super greens, chow mein, honey walnut shrimp, honey walnut shrimp, honey walnut shrimp, honey walnut shrimp, super greens, super greens, orange chicken, chow mein, chow mein. It wasn’t enough. By the time I could not add another mouthful to the black hole that had become my stomach, I looked back down at my plate, defeated.
Panda Express had gotten the best of me again. Wait. Fuck. I forgot to eat my cream cheese rangoons.
Now Panda Express had truly gotten the best of me. I had overestimated myself, eaten too much thinking that I could finish it all, but I was weak. I couldn’t finish. I had failed.
Barack O’ Lee could chomp-chomp no more.