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Dumpster Mustard

by Kevin Alonzo Bratcher 2 months ago in fact or fiction

Some people have all the luck

Watson came to in the rusty dumpster behind Pal’s lounge with a splitting headache and a sore ankle. He started piecing together how he got there when he noticed his head was covered in dried blood. Must have really irked someone in the bar, he thought, something Watson tended to do after a few pints of Guinness. He felt the small gash above his eye and decided he was fine; the eyebrow area would bleed vociferously from a paper cut. It looked worse than it was. Climbing to his knees he began to take inventory of his surroundings. It was all trash: newspapers, beer cans, a shredded leather barstool seat, exactly what you’d expect to find in a dumpster behind a dive bar. While stumbling to his feet Watson noticed a small plastic container near the corner. It was somehow wedged there so that it wouldn’t come out during any trash pickups. Watson shuffled over and wiggled it free; he fell backwards into the trash heap when he realized what it was.

He was holding a container of French’s yellow mustard. He gave it a shake. It was about a quarter full, he couldn’t believe his luck! To go from waking up in a dumpster after what was clearly a rough night to finding a jar of mustard, talk about a 180! And it was French’s at that! The most beloved brand of mustard of them all. He quickly put it in his pocket before anyone else could see and climbed out of the dumpster. His ankle didn’t hurt so much after his lucky find, he was a brand-new man.

“Mustard prices have reached an all-time high,” blared the TV playing outside Pal’s as Watson rambled down the street to his car.

He grinned at his good fortune. Ever since President Musk nationalized mustard, the demand had skyrocketed and it was nearly impossible to find. Recently released studies proved that mustard seeds were three times more efficient at storing energy than lithium and became the de-facto input for electric vehicle batteries. Tesla and its competitors had all but eliminated gas powered cars and occupied 98% of the world’s production of mustard seeds. A secondary market for mustard grew from the pent-up demand and the most popular brands became the most valuable overnight. In the six years since the nationalization, mustard prices rose over 34,000% on the secondary market with Grey Poupon going for over $54,000 per ounce.

Watson guessed his find amounted to about 4 ounces of mustard and was worth at least $30,000 if he could find the right buyer. While in the safe confines of his car, Watson pulled out the container and took a good long look. The bright yellow brought him back to his childhood eating Dodger dogs, watching Mike Piazza and the hopeless Dodgers in the sweltering summer heat. After placing it on the passenger seat for a few pictures, Watson uploaded every angle to MustardList.com and listed it for $32,500. When he got home, he took a much-needed shower followed by a nap.

Watson woke abruptly to someone loudly banging on the back door, which led directly into his room. The door handle rattled furiously and shouts of “Watson!” and “I know you’re in there” rang out. He quietly got dressed, grabbed his French’s, and walked through the kitchen into the living room where he could climb out the side window without being seen from the backyard. Quickly walking around the front of the house he saw another man waiting in a car smoking what smelled to be a Newport. Shit! Watson thought and took off running. They must have found out about my mustard, or maybe they have something to do with last night. Either way this wasn’t a friendly visit.

“Help, I’m being chased!” Watson screamed as he rounded the corner and saw an old Buick creaking down the road. The driver, old Miss Grenwald from down the block, recognized Watson immediately.

“Who’s chasing you dear?”

“There’s no time!” Watson hollered as he jumped in the back seat. “Floor it!”

Now Miss Grenwald was old, but she was no slouch behind the wheel. The Buick had more pickup that Watson expected, and they were soon clear of any danger.

“So, tell me dear, who was chasing you?” Miss Grenwald asked again.

“To be honest, I’m not sure, but there are a few reasons I may have angered some folks around here.” Watson was unsure if he should tell her about the mustard.

“Oh you kids are always getting into something” Miss Grenwald chuckled. “Where would you like me to drop you off?”

Maybe it was because she didn’t ask, but Watson needed to tell someone about the mustard. “They were chasing me because of something I found this morning” He blurted. Without revealing that he woke up in a dumpster, Watson continued “I came across some mustard this morning and someone may be looking for it.”

Miss Grenwald glanced in the mirror, “Lucky for you, mustard is hard to come by these days, what are you going to do with your gratuitous find?”

“I have no idea; I’m just trying to sell as soon as possible. I have it listed on MustardList, but I haven’t done much else.”

“What do you have it listed for dear?” Miss Grenwald asked.

“$32,500, but I’d take less if I could just get rid of it.”

Miss Grenwald slammed on the brakes and whipped the Buick into an AutoZone parking lot. She turned around aggressively and proclaimed, “I’ll give you $20,000 right now. You can leave it in the car and your problem goes away.”

“You have $20,000 in this car to buy mustard?” Watson asked confused. “And how would I get home carrying that much money?”

“Here” she said handing him a small black notebook. “Welcome to the 21st century. Inside that notebook is the link to a crypto exchange website with a key and password for you to access the wallet. I have deposited $20,000 of Litecoin in that wallet and it is all yours if you leave the mustard here and take the notebook.”

While Watson should have stopped to consider why someone like Miss Grenwald might want mustard or why she would have a notebook with $20,000 of crypto ready to hand off, he didn’t. He was ready to move on from last night and move on with the bird he had in hand. “Thank you, Miss Grenwald, I hope you enjoy the mustard and I’ll see you around,” as he got out of the Buick with the black Moleskine notebook in hand.

Next door to the AutoZone was a small hot dog shack. After quite the day Watson strolled over for a “world famous” hot dog. He sat down on the curb with his freshly grilled chili dog topped with onions and thought, man, I wish this had a little mustard.

fact or fiction
Kevin Alonzo Bratcher
Kevin Alonzo Bratcher
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