“Dude,” said Zeke. “That’s not bacon, is it?”
Adam tipped his head so he could see inside his sandwich. The ends of two pieces of bacon poked out an inch or so beyond the bread. Thick, crimped, the reddish brown of old brick – Adam sniffed at it.
“You know what?” he said, sitting back up. His face was all soft and innocent, like he’d just had some big epiphany.
Zeke knew a stupid comment was coming his way, so he took a bite of his bagel. If he had to deal with stupidity, he might as well do it with something in his stomach.
“That must be what the B stands for,” Adam said. “B-L-T. Bacon, lettuce, tomato.” He shook his head, as if in awe. “Thank you, Zeke. So much.”
Zeke quickly swallowed his mouthful of cream cheese and bread. “It’s cancerous,” he said. “It causes cancer.”
Adam picked up his sandwich. “Bacon?” he said.
“Yep,” Zeke told him. “They said so yesterday.”
Adam nodded, and eyed his sandwich for a second. Then he brought it to his mouth and took a big bite, making sure he got plenty of bacon along with the lettuce, tomato, and mayo.
“Who’s they?” he said after a few chews.
“Scientists,” Zeke said. “Dude – the government.”
Adam set his sandwich down. “Wait, wait, wait.” He had his hands up, his palms facing Zeke. “Scientists? Or the government?”
Zeke aimed a sigh up at the cafeteria ceiling. “Scientists from the government,” he said. “Government scientists.”
Adam thought this over. Then he grabbed his sandwich and took another bacon-heavy bite.
“Bacon,” he said, squeezing the words out around the lump of food in his mouth. “Makes everything better.”
“Cancer?” Zeke said. “Bacon makes cancer better?”
Adam chewed. Swallowed. “Everything,” he said, and went in for another bite.
This time, when he pulled the sandwich away from his mouth, there was a fat, shiny blob of mayo on his chin. He left it there, and stared right at Zeke, and grinned.
“You’re a savage,” Zeke informed him.
“Got a nahkin?” Adam said, his mouth too full for ps.
Zeke looked in his lunch bag, but there was no napkin. He shook his head.
Adam set his sandwich down and, cupping a hand under his chin, got up from the table.
“Get me one,” Zeke said.
Adam gave a nod, then made his way across the cafeteria.
Zeke watched him, frustrated by how big an idiot his best friend could be. He turned away, planning to go back to his non-lethal lunch. But his eyes caught on Adam’s sandwich. On the bacon, in particular. It was reddish brown, with a marbly strip of fat running down the center. It was crimped. It was crispy.
It was cancerous.
Zeke checked on Adam. He was over at the lunch counter, saying something to the guy behind it. After a second, the guy stepped away, but Adam stayed. The guy must’ve been going to get some napkins.
Two seconds. Zeke knew that was all the time he had. And so, with his eyes bouncing back and forth between his best friend and his best friend’s sandwich, he reached out and snapped off a small piece of bacon. He put it in his mouth, fast.
It was salty. It was crunchy. It was delicious. It didn’t do away with Zeke’s frustration, but it did make things seem just a little bit better.