Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Belly Bombers

We used to call them "Death On A Bun." You probably had your own name for the White Castle "burger" or slider: a square patty of what you might call "almost beef", seared and then steamed, on a tiny bun, with pickles and onion sprinkled over top.
Nobody ate them sober. White Castle was the refuge of the late-night munchie run. You'd be in your car, the first waves of a hangover washing up on the shores of Lake Alcohol (this was back when it was OK to drink and drive) and realized it was three AM and you hadn't eaten since six, unless you count bar nuts or pretzels.
Your stomach had this instant pull in the direction of the "WC" (those initials were intentional, I bet.) It was as if The Force had taken control of you. You were helpless. You pulled into the lot, parked the car, and as best as you could, staggered to the counter where you belched out your order: "Sack to go, pleashe."
You paid, miscounted your change-- many White Castle countermen ended up paying for college with sacks of loose coins-- and stumbled back to your car, where you tucked in like a man in a stone dungeon eating his first meal in weeks.
Man, did they taste good! Well, I mean, they didn't, but they covered up the stale booze and cigarettes. You gobbled down the sack of twelve burgers, turned the engine on, slightly less inebriated, slightly more sated.
And you hoped, you prayed, there was no traffic because White Castle burgers had a secret ingredient: the patties were formed around a thin, thin shell of emetic and laxative, and if you timed it just right, your innards would fall out just as you reached the comfort of your own toilet.
Well, White Castle has decided that wasn't good enough.