And so here he is again, throwing up behind a Michelin-star restaurant at eleven o'clock at night, one hand on a dumpster to keep from falling over, bringing up very little but bile.
“Griddled peach thing, right now. I’ve got a fruit hookup.”
He holds out the toothbrush.
He takes it.
"Thank you. May I see the peaches?"
He ducks under a counter and pulls out a crate.
Many of the peaches inside are odd-looking — misshapen, puckered, conjoined — but they’re all flushed with color, and the smell has already circulated through the truck.
He holds out one of the prettier specimens for him to inspect.
He takes it -- inspects it--
-- "give me those," he demands.
“—what, like — the crate?”
He pushes it forward anyway. This guy needs to eat more than he needs to serve the maximum number of griddled peach things.
"Yes -- I'll pay you -- what would you have sold them for, if you'd griddled them all -- one moment, I need to brush my teeth first," and he ducks back out of the truck.
...you know what? Sure.
He lugs the crate out of the truck and sets it on a table, and tapes over the pertinent line on the menu board. SORRY, PEACH EMERGENCY.
Behind the truck, the stranger is making his gums bleed and spitting into the storm drain. It looks like he'll be a minute.
...yeah, not running out of sympathy for this guy any time soon.
He hops back into the truck in the meantime, starts the fryer heating and resumes prepping. He does a lot of it at home — can’t make creme brûlée custard in a truck one batch at a time — but some things you can’t make that far ahead.
After a few minutes, the stranger reappears in the door of the food truck, now silently and single-mindedly devouring a peach.
“...glad I had something after all.”
He strips a sprig of rosemary into a bowl.
"They're good peachesh," he says, a little indistinct as he sucks the last of the flesh from the stone. "Thank you," and then he's biting into another one.
“No problem. Kinda seems like you needed it.”
The last stem of rosemary goes from counter to bowl, and he pulls his phone out of his pocket.
“You sure you want the whole crate?”
"Am I going to ruin your menu," he sighs.
“Oh — nah, it’s not a big deal. Just wanted to make sure. Sometimes I think I wanna eat a whole crate of peaches, and then I’m...wrong. You know?”
Tap tap tap.
“...card or cash?”
"Whatever's convenient. -- Do charge me as if you'd cooked them, really, there's no reason you should lose out on the business."
“...thanks. You don’t have to, but — I’m not gonna turn it down.”
He taps around a little more, then hands off his card reader.
"It's not a hardship."
He produces, and swipes, a card; adds a generous tip, when the screen asks him; turns down a receipt.
He puts it away, for the moment.
“What’s your story, anyway? Like — no pressure, but...you seem like you’ve got a lot going on.”
"...it's not so bad as all that," he says, between bites of peach. "An unfortunate confluence of circumstances, concluding with missing my connecting flight. But my luggage made it, and I'd eaten the last of my matzah two days ago -- I used to carry a jar of honey with me, but they won't let you do that on planes anymore -- and Presto had good reviews, so I thought I'd risk it."
"...not careful enough in the kitchen?" he hazards.
"Evidently! Who can't poach an egg?"
“...wait, so is this an allergy situation, or...”
"What? No, don't be absurd."