How to Eat a Car

 In Short Stories

All right, you’d better buckle up that seatbelt because I have got one hell of a story for you today. In fact, you could say this is less of a story and more of an instruction manual. So, get ready to learn How to Eat a Car! (Oh, and you might want to keep the sick bag handy too. Just saying.)


How to Eat a Car

Step One. You’ve got to plan ahead.

You can’t just wade in there and start eating the damn thing. Think of the smallest car you can. What about one of those new electrical ones, can park sideways in spaces too small to fit a regular car. That’s still a ton of metal and rubber and plastic and glass, and all sorts of synthetic shit that you’ve got to shovel down your mouth and swallow, and then pass through your system. I’m not going to say digest, because you can’t digest none of that shit. It’s just got to pass through, until you crap it out the other end.

And it’s gonna hurt like a fucker.

That’s why you’ve got to plan ahead, and think how you’re going to do it.

Most people don’t realise that.

When Sharkman announced he was going to eat a car, the internet went crazy with speculation on how the hell he was going to do it. Sharkman was famous for eating impossible shit. But this was something else. An entire car, live on a twenty-four hour video feed.

“I always said he was a crazy bastard,” Mel said.

She was lying on the couch in just a pair of panties, smoking a cigarette, one arm draped over her face. I hated it when she did that, just let everything hang out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticising her for being fat, we’ve both piled on the pounds the last couple of years, I just don’t see why she has to display it like that. It was hot that day, I know, but she could still have worn a tee, or something. Those rolls of fat, just disgusting, man.

“We should go see him,” I said.

Mel took a drag on her cigarette. “No way. You ask me, the guy’s a loser. He was cool, once, like when he used to eat people’s cell phones. Yeah, that was cool, man.”

That was back in the day when the Sharkman had been at the height of his fame. He had his own TV series, where he used to go out on the street, and grab people, and persuade them to let him eat some of their stuff, the more outrageous the better. Some people thought it was magic, or sleight of hand, but nobody ever got anything back. Once he’d eaten it, that was it, it was gone.

The first few episodes of Sharkman’s Gonna Eat Ya! didn’t make much of an impact. He ate a cheap digital watch, some loose change, an entire copy of the New York Times, shit like that.

It was when the woman challenged him to eat her baby’s diaper that the show really took off. Sharkman was in Central Park, and he’d stopped to talk to these two young girls, and one of them had a kid with her, and they were sitting on a park bench, a buggy parked next to them, and surrounded by bags of baby stuff. Sharkman did his usual thing, explaining to them who he was, that they were on TV, and that he wanted to eat something they owned.

The one girl, she said, like what, I can say, like, eat my panties, and you’d eat them?

You give me your panties, and I’ll eat them, Sharkman said.

The other girl, the one holding the baby, she said, what about my baby’s diaper?

Sharkman didn’t bat an eyelid. He just said, sure, I can eat that.

The two girls looked at each other and squealed, like he’d said the funniest thing. And then the mother, she turned back to Sharkman, and she said, the thing is, he’s just done a crap. You gonna eat that too?

And Sharkman said, sure, why wouldn’t I? I’m the Sharkman, I’ll eat anything.

 

Step Two. You’ve got to break that fucker up into manageable chunks, before you start eating it.

When I get my teeth into something, I can be a stubborn son of a bitch. Once I’d said it aloud, we should go see him, well, that’s what I was going to do. And I was taking Mel with me. She took some persuading, but I can usually talk her around, given enough time. She started in at first bitching about how it was too hot to move, and how she didn’t want go putting clothes on, and heading outside where it was going to be even hotter than in here, even though the apartment was like an oven.

I told her she was being a lazy skank, and it was no wonder she was piling on all that lard, sitting around on her fat ass all day, and eating crap. That got her moving, sitting up at least, and she pointed her finger at me, and told me I was mean, and how come I’d got so mean, when I’d been so sweet when we first met.

Maybe that’s because you were about sixty pounds lighter back then, I thought. But I kept that thought to myself. I’d already riled her enough with talk about her weight, and it had worked, it had got her up. But if I took it too far, it would backfire, and she’d go into a sulk, and lie back down again.

Anyway, it wasn’t like we had to walk all the way across town to see him. Sharkman was eating the car in Central Park, scene of the diaper eating moment.

That was the turning point for Sharkman. That episode went viral, and the following week, it seemed like the whole country had tuned in to Sharkman’s Gonna Eat Ya!, just to see what he was going to eat next.

Because, when the mom took the baby’s diaper off and showed it to the camera, yeah the baby had crapped all right. I don’t know what she was feeding her kid, but that baby’s shit looked radioactive. If it had been night-time, and not the middle of the day, I swear it would have glowed.

So, Sharkman, he took the diaper, and he held it close to his face, and had a good look at the contents, and a good whiff, too. He liked to play this part up, whatever it was he’d been challenged to eat, like maybe he’d finally met his match, like maybe this time he might actually fail. Or even worse, he might flat out refuse to do it.

It was all just an act, and everybody knew it. He went through the same routine every week, but he always rose to the challenge.

Never once failed.

Only this week, yeah, this was maybe the one where he took the bullet, man.

I mean, this was a diaper full of baby shit. Fucking neon coloured, glow in the dark, toxic baby shit. But finally he hunkered down on the ground, and he got out some scissors, and he started cutting that diaper up into bite sized chunks, and he popped them in his mouth, one by one. Didn’t chew on them much, just swallowed each one down. And when he’d finished, his fingers were all covered in baby shit, so what did he do? He licked his fingers clean, that’s what.

The following week, the ratings for Sharkman’s Gonna Eat Ya! shot through the roof, and Sharkman was a national hero.

 

Step Three. Believe in yourself.

I know, I sound like one of those crappy life coaches, promising you three steps to permanent health, wealth and happiness.

It’s all bullshit if you ask me.

But if you’re going to do some crazy ass shit like eat a car, you’re gonna get some people who’ll try and dissuade you of the notion. All right, it’s not a Hummer, or a stretch Limo, you’ve gone the sensible route, and chosen yourself the smallest car you can find.

But still, at the end of the day, the fact remains, my man, it’s a fucking car.

Now’s the moment when you’ve got to believe in yourself.

A lot of people will point out the exact moment where it all went wrong for Sharkman, and they could be right. It’s important to discuss that, and I’ll cover it in Number Four.

But me? Nah, I think it all went wrong right here, at point Number Three.

Sharkman just didn’t believe in himself anymore.

Mel finally got dressed, a strappy top and shorts, and a pair of sandals. The top didn’t reach her shorts, and so you could still see her flabby belly hanging out, and the stretch marks.

It was fucking baking outside. You could’ve cracked an egg on the sidewalk and you’d have had it fried in a minute straight, I’m not shitting you.

So we took it easy, heading west, down 54th Street. Before we’d got very far, Mel’s hair was plastered to her scalp, and her face was red and blotchy, and the sweat was dripping off the end of her nose.

We had to stop halfway there so she could get herself a Dr Pepper, a two litre bottle for fuck’s sake, and one of those humongous bags of Doritos, could feed a family of four for a week.

“We could have a picnic at the park,” she said.

Fucking Mel, that’s all she ever thought about, was eating.

When we got to Central Park we had no trouble finding Sharkman, he was surrounded by a huge crowd of onlookers.

What they’d done, the TV show producers, they’d had a massive, oblong box built, out of steel and glass, and stuck it in the middle of the park. Sharkman had been locked inside with the car, an old VW Golf.

Today was a Sunday, and Sharkman had been in the box just over a week. Another couple of weeks, tops, and he was supposed to make his grand exit from his glass prison with no sign that he had ever been sharing it with a car. His first couple days in the box had started off well. He’d got the tyres off and scarfed them down, and then he’d made decent work of the upholstery and the roof lining.

But when he got to the rigid plastic, and the metal and the glass, he had started slowing down.

Me and Mel, we managed to push through the crowd and get to the front. To be honest, Mel’s my secret weapon here. She just doesn’t give a fuck, and the size of her, you’re gonna get out of the way, or you’re gonna get squashed. So Mel did the pushing, and I just did the following.

At the height of his fame they ran five seasons of Sharkman’s Gonna Eat Ya!, and they could have run five more, he was so popular.

But then came the episode with the crying boy.

Sharkman’s doing his thing, out on the streets, asking people to challenge him to eat something impossible. To be honest, this is starting to get difficult now, as most people know he can eat just about anything you can name. He still gets the occasional bad ass challenge, though. Like the old guy, who said Sharkman could eat his dead wife’s ashes. That one had to go through the court before they let him, but he did it, even though he had to drink, like, two gallons of water to get that old boy’s dead wife down.

So he stops a mother and her boy, and the kid’s crying, and the mother’s shouting at him, and she offers up the boy for Sharkman.

“Eat the kid,” she says. “I’ve had enough of him, eat the little bastard.”

Of course, Sharkman didn’t eat the boy. But he made a big deal of pretending to, really put on an act, you know, and the kid starts screaming and wailing, and getting so upset, one of the crew stepped in to put a stop to it.

But it was too late.

Seemed like the entire fucking country turned on Sharkman, said he’d gone too far, accused him of terrorising that poor kid. Hell, there were celebrities going on TV saying it was child abuse. Can you believe that?

Ratings plummeted, and then the show got cancelled, and Sharkman disappeared out of the limelight.

Eating the car was meant to be his big comeback.

So there he is, my hero, the Sharkman.

The dude looked like shit.

Sharkman, he was standing by the car, wearing nothing but a stained pair of boxers, and his flabby body was running with sweat and blood. Yeah, Sharkman, he’d put on the weight in the years since his show got cancelled, looked fatter than Mel, which I hadn’t thought possible. His eyes were bugging out and he was shouting, flecks of blood flying from his mouth and hitting the plexiglass wall.

“They should end it,” a woman said next to me. “The poor man’s gone crazy, they should let him out.”

“No way,” her husband said. “I wanna see him eat the car.”

 

Step Four. You must never give up.

My dad always said, you tell someone you’re gonna do something, you’d best follow on through and do that shit, no matter how unpleasant it gets.

Sharkman said he was gonna eat a car.

He should have eaten the fucking car.

Me and Mel, we sat in the park for maybe an hour or two, Mel stuffing her face with Doritos, and watched Sharkman pacing up and down, shouting and spitting flecks of red.

Someone must have called the paramedics when he sank to his knees and started coughing up great dollops of scarlet blood. He coughed up so much he ended up kneeling in a pool of it.

Then the paramedics arrived, and took Sharkman away, and that was the end of that. There was some moaning and bitching about how he never ate the car, but really, what did people have to complain about, it was a free show, right?

Me and Mel, we headed back to the apartment, and Mel bitched all the way about what a waste of an afternoon that had been, and what a loser Sharkman was.

And I looked at her waddling along 54th Street, and I thought about that red patch she got between her thighs whenever she walked anywhere, because her legs were so fat they just rubbed together all the time. And I thought, what a fucking mountain of lard you are, and I thought, not even Sharkman could eat you.

That’s what I’m thinking now, as I look at Mel lying in the bath, that big, ugly bruise on her forehead where I smacked her one with the crow bar.

Not even Sharkman could eat you.

But I think maybe I could.


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Comments
  • Joan MacLeod
    Reply

    Hi Ken,

    Loved the story, thanks for sharing.

    Joan

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