Barbecue From Hell (A Flash Fiction Story)

“You don’t eat meat? What the hell do you eat then?” asked my host, wearing a shirt that said democrat for the ‘irony’ of it, as he explained it to me upon my arrival.

Here we go, I thought to myself. How do I answer this? All eyes turned to me, all strangers, me in a place where I just DO NOT belong.

“It’s a choice. I choose not to eat it.”

“Why the hell not?” said another, bigger man with a shaved head and a wife-beater.


I don’t even know what to say. I feel ridiculed, scorned, picked on. This is the first anyone has talked to me at this party, and I don’t even have a response that they could possibly understand. And I can’t REALLY stand up for myself, because she works with some of them, most of them in fact, considering this is a company picnic. I hate Fourth of July.

Last year, I went to my friends’ house, a nice couple I’ve known for years. I was single, they were having a small get together, and they were all-foods friendly. They even had a small extra grill for the Vegans who wouldn’t even let their veggie burgers touch something that touched meat. These were my people.

I thought if I stalled long enough, this particular group would suddenly forget what they were talking about and move on to some other topic. After suggesting tying me down and shoving food down my throat, the wanted distraction appeared.

“Can you believe what that <insert the n-word> in the White House did this week? It’s called the White House for a reason.”

Good God. Where in the hell am I? And where did my girlfriend go? I look up the hill where she disappeared with her cubicle-buddy ten minutes ago and try to psychically call her.

“Bullshit. Utter bullshit. Do I really need this Obamacare crap?”

“And you know, I got into a line for it the other day, and I had to wait thirty minutes! Thirty!”

“Me too!”

So they hate it, yet still are already trying to sign up. Nice. I can’t believe this. I could be with that same couple from last year. They invited me. Or my parents’ house. Or sitting alone at home reading a book. Even diarrhea would be better than this. No lie.

I guess I must love my girlfriend for letting all this happen without a peep. Maybe I should tell her. Maybe I should wait until after this travesty in case I change my mind.

“Oh did you see my new bumper sticker? It’s genius, absolute genius.”

Oh no, what now?
“I saw it!” said one of the women as her face lit up. “It says-“

He cuts her off. “You’re in America. Speak American!” They all start laughing.

I wasn’t aware American was a language. I thought about saying so, but figured if I wanted to get out alive, I should probably just keep my liberal mouth shut. They were, after all, already onto me.


Is it?”

“Best sticker ever!”

I actually even think the My Other Car is a Nimbus 2000 Harry Potter sticker is better than that. Even a Twilight sticker is better. I was always a fan of Mr. Yuck as well.

A man in an apron with the body of a naked woman on it (and I don’t mean the bikini-clad woman, I mean naked) came in and said, “The pig’s roasted! Burgers are ready! Come and get it!”

The host started ushering people towards the pavilion. As they all left, I was only one left behind with him.

“Hey, buddy,” he said to me. “Want some pig, or a burger?”


10 responses to “Barbecue From Hell (A Flash Fiction Story)

  1. conradvisionquest

    ugh. i dread gatherings like that. and the part of the country i am in, the bible belt, has the same mindset. but, your story is well written and hilarious! glad you survived it.

  2. Great story. Well written. Really relatable, even for the carnivores.

    It’s one of those stories where you know the ending was perfect for it, but you still want to keep reading.

  3. conradvisionquest

    oh, i get it, it’s FICTION! duh! excuse me while i wipe the egg substitute off my face.

  4. Hehe, reminds me of a time when we did not tell people that something a friend made for a party was vegan, and it was praised to high heavens by someone as “good as the original recipe she had as a kid.” But I’m sure had we labeled it as “vegan” nobody would’ve touched it.

    Now I’m intrigued about this story… his girlfriend wanted to go to this party, so does it means that she is a member of the Tea Party and likes these people?Or do people in the US often go have 4th of July BBQs with their colleagues instead of friends and she felt forced to go? I only have my movies and my couple of years of experience to give me cultural background information. And my books, which told me that Americans love to organize not only BBQs, but “ice cream socials”, so I can’t really trust that information 😀

    • Haha CLEARLY she felt obligated to go. Would a girl who would date a boy like him condone such actions? It’s supposed to be implied that she would never approve of such actions 🙂

      • Pete help me if I ever have colleagues who decide on a work-related BBQ on a national holiday… I have once walked out of a 4th of July BBQ because once we were “tricked” into going to an event with the kind of people we did not want to be with (not quite as bad as in this story, but close…)–even after we had asked whether they will be there and the answer was oh nooo, they won’t be. I guess I have some tolerance to learn 😉

      • Ack, forgot my main question!
        Would a girl who would date a boy like him condone such actions?

        Would a girl who would date a boy like him work with a bunch of Tea Partiers? It says maybe something about the work place if many, if not all of them, have opinions like that. And then it says something about the person working there, and tolerating this behavior, you know? That’s why I was asking… not that it makes her a bad person, but it explains a bit why they are there.

        And the world is a funny, complex place: I’m a staunch atheist, but I have some Christian friends. I know vegans who date omnivores. So it would not be totally impossible for someone very liberal to date a non-liberal, if both of them had not too much fire in their bellies for politics–hence my question. 🙂

  5. love this one 🙂

  6. I’m really liking these little stories.

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