Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Meat and Potatoes

I’ve now added “Meat and Potatoes” to the stories and poems page. It’s pretty funny. Feel free to comment here if you like.

Here’s a bit of background:

I originally wrote this as part of my application to NYU’s film school. They wanted a story about gluttony. I sent them a story about giant hamburgers in a Texas BBQ joint. I don’t know what they thought of it, but after choking in my interview, they wait-listed me and then accepted me a few months later. By that time, I was working in the Austin film scene and leaving to rack up huge student loan debts wasn’t so appealing anymore. When I finally did go to grad school at UT, I rewrote the story into its present state for a writing seminar. The teacher, a serious and talented writer named Zulfikar Ghose, asked me to read this to the class at the end of one meeting. I read it, wondering why he had selected this one. By the end, everyone was laughing and Ghose was in tears from laughing so hard. Over the next few semesters, it wasn’t uncommon to be approached by people who were in that class and would laugh when they saw me and reminisce about the day I made Ghose cry.



  1. Bob’s BBQ no longer exists. The Texan, a great homecooking restaurant now dominates East St. in downtown Hutto. And the hippo is NOT a relative of the pig. Not even close. Its closest living relative is the whale

  2. Mahlon, Thanks for reading the story and for commenting. I need to point out that this is a work of fiction. I had no idea there was a Bob’s in Hutto. I wrote this back in the early ’90s and I had never even been to Hutto (only through it) but it seemed a convenient locale for an imaginary BBQ joint.

    As for the hippo/pig/whale issue, the hippo and pig are related, though much more distantly than was once thought. It was in the late ’90s that the DNA evidence showed the relationship to the whale. The story was written before then (~’93), when the pig was still considered the closest relative. I opted not to change to story because it’s still a funny line in the context of the story.

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