The smell of hot sauce premeditated the air. It was warm and spiced, causing the breather to feel the difference between the cold air and the warm scent. Was it a chili? A pepper sauce or a hot wing sauce. Was it on chicken? Did it really matter? There was hot sauce in the air, and the smell of hot sauce did something to Rudy that even Rudy didn’t understand.

To say that Rudy didn’t understand something wasn’t really saying much. There was a lot Rudy didn’t understand. For the sake of simplicity Rudy never truly explored the things on the every-growing list. Instead, Rudy stuck to facts. The black and white. Like one of those cookies that always ended up on the counter at home. From the counter, to the mouth, into the belly.

Hot sauce was – in many ways – a black and white issue. It was a sauce, it was spicy, and it had a smell that was distinct. To some it was delicious, to others it was disgusting.There were probably a very few in the middle who could eat it if it was on something premade, or who could take it or leave it. For the most part hot sauce was a black and white issue.

The way that Rudy’s nostrils flared when the smell slowly crept inside could be interpreted as general enjoyment. Keeping hot sauce still generally black and white. The way Rudy’s eyes fluttered closed and opened when the smell moved further back into Rudy’s throat, working its way deeper into Rudy’s senses. That could be seen as intense enjoyment and enthusiasm for the condiment. Nothing to step over the threshold of black and white. The way Rudy relocated to complete and utter privacy when the smell took route throughout Rudy’s senses, the sheer fact that the smell require complete and utter privacy, began to take the hot sauce across the threshold from black and white to a little grey. The feeling of tightness that pulled Rudy’s insides together into a tangled mess. The spread of goosebumps and raised hairs crawling across Rudy’s body as Rudy’s own personal hot sauce was rubbed across the waiting skin. As the hot sauce moved lowered down Rudy’s body, the grey area transitioned from grey to red.

A hot, fire red. A red of passion. A red of wanting. A burning red that stung the sensitive skin. A red that seared white against the black of Rudy’s closed eyelids. A sear that brought with it a rush of pleasure. One so harsh and moving the smell of any hot sauce would bring Rudy to metaphorical knees.

Various hot sauces had different effects. All of them far from the facts that Rudy stuck to, but each of them pleasing to the deep seated desires for which Rudy yearned. When the pleasure was reaching a point where Rudy might begin to visualize sharing a new bottle of hot sauce with another, more hot sauce was added and with an almost abrasive firmness until the feeling shut all thinking off. It was only Rudy and the hot sauce. It would always be Rudy and the hot sauce.

And when all was said and done, when Rudy felt satisfied and tired, a quick clean up would bring Rudy back – back to work, back to the shopping cart left tucked away on an off aisle, back to a show paused and waiting, back to the kitchen to grab another black and white cookie – back to a world of black and white.

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