Iowa Writes

JEFFERY RADERSTRONG
The Heart of Darkness


I actually was kind of hungry. I looked at all the doughnuts through the plexiglass doors, through the empty plexiglass shelves that just showed more and more doughnuts. All kinds, filled, non-filled, glazed, plain, cherry frosting, bear claws, white frosting, blueberry frosting. And they were each only eighty cents, too. Except the ones filled with cream: they were a dollar.

But I didn't want cream. The third bite of every cream-filled doughnut I ever had always made filling spill out all over me. I hated that. I actually really like cream, I just didn't like it when it spilled all over me. Maybe these doughnuts had just the right amount so they wouldn't spill on me. I could ask. But that'd be stupid. I could just get one and see. They were only a dollar. And I could get a non-filled one, too, just in case.

But then if the cream was just the right amount, I would have two doughnuts, and I didn't want that. That'd be stupid, to have two doughnuts. I could give one to Joseph, unless he didn't want it, and then I'd have to throw it out. And I hated to throw out food. I really did. It is just so wasteful.

I actually was kind of hungry. I looked at all the doughnuts through the plexiglass doors, through the empty plexiglass shelves that just showed more and more doughnuts. All kinds, filled, non-filled, glazed, plain, cherry frosting, bear claws, white frosting, blueberry frosting. And they were each only eighty cents, too. Except the ones filled with cream: they were a dollar.

But I didn't want cream. The third bite of every cream-filled doughnut I ever had always made filling spill out all over me. I hated that. I actually really like cream, I just didn't like it when it spilled all over me. Maybe these doughnuts had just the right amount so they wouldn't spill on me. I could ask. But that'd be stupid. I could just get one and see. They were only a dollar. And I could get a non-filled one, too, just in case.

But then if the cream was just the right amount, I would have two doughnuts, and I didn't want that. That'd be stupid, to have two doughnuts. I could give one to Joseph, unless he didn't want it, and then I'd have to throw it out. And I hated to throw out food. I really did. It is just so wasteful.

So maybe I shouldn't get a doughnut. I tilted my head away from the doughnuts and looked at the pop machine. I was kind of thirsty too. They had root beer, and I loved root beer. I didn't really like the kind they had, but all root beer is pretty much just good. And each size was only fifty-nine cents. I could get any size for less than a doughnut. I could get as much as seventy-two ounces of root beer for less than the cost of one non-filled doughnut. But I didn't want that much root beer.

Or I could get root beer and a non-filled doughnut for just a dollar and thirty-nine cents, or a filled doughnut and root beer for a dollar fifty-nine. But that'd be stupid. Root beer and doughnuts would be gross, especially with filled doughnuts. But it would be less than two dollars. I'd never tried doughnuts and root beer before; maybe it'd be good.

"Are you coming?" Joseph called from the checkout line. I turned to look at him as he paid for the gas, his 20 oz. pop and a candy bar. He looked at me and not at the cashier as she gave him his change. He put it right in his pocket.

"Yeah. Hold on." I grabbed a non-cream white-frosted doughnut with the wax paper-like stuff they have below the shelves. I wasn't as hungry as I was before, but I already had the doughnut in my hand. The one I grabbed was pretty big, too. So that was good. I walked over to the counter as Joseph walked outside.

The girl looked at me. She looked tired. I glanced up at all the cigarettes above her head. There sure were a lot of choices, but I didn't smoke, so it didn't matter.

"Is that it?" she asked.

I nodded, and pulled out my wallet. I gave her a five and jammed the change into my front pocket, with my wallet, trying to not take up too much of the cashier's time.

I took a bite of the doughnut as a bell signaled my exit.

I finished the doughnut by the time I got into the car and threw out the wax paper-thingy in the trash bin next to the pump. I like to finish food before I get into a car because I don't like to eat in cars. The doughnut tasted good, but I've had better. It wasn't memorable, but it was good.

We pulled out of the gas station and waited for a light to turn red. Across the intersection was a building. On top of the building was a billboard for this comedy show on Thursday nights at 7:30. It looked like a good show. I should probably watch it sometime. I don't usually watch anything on Thursday nights.

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About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


JEFFERY RADERSTRONG

Jeffrey Raderstrong is a junior at Grinnell College. He has been writing since he could read, and is currently an Economics Major with a concentration in Global Development Studies.

This page was first displayed
on November 19, 2007

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