Midway through the fifth season, I found a sick bird fluttering on the ground while I was walking to and from the center of town. It looked alert and fine and none of its wings appeared to be broken, but it couldn’t keep its head up. I sidestepped around it and then I came back. I carried it in my hands for an hour and dripped water into its beak from a water fountain until I found a styrofoam cup and kleenex from a sports memorabilia store and brought it home with me.
It didn’t last the night. Calls to pet and feed stores yielded dubious responses asking if I was looking to break its neck or leave it. My dad told me to wash my hands. Finally, someone told me to put it in a warm box with a blanket with a shallow dish of water and let it relax and check on it in the morning. When I last saw it, it was peevish and fluffed in the water dish, as if swimming, and I dried it off and plucked it back on the blanket. In the morning it was splayed out like a fossil. I put it in a box. Stupid gay yankee in the South. Wild birds aren’t easy to rehabilitate. I spent the day working out and looking at the outside. How bizarre must it be to know you can fly but lack the ability to summon the flutter. Just call me Flattery O’Connor, harpy of the Smotherin’ Gothic. Does this have to go back to a food narrative? Must it? It’s the only meaty, consistent, saucy vein that runs through this website and I like for things to have a purpose even when they don’t. So yes, without further ado, I honorably present and wholeheartedly apologize to the makers of My Brother’s Salsa. MBS happens to be made in Fayetteville, Arkansas, sharing its place of creation with the lackluster party I went to last night at a club, where everyone sang the lyrics to Hank Williams Jr. karaoke in the back and knew what Colorado bulldogs were and how to order them. But I purchased it at the Fresh Market in the outdoor shopping mall that engulfs my hotel. Eloise would wet her bed for a narrative like this– not only living in a hotel, but within walking distance of a massive amphitheatre and a shopping mall.
And in that Fresh Market, I found delicious salvation- this salsa reminds me of my favorite hot sauce, Torchbearer Tarnation, in a smoother, less hair-raising form. I can’t find the photo of the label, but I assure you it was greased with my greedy fingerprints. The large slices of peach don’t feel obtrusive or difficult within the finely blended salsa, but add a welcomed texture and sweetness to the carrot-habanero heat. It’s a solid medium- enough to break a sweat, but forgiving, always merciful.