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  • There were two convenience stores competing for my business. Hank's was on my side of the street. A local gas station with a small lobby and a grouch of a cashier. 7-11 beckoned just a few yards further with choices that could not be contained by walls. Even the billboard above the store's logo challenged me to choose between 4 different flavors of Mountain Dew. My lazy legs led me to Hank's where a quick look discovered four candy choices. Plain M&M's, Skittles in the red bag, three Snickers bars and a small bag of gummy bears. Instantly I knew I wanted something fruity. But did I really want Skittles? The kind in the red bag seemed too familiar. Nothing about cherry, lime, orange, lemon or grape excited my sweet urge. With a renewed sense of purpose I walked out of Hank's and across the street to 7-11.

    The beep the door made ensured the taquito shifting clerk knew a customer had arrived. I quickly became sidetracked with the salty snack aisle. Maybe Bugles or Combos would satisfy me better than something sweet. No, I shook that thought off. I walked to the end of the aisle and noticed my throat had dried out. My mouth was parched and the drinks beckoned for my attention. I examined the rows of cold drinks shouting at me behind the glass. Condensation collecting and obscuring the view just enough to trick my mind into forgetting what soda labels looked like. No, I thought. That is not why I am here. I rounded the aisle and walked towards the candy. So many choices. Pink and green wrappers yearned for my attention but the blue and yellow skinned snacks would not be outdone. Choose me!, they seemed to call out. My mind began to race and methodically play through each scenario. Choose taffy and it will last approximately 10 minutes. The Mike and Ikes will probably be too much for right now so I can save some for later but do I really want to put that box in my pocket and walk home? Down each path my mind walked. Playing out every choice complete with worst case scenarios of stale Swedish fish chipping a tooth. My mouth watered at each choice.

    Then, a red box with letters so desperate they were on fire called out to me. Choose me! Hot Tamales were the answer I had been looking for. I reached down and grabbed a box. Saliva overpowered my sense of reason as I walked to the register. The taquitos were sufficiently shifted and the clerk smiled as he asked if I would like anything else. I barely heard him. I wanted to rip into the box of Hot Tamales and feel the slow cinnamon burn on my tongue. I paid and walked out of the store.

    I ripped the top off the box and poured a handful of tamales into my mouth. Sweet release! The cinnamon burned any hope of tasting dinner. This is what I wanted, I thought to myself, right? As I began to cross the street my mind went back to what happened at Hank's. The four plain choices presented me there were not sufficient for my sweet tooth. But Skittles began to sound better as the burning intensified. Did I make the right choice? Guilt swelled inside of me as I thought about what could have been. How happy my tongue could have been tasting the rainbow. How annoying the maraca sounds coming from my pocket every time I took a step were. We were having Tacos for dinner that night and my taste buds were reduced to feeling the texture of each tamale instead of tasting it.

    Skittles would not have done that.
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