William, a subway car,
a Nathan’s Hotdog Cart
by Tasha Lawson
It was William’s worst day. And best.
He had finally given up on his venture of running a Nathan’s Hot Dog cart, returning it to the corporate office. With nothing but an eviction notice in his pocket, he sat on the subway, trying to think of what to do next.
Across from him, a woman smiled kindly as she observed he seemed down on his luck. She asked his profession.
“Well… I like to cook.”
A pause. “Ever cook for a hundred people?”
“It’s my specialty. Army mess hall.”
She smiled again. “I might know the perfect place for you.”
“William? I brought something.”
“Michael! What’s that?”
“I promised the children that next time I’d bring snacks. There was a Nathan’s hot dog cart on the way, so I took the opportunity…”
“Great! I don’t often serve hot dogs here.”
“I was riding the subway, and in one of the cars I met Sebastien. He told me he dreams of a quiet life Below.”
“I think it’s a dream about Sarah. He comes to her every day. They walk through the tunnels and whisper words to each other in corners.”
“William…they found love. Maybe there’s hope for you, too…”
A Lunch Treat
Kipper sighed in relief as Zach ran up with a handful of coins. He handed over his money.
“Hurry! He’s next.”
Zach dashed over to the Nathan’s hot dog cart. He returned as William exited the store and handed each of them two bags.
“Come on. I’ve got to start dinner.”
In a subway car, William eyed the children. “What were you two doing while I was in the last shop?”
The children grinned as Zach handed William a small package. He opened the warm foil package to find a Nathan’s hot dog with sauerkraut and mustard.
“Happy Birthday, William!”
The Last Straw
Sister John the Baptist exited the hot, crowded subway car. She’d gotten off about twenty blocks away from St. Francis Cathedral, but the walk would do her good. Around the corner, she was surprised to find the new volunteer cook for her soup kitchen shouting angrily at a truck driver apparently repossessing his Nathan’s Hotdog Cart.
“Wait!” the cook yelled. “My franchise fees are late, but I’ll have them next week! Please, just give me a chance!”
But the driver was adamant, and the cart vanished into the hauler.
“William,” the nun called gently. “How can I help? Tell me.”
by Linda S Barth
It was as if it had happened only yesterday.
From Bushwick to Surf Avenue in a fetid subway car. “How much longer, Opa?”
“Soon, Wilhelm. Remember, patience is a bitter plant, but it has a sweet fruit.”
He’d just hoped it had sauerkraut and mustard on top, too.
A vision cherished, eternal.
A boy’s hand in a grandfather’s grip. Identical grins on ruddy faces. The striped awning of Nathan’s Famous.
Echoes of pride and hard-won achievement.
“No hotdog cart for us, enkel. A dining hall – like the one we will have someday!”
A destiny fulfilled.
“Another delicious dinner tonight, William!”
By Cold and Hunger Led
by Carole W
William waited his turn at the corner newsstand, settling the wrapped bundle of borrowed magazines on the counter. “Thanks for these. See you got a new neighbor. Busy!”
“Guy’s a tightwad,” Willis growled. “No more’n four mustard squiggles on a Nathan’s dog?!”
A boy in ratty sneakers edged up to the vendor’s cart. “How much?”
“Same as yesterday, the day before that. Scram, kid.”
William hustled after the boy, down the subway station steps and into the last car. He slid a bill out of his money clip.
He knew the answer. For more than just food.
Lost in the World
by JoAnn Baca
“Which subway car should I get on again?” The nervous tourist gazed up at the oddly dressed man in desperation.
William, the oddly dressed man, sighed. The tourist looked frazzled, hungry, lost and tired. His tour bus had left without him, his luggage on it.
William remembered what the scared and hungry part was like. He’d been there. “I’ll take you to the DA’s Office. Lady there will help.”
He spied a Nathan’s hotdog cart. “But first – lunch.” He had enough to pay for a dog and a Coke for his charge. Didn’t really need mushrooms for tonight’s stew anyway…
by Katie A
Catherine found William quickly on the crowded subway car. They were meeting to check out a new food supply house.
When they left the subway, the aroma of roasting hotdogs greeted them, and Catherine’s stomach growled.
“Skipped lunch again?” smirked William.
They went to the Nathan’s Hot Dog Cart that was nearby. They each got a hotdog and a soda. They sat on a bench in the little “pocket park” that was nearby to eat.
“Nice little park,” Catherine commented.
“Yep,” answered William. “Nice place to take a break.”
“Maybe meet Wednesday for lunch? My treat.”
“It’s a date!”
The Hot Dog Event
by PearlAnn SnowStar
William looked around the subway car. The children were having a great time. He reached for the tongs on a Nathan’s Hotdog Cart. He began to put a hot dog together.
“No peppers,” Catherine called out.
“This was a great idea, Cathy. Never knew the city did this.”
She smiled. “The city likes to rent out old subway cars on unusable tracks for special events. The money collected goes into a charity collection. I also told the event photographer that we have our own character for the children.”
The subway doors opened. Vincent walked in, dressed like a fairytale prince.
by Rebecca Gibson
He shoved the cart forward. One guy fell, another stumbled – but two more were coming up the alley. A cold metal click behind him.
“You owe us.”
“I don’t have it.” The hot dog cart – his beautiful cart – was tipped over. Hot dogs in the gutter. Paper napkins floating down the block.
The guy grabbed William by the collar. “You better get it by tomorrow,” he growled, and shoved him backward.
William stumbled away, ran into the station. Hands shaking. Not fear. He closed his eyes against the red rage and heard the whoosh of the subway car door opening.
** NOTE! This is a steamy story!! **
To Thine Own Self Be True
by Jo Fredericks
The 2 a.m. chime echoed on the pipes. The Tunnel community slumbered, but for one who entered stealthily.
He had missed supper. There’d be hell to pay, but he didn’t care. The Nathan’s hot dog cart provided sustenance enough, his stomach happy with two he’d bought before riding a nearly empty subway car en route home.
He trod toward his chamber, his thoughts on the woman he’d left in bed Above. She said she loved the feel of him, the weight of him, his deft hands arousing her. It thrilled him, how she moaned his name when she came: William.