Hot Button Hernando and the Missing Snack

Hot Button Hernando and the Missing Snack

Mary finds that one of her favorite treats is completely undocumented on the Internet. She searches many sites, tries several spellings and finds that nope, the Internet has no idea this popular snack exists. She begins to question this snack. Do other people know about it? Is it actually a “popular snack?” Eating this snack starts to feel like eating air. She gets light hallucinations leading to migraines every day.

One day, when she goes to the doctor to get a headache prescription, she sees … her double. This girl looks just like the protagonist, from her Hot Topic blue streak of hair to the mole just above her right collarbone. The girls approach one another and talk in the waiting room, while nervously paging through respective copies of Highlights.

It’s uncanny. Both of them have two parents, parents who look just like them and even passed down the habit of eating peanut butter and banana sandwiches in the middle of the night. There was no way this was some Parent Trap shit going on. Instead of getting to the root of the problem, they decide to shun the society that is giving them so many migraines and take a road trip to California in the stolen schoolbus of Mary’s manic friend Kyle.

Once in California, they land a gig co-starring in an indie action flick called Hot Button Hernando. Kyle joins a skateboarder troupe and begins popping acid on a regular basis. Every time Mary sees him, he seems more and more illogical, and she wonders if Kyle is shaking loose latent schizophrenia.

Soon, he becomes obsessed with the space/time continuum and the idea of parallel universes. He stops going to skateboard parties and shuts himself in his room, where he maps the entry of the protagonist and her double into a drawing of a  mirror subuniverse that should not exist. It all begins with the snack, he insists, which should not have been in that universe at all and is thus not on the Internet.

The girls ignore him and continue to party with their indie film friends. While on the set of Hot Button Hernando, the double, stubbornly insisting upon performing her own stunts, is killed in a bull-riding incident. Shocked, the protagonist and Kyle ride the bus back home. While idly surfing the net, the protagonist Googles the snack and receives 2,030,423 results.

Becky Lang thinks “snack” might be one of her favorite words.