In olden times, you had to look to the pages of The New Yorker for your daily dose of highbrow short fiction. Soon, you won’t even have to put down your football-sized burrito, and after lunch, you’ll have more than just three pounds of carnitas to digest: Chipotle recently announced that it has partnered with Jonathan Safran Foer (who by now has no doubt eaten his weight in vegan burrito bowls) to bring short stories by the likes of Foer, George Saunders, Toni Morrison, and Malcolm Gladwell to its bags and cups.
No more will there be grains of rice stuck in between the pages of that paperback. No more will green chile sauce leak into the speaker of your smartphone. No more will your e-reader be crusted with dried guacamole.
This highly visible new outlet for fiction got us thinking—what other potentially valuable literary real estate is going undeveloped? Here are 6 more places we’d love to discover our new favorite author:
I don’t know about you, but there are few more awkward spaces for this introvert than a crowded elevator. And by “crowded,” I mean “an elevator occupied by anyone other than me alone.” You can’t even play with your phone, because no one’s going to believe you get a signal in there. My usual M.O. is to stare straight ahead and pretend my peripheral vision isn’t working, so why not give me something to read while I’m doing it?
Otherwise useless receipts
I think we can all agree that the purchase of a donut doesn’t need to be an ink-and-paper transaction, but that’s not the way the modern world works, and my wallet remains stuffed with shamefully stashed receipts for impulse junk food transactions I’d sooner forget. Might as well give me something to read in the 15 seconds it takes to eat an entire jumbo Snickers.
It’s finally warm in Chicagoland, which means the brigade of ice-cream trucks is out in force. Remember when you were a kid and you got those popsicles with a riddle on one end and the punchline on the other, and you had to eat the whole thing to uncover it? Let’s bring back the O. Henry–style twist ending, and enjoy a Dove bar while we’re at it.
I’m not trying to be crude here, but we all have to use the bathroom, and we’ve all read that our phones are dirtier than a toilet seat, so you do the math. Keep that thing in your pocket and read “the paper” instead.
Those annoying stickers on a piece of fruit
I hate those things with the white-hot fire of an Andy Rooney diatribe. So why not give me something very short to read while I try in vain to scrape all the adhesive residue off of my increasingly bruised apple?
Speaking of phones, my most pressing first-world problem is usually that I’ve left my charger at home, which means I’ll keep pulling my phone out only to remember I’ve got nothing more to stare at than a darkened screen. So why not invent some sort of technology that will fill it with text that can be read when the power’s off? Get on it, smartphone makers of the world—if you can manage to invent a new charging cable with every updated phone, you can handle this.
Where would you like to read a short story?