Choke

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-1:1 Ratio of Plastic Waste to Fish by 2050!

-73% of Deep Ocean Fish Have Eaten Plastic

-Help! We Are Drowning in Plastic!

That's enough internet for today. Not like I can do anything about it. I have a dinner date at Ash's favorite seaside bistro. I'm headed for the car when the wind tangles a plastic bag around my ankles. Ugh. Here's the problem. People can't pick up their own freaking garbage. The bag is filthy. There are no trash cans around. The minutes are ticking on. I can practically hear Ash tapping her foot. Screw it. I kick the bag free. The bag drifts right to the gutter and clogs the drain. The street sweeper will be by tomorrow. They'll pick it up.

It takes fifteen minutes to find parking for a five-minute drive. Chalk it up location but the food is superb. Ash is at our table, fingers tapping like I've kept her waiting hours, not a few minutes.

"Did you order already?"

"Of course," she says, "You always order the same thing anyway."

"Tried, tested, and true."

She rolls her eyes as the waiter sets two steaming plates down, pasta alfredo for Ash, herb crusted salmon for me.

The first bite is heaven, sweet, savory, flaky fish, so fresh you can practically taste the sea.

"I can't believe you're eating that, with everything on the news," says Ash.

"Oh come on, not you too. Look, I'm sure science or the big guns will figure something out. Can't we just enjoy our dinner?"

She huffs. I take my second bite. My teeth hit a solid object. A bone? It doesn't have the feel of one. I isolate it with my tongue and extract it. A half circle of clear plastic twitches between my fingers. What the hell?

"Something wrong?"

I debate flagging down the waiter. It's probably a fluke piece of packaging that snagged in the fish.

"It's fine." The next bite tastes fine. Until I try to swallow. I gag, something stringy and large caught in the back of my throat. I can't choke it down. I can barely breathe. My eyes water as I reach into my mouth to pull it free. This time, it's slippery between my fingers as I fight to yank it free.

Ash watches me, impassive. "Something wrong?" She repeats.

I try to gasp for help. I finally manage to tug part of the object free. My eyes widen as the end of a muddy plastic bag emerges from my mouth.

"The waiters are busy," says Ash. "Maybe I could flag down the owner. Huh, he's not here either."

I don't answer. I can't answer. I'm gagged, slowly suffocating, as I desperately try to claw the bag free.

"We could wait for a doctor to come in. Someone qualified."

I flop on the table, too weak to continue. I watch, helpless, as Ash sips her wine.

"Don't worry, I'm sure someone will come along to help."

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