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Fast Food Crisis
by Walt Giersbach

Another blah Saturday night since Blythe broke up with me. Nothing to do but watch TV and weep. Or, oh joy, I could go to Burger Busters and order junk food for dinner. Whoopee.

I got home with my sodium and carb bomb only to find Burger Busters had pulled a switcheroo. I ordered double chicken filet with bacon and they gave me a bowl of … something. Looked like chili, but didn’t taste like it. Maybe Chinese chili or something with five spices and hoisin sauce. Did I need this, me working two jobs, and making car payments, and—Blythe insists--suffering terminal halitosis. Had to eat something or Blythe would find a desiccated corpse when she came back to return my door key.

First bite and I almost lost a tooth. Just what I need is dentist bills. Last time, he said my teeth were okay but the gums had to come out. Well, what it was is this metal thing, like a big subway token or get-out-of-hell medallion for church. Didn’t look like it would get me a transit ride cause it had weird writing all over it. Could have been one of those English dishes they put a coin in at Christmas, and you have good luck if you don’t choke to death.

Then there’s banging on my door so loud I dropped my spoon.

“You have my food, I believe,” says this little guy looking like a fireplug covered in black hair.

“Your food?  I’m eating my food that Burger Busters gave me. They even called me a ‘guest’ at their establishment.”

“No, is my food.  I order…” and he says something in some foreign language.  “The token, the winner, you have it in your hand.” 

He pointed and sure enough I was holding the thing in my fingers. 

“Give it me!” And he lunged. I’m not in too great shape, but I ducked his arm and gave him a chop on the neck. Well, shoulder. Last workout I had must’ve been in high school.

This pissed the little terrorist and I tried to slam the door when another guy came up behind and clipped the fireplug in the back of the head. “He would cheat you like he cheat me,” Terrorist No. 2 said. “So, is mine, no?”

The fireplug recovered and drove his hairy fist into No. 2’s stomach, then they were both rolling on the hallway floor outside my apartment.

“Hey” I shouted, “what’s this all about?  You want the bus token?” and I threw it down the stairs. “And take your Chinese chili with you.” The Styrofoam bowl followed the token down the stairs and the two terrorists rolled over each other trying to follow the stuff. “I’m going back to Burger Busters and get my double chicken with bacon, then I’m calling the cops.”

Jesus, and this used to be a nice neighborhood. I started to slam the door when Blythe came up, sliding by the terrorists who’d taken their fight to the lobby.

“I’m sorry I said you had bad breath,” she said putting her arms around me. “Forgive? Smooch smooch?”

“I’ll take a big breath,” I replied.

“Both breaths?  And I’m only thixteen,” she lisped.

“Good girl. You knew the punch line. So, let me buy you dinner at Burger Buster. They’ve got something new on the menu.”