Author: Ken Carlson
“Good morning! Welcome to McDonald’s”
It was just after 11. The young brunette, Britney, was still going strong. She’d been on counter duty since 6, the friendly gal with cat eye glasses.
There was the early rush, the gaggle of seniors, a few travelers, some straggling students, and now it was light foot traffic until noon.
She was in a good mood, keeping her station clean, greeting customers with a smile. She’d heard complaints from her co-workers about working there, but she didn’t mind. She was young, it was a job, maybe she’d stick with it and go into management.
Clarke had been traveling for so long. He couldn’t remember the last human he spoke to. Everything was robotic and pre-recorded nowadays. He was weary. A trip to Micky D’s was just what the doctor ordered; comfort food, no surprises, just a fast food stop like when he was a kid.
A recent widower, Clarke, on the back side of middle-age, sought comfort where he could. He was as blue-collar as they came, down to his tool belt and steel toe boots.
He leaned on the counter and looked above. They’d added items to the menu since his last visit. A little embarrassed, at his age, if he couldn’t figure out what to order at the Golden Arches, what hope was there?
Clarke smiled and rubbed his eyes. “I’m sorry, I just need a minute.”
“Absolutely,” Britney responded with a warm nod. “Take your time.”
“You don’t have the McRib, do you?” Clarke asked.
“No, sorry,” she replied, “that’s a limited time offer. We hope to bring it back soon.”
“Got it. OK, I’ll have a Big Mac.”
“Would you like fries with that?”
Britney typed the order into the register. “One Big Mac and fries; and to drink?
“Coffee, black,” Clarke said.
“Big Mac, fries, and black coffee. For here?” Britney asked.
“Yes, thank you.”
“Would you like to sign up for our McDonald’s Loyalty Card Program?”
“It entitles you to protection from attacks involving competing eating establishments, as well as a free coffee after four purchases from our breakfast menu.”
“I’ll pass. Is the McLobster coming back?”
“Not that I’ve heard. That was also a limited time offer.”
“Have you been injured recently, on the job, while traveling, or in the home?”
“Would you like to be? Our legal offices are standing by.”
“No, thank you.”
“Did you want cloning or non-cloning while you’re here?”
Clarke paused. It wasn’t too long ago that McDonald’s only sold food. “Non-cloning is fine.”
“Virtual adult activities?”
“What does that include?”
“Your choice of sex, violence, or a combo meal of both?”
“Were you interested in joining our church and learning to be one with the universe and embrace all that it has to offer?”
“Does that come with anything?”
“A sense of community, a robust appreciation of life, and a yogurt parfait.”
“All right. As part of our value meal, would you like us to supply you with a new wife, husband, or child?
“No, I just had one. Maybe next time.”
“All right, sir. Here is your total. Did you want actual food or just the injected memory of it?”
“I am watching my weight. I’ll take just the memory.”
“That’s fine, sir.” Britney leaned forward slightly over the counter. Clarke leaned in and took the shot in the side of his neck.
A very old song played in his head… “You deserve a break today…so get up and get away…to McDonald’s!”