Friday, July 22, 2011

The Magic Hamburger

The young man tapped his foot against the railing in front of the counter. How long would it take to flip a coupla patties and stick em in a roll, he wondered.

The woman behind the counter eyed him warily. She hadn’t said anything to him yet, just nodded at his order. It was a long way from her native Latvia, and she was still nervous about her thick accent. Once, she’d said “Vont fry wid dot?” to a customer, and he had laughed at her. Brayed, actually, like a donkey.

Then the teenager had called his friends over and had told her to repeat herself. She had done so, blushing, and they’d slapped each other’s backs. One had mimicked her, and displayed his canine teeth in the way she’d seen TV vampires grin. “Bride of Dracula!” he’d quipped.

She reached into the pocket of the red overall and clasped the beads her grandmother had given her when she’d left. Smooth, round. Comforting. When she felt stressed, she could almost feel them heating up and calming her down.

Boba. Now there was a woman. She’d lived in the damp caravan most of her life, but was tougher than any of these city people. She was handy with an axe when it came to both wood and chickens, and was said to have the Eye.

The Eye wasn’t discussed over a bowl of beetroot soup, or chatted about during the bitter tea times they shared in the cold wintery mornings. The Eye was a whispered legend.

“Hey, how about getting a move on.”

The young man at the counter continued to jiggle his left leg and appeared to be sweating a little, the counter damp where he slapped his palm.

“Yes, Sor”.

She turned to the kitchen, but the cooks were laughing about something. One was digging in his ear.

She turned and smiled at the customer, who was slack-jawing at his phone, tapping the keys and mumbling to himself.

“Fat Cow”. She heard him say.

The beads boiled.

Smiling, she thought again of Boba: Boba with her sheath of herbs and her grey stockings which sagged off her knees. Boba whose body had aged, but had never lost that glint in her eyes. The look a young woman in love could melt the heart of a suitor with; the stare of a man going into battle with daydreams of heroism. Boba had that strange light that burned in the back of her black eyes.

The package came through the open window from the kitchen. She picked it up to hand to him, and was going to say “Thank you”, but the man snatched it and left, spitting in the bin as he got outside.

She panicked as she felt her apron burning, then, and patted it with her hands.

She imagined for a moment that she was Boba. Proud. Full of the mystique that centuries of tradition had laid upon her. Powerful. Dangerous. She muttered words that sounded rich and pregnant with meaning.

In her head, she saw the young man returning to the accountant’s office where he worked, filling in ledgers and flirting with secretaries. She pictured him polishing off the tasteless burger and feeling a little strange. Oh, how she laughed inside as she heard him say to his colleagues: “Moooo”.

He’d try and try again to bleat about the discomfort he was feeling, but all he could say was “Moo. Moo.”

The waitress spent the rest of the day grinning to herself, at the power she withheld. She forgot, just for an afternoon, how miserable she’d felt.

The young man went back to the office, and ate his food. He felt peculiar. One of the pretty secretaries noticed his face and asked him what was wrong. Nothing, he said. He didn’t see her turn the corner and laugh into her hand. She could hardly wait to mock him when she and the girls went outside for a smoke. What a jerk, they all thought. And they were right.



  1. Haha! That had me giggling the whole way through.

    "He’d try and try again to bleat about the discomfort he was feeling, but all he could say was “Moo. Moo.”"

    I could imagine his frustration!

    Very well done. I hope you do more of these :).

  2. Heh, thanks, Craig.. Sorta "tha Magic Finger" gone wrong. So enjoying plaing around with this medium.

  3. I Like! it when the bad guy "gets it"!


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