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Cautionary tale, commentary, Fiction, NEWS, satire, writing

One Cheeseburger Comin’ Up…Eventually

English: Source: Joshua Sherurcij

Image via Wikipedia

I checked at the prices on the menu and then peered through the diner window. It looked kind of friendly – I mean, immediately in front of me there was a guy in a booth with his head on the table and nobody seemed to be bothering him so… I hadn’t been in a restaurant of any kind for at least three years now…not since the Republicans got back into the white house in 2013. About five months after that my job was outsourced. But that was water over the dam and now was now.

I was glad that I had taken fifteen of the thirty-six dollars I’d managed to get over the last five days to launder my change of clothes, and buy a disposable razor at the $4.99 store. I had taken the fresh clothes over to the Grand Central Station men’s room, washed off real good, shaved, and changed into the clean clothes…so I was pretty presentable. I entered the diner, eased myself onto an open stool at the counter, put my sign down and leaned it against my legs. The counterman was at the other end taking an order from another customer – I scanned the menu above the coffee machine as I waited – the prices were the same. Good – I had twenty-one dollars left – just enough money for a burger, a drink, and a small tip. Finally, he came over.

“Hello, would you like a glass of water? It’s only a buck all week.” Somewhat in shock, I mumbled a no thanks. “So what can I get you today?” he said pleasantly. “Mmmm…I think I’ll have the cheeseburger medium rare and a side of fries – please.” He yelled back to the kitchen “one Mister cheeseburger with,” then he said, “and to drink?” I scanned the board “ummm…a Pepsi?” I said. “Awesome” he said…and then; “that’ll be ready tomorrow about…” he looked at his watch…” four-thirty – would you like to sleep overnight in a booth or on the floor? The floor’s cheaper.” I looked at him for a sign of a smile because I knew he was kidding me, right? Nothing…not even the faintest sign of a smile. “Well?” he said, “Booth or floor?” He stared at me. “The booths are pretty comfortable, and the floor tends to get a bit cold at night…but it is cheaper- only fifteen bucks.” I looked at him, again hoping to see a smile, a grin, a whatever. “Excuse me? I don’t exactly understand what you’re talking about…why would I want to sleep here overnight…and why are you telling me that my cheeseburger isn’t going to be ready ‘til four-thirty?”

Now it was his turn to look at me as if I were the one who was kidding. “Funny” he said to me with a smile, and walked away. I watched him get some plastic utensils out of a drawer, “Napkin” he looked back and asked…”Is it free?” I said. He laughed “yeah sure, it’s only fifty cents though.” I shook my head “no”. When he returned and placed the plastic utensils down in front of me I smiled – so as to keep it light – and I said. “I’m funny?” (Big smile.) “Okay – but I really have no idea what you’re talking about.  Look, can I just get a cheeseburger medium rare and a Pepsi…I gotta get back to my corner – I got a real good spot today, okay?” “Sure,” he said, as soon as we can get you outta here we will.” He gestured over to the booths and then I noticed that besides the man I had initially seen when I looked through the window, there was a couple sleeping in another booth, and then I noticed the guy at the end of the counter nodded out.

Suddenly, an alarm clock sound went off from yet another booth, and a lady lying on the booth seat jerked awake, looked at her watch, yawned, then sat up and stretched. A bell sounded, “One ham and cheese sammy, pick up” came a voice from the kitchen window. “Is that mine” the lady said still half asleep. The counterman picked up the sandwich and brought it over to her. “Is my coffee in? She asked. “I’ll check” he said, and came back behind the counter, peeked into the kitchen window and mumbled something, got an answer, and went back to the lady. “In about an hour, sorry…there’s been a little delay.”

By this time I had no idea what was going on. Like I said this was the first time in years I’d been into a restaurant of any kind and I’d been on the bum panhandling and living off of what I could scrounge out of other people’s garbage. Today had been a good 18 hour day, I had taken in four more dollars, cleaned up, and still had enough to just this once sit down like a person and get an actual fresh  cheeseburger, and damn I was gonna enjoy it, even if it did cost me the whole twenty-one bucks. I motioned to the counterman who came over, “Excuse me, can I ask you what’s going on? Why did you say my burger will be ready tomorrow afternoon?” He looked at me as if I had just come from another planet. After a somewhat long pause while we just looked at each other, and after he finally saw I was dead serious, he said; “You don’t know do you? It’s being made in China isn’t it…what do you expect?”

A cheeseburger.

Image via Wikipedia

© tony powers and Barking in the Dark, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to tony powers and Barking in the Dark with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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About barkinginthedark

Tony Powers is a writer/actor/musician. His full bio may be seen by clicking on the picture, and then clicking on either of the 2 boxes below it.

Discussion

31 thoughts on “One Cheeseburger Comin’ Up…Eventually

  1. So I like to go in Bloggers vaults at times . Lo & behold I picked one that could be our future.. I mean has a really good possibility of all this coming true and the $4.99 store.. Boo-Hoo!!!

    You wrote so many good thoughts that I wonder do you have the inside scoop on something? Hmmm…

    Like

    Posted by free penny press | March 22, 2012, 12:27 am
  2. Well, I have had this in my inbox longer than it took you to get your cheeseburger, but I’m so glad I saved it to read when I had time. Loved the $4.99 store.

    Like

    Posted by worrywarts-guide-to-weight-sex-and-marriage | January 24, 2012, 10:57 pm
  3. This was a surreal story – and the punchline at the end. Yes: indeed. This was great, Tony. I hope your job wasn’t truly outsourced though – hope this is just an expression.

    I love your writing – straight.

    Like

    Posted by WordsFallFromMyEyes | January 24, 2012, 12:26 am
  4. Wasn’t it Bill Clinton that “normalized” trade with China and wasn’t it Clinton that signed NAFTA? I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today…

    Like

    Posted by Tom | January 23, 2012, 9:16 pm
  5. Whoooo! The free and unfettered market in all its glory. The race to the bottom is that legendary slide down the razor blade into a vat of alcohol.

    This is a great satire of where we are heading.

    Like

    Posted by lisahgolden | January 23, 2012, 3:24 am
  6. This is upsetting because it rings true on man levels, and sad because those who really should read this probably never will. Perfection, Tony…..

    Like

    Posted by MJ, Nonstepmom | January 23, 2012, 2:12 am
  7. That’s sort of terrifying…

    Like

    Posted by anotherboomerblog | January 23, 2012, 1:19 am
  8. Wow. Hit me in the gut -hmmm pun- on that one.
    Wish I could do a laugh out loud, but it hits too close to home..lessness.
    Your story is sweetly sad with a wonderful knock-out ending.
    Thank you Tony. It made me tear up about 10 minutes after reading it. which is the mark of something good in my book; one remembers it, and it makes a mark.

    Like

    Posted by Rachael Black | January 23, 2012, 12:40 am
  9. Haha, nice one. You made the point I was going to make in comment to your previous post. The Reps can’t stand them damn Commie’s, that’s Socialism with a hard-on ……………….but they’re in their pocket, literally.

    Like

    Posted by Single Malt Monkey | January 22, 2012, 3:22 pm
  10. Yikes. Scary. It’s an enjoyable read though, and beautifully crafted. Thanks!

    Like

    Posted by SusanWritesPrecise | January 22, 2012, 2:16 pm
  11. Satirically humorous but more frightening with the reality the GOP would love to do this. In regards to Newt today, I’m glad he won. This is showing that the repub’s really just cannot determine which is the least of the evils. I’m also getting a bit tired of the media ignoring Ron Paul. No, I am not an RP groupie, but he is, after all, running for the GOP Candidacy and he needs to be heard fairly. Oh, wait… we’re really not a democracy any more. Sorry, I forgot….

    BTW…. listening to your CD. LOVING IT!!!!

    Like

    Posted by She speaks.... | January 22, 2012, 3:48 am
  12. Wow. You summed a not too distant apocalyptic future better and faster than any scifi piece I’ve ever read.
    And scarier, because it potentially ain’t all that distant…
    Rock on, Tony!

    Like

    Posted by El Guapo | January 22, 2012, 2:59 am
  13. ugh, reading this after seeing Newt win S.C. makes me want to puke in my tea. What a cluster f**k.
    Clever post.

    Like

    Posted by Frugalistablog | January 22, 2012, 2:52 am
  14. LOL… I drew a cartoon this morning with a similar theme of Republican newly elected…cough cough gag…. President who had not only outsourced American jobs but also AMERICANS ….there is something dark and dangerous going on in this country…most of it fueled by the HATE the contempt for a man of color…This is not only elect a repub because he has my visions but more let me vote a white man back into office even if he is not the best man for this country …even if his policies are not in my best interest…Scary times…

    Like

    Posted by V. Lyn | January 22, 2012, 2:45 am

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