Saturday, January 06, 2007

Two







I don't know what to do.

I'm at a stoplight. A moment ago, the light turned green. I sat very still. I sat very still until the light turned red. I watched the digital clock in my dashboard until the light turned red. Now there are many cars behind me. I can see the steam rising from the hoods of the many cars and the many cars are all the same gray color and all the same model sedan and the many cars seem to line up to the horizon when I look in my rear-view mirror. I think, 'I wish all the people in all the cars would die, but if all those people die it would cause a major traffic jam, so I actually wish that all of those people would disintegrate with their cars and the road would be very ashy and dark.'

The light turns green.

I drive.

I drive my little Honda into McDonald's parking lot and park in the McDonald's parking lot and turn off my little Honda. The McDonald's parking lot is rectangular and wide and many rectangular slots have been painted by someone and the McDonald's parking lot is surrounded on all sides by rounded curbs. I think, 'It is a grid, a grid, a grid.'

I enter the McDonald's.

"Welcome to McDonald's," the McDonald's boy says. The McDonald's boy is thin and lanky and has many little pimples on his face and braces and he seems about to scratch at any moment but he doesn't scratch so I only imagine him scratching.

There is no other person inside the McDonald's.

"Where is everyone?" I ask. "Don't you need cooks or whatever? What about the drive-through? Who is operating the drive-through?"

"Robots," the McDonald's boy says. "It's totally automated." The McDonald's boy stares at me with little green eyes. "I'm lying," he says. "Everyone's taking a break. I'll probably be fine. I've never run the store by myself, but I'll be okay."

"You'll be okay," I say. "Do you like animals?" I look at the McDonald's boy's little green eyes. I think, 'Why did I say that?' I want desperately to ask the boy why I said that. I say, "Why did I say that?"

"I don't know."

"Wait, which question were you answering?"

The McDonald's boy leans against the counter. "Both questions," he says. "I was answering both questions at the same time. I think that animals are nice and I like animals or at least to see animals on television and I have a cat and a goldfish and I like the cat and the goldfish but if my goldfish or my cat was electrocuted to death I wouldn't be really sad or anything. Animals are probably like anything else, at least, you know, I wouldn't be sad if I broke my television or whatever. I'd probably just get a new television or a new goldfish."

I touch the McDonald's boy's hand and move my finger along his hand to his wrist. The hand and wrist are very hairy but the hair is smooth and soft. "You have soft hair," I say.

"Really?"

"Yes."

"Do you want a hamburger or something? You could have a value meal. I like value meals. There's a value meal with fish. There are value meals with chicken nuggets and chicken patties. With hamburgers. We have a lot of value meals. There are pictures up there." The McDonald's boy points at the back-lighted menu-board.

I sit on the floor, cross-legged. The tiles are very cold. I lean against a thick metal railing. I consider the menu.

"What are you doing?"

"I don't know."

The McDonald's boy moves his little green eyes around and the little green eyes focus on me and move around and focus on the ceiling. He begins to wipe the counters in a circular motion with a rag he pulls from his back pocket. The circles expand and contract and the rag is very damp and thin and the McDonald' boy's hands are moving the rag delicately and I think, 'He moves the rag so delicately it is beautiful, beautiful and I want to move the rag like that and hold the rag in my hand and move the rag in circles.' I think, 'I want I want.'

"I once threw a kitten at a window," I say. "It bounced around."

"Oh, okay. That's cool."

The McDonald's boy fixes his hair. He takes his hat off and combs his hair with his long fingers and his long fingers move slowly through his hair and his hair springs up in a sudden way and his hair is very black and shiny and it springs blackly and the light from the ceiling lights his hair and all of this hair and light and everything overwhelm me and I lean back against the railing until I can feel only the railing on my back and I breathe very deeply and I look at the floor and I hope the McDonald's boy has put his hat back on his very narrow head and covered his black and shiny hair.

"You don't understand," I say. "I'm like a serial killer. It starts with kittens." I look at the McDonald's boy's little green eyes and the little green eyes look back at me. I say, "It starts with kittens and then it's everything and you think about strangling all the time and, like right now, I'm imagining stabbing you in the neck. It is funny and strange, maybe, but I can see the knife in your neck and the blood moving around the counter and maybe your co-workers rushing around you and pulling the knife out, but it's too late and you're lying on the floor and your little green eyes are wide open and moving around and somebody's using your little rag to wipe up your blood in little circles and your long fingers are reaching for the rag but they can't reach the rag. Can't you see? This is how it is. It starts with kittens."

"Oh…"

"I'll take some chicken nuggets," I say.

The boy brings the nuggets. They are in a little cardboard box with little air-holes as though the little chicken nuggets were still alive and needed to breathe or something, but they're not breathing and they're not kittens and I'm not something or other.

I think, 'I don't know.'

"You can have those for free," the boy says. "No one will say anything."

"I probably wouldn't stab you," I say.

"Thanks."

I try to say something else but I can't say something else so I stand up and take the chicken nuggets in the little chicken nugget box with air-holes and move toward the McDonald's door with its square glass panels and stenciled logos and the chicken nugget box is very warm in my hand and door is very cool in my hand and I stand and think for a while about these feelings.

I say, "I'd probably take you home and make you dinner and help you with your homework or something."

I walk outside.

There are many clouds. It's afternoon and it's dark and there are many clouds and probably it's going to rain in a while and the cars will move slowly and there will be a loud hissing everywhere and it will be pleasant like television static and other things like that.

I hear my cell-phone ring-tone and pull my cell-phone from my pocket and turn on my cell-phone and say, "Hello."

It's my sister.

I don't know what to say to my sister. I think, 'It starts with kittens.'

My sister says, "Happy birthday." And my sister says, "Where are you? Are you going to Mom's house? What?"

I don't say anything and I don't even breathe because I'm afraid my sister will hear me and if my sister hears me my sister will expect me to talk and I can't talk to my sister in front of the McDonald's with chicken nuggets in my hand.

I hang up my cell-phone.

A man is walking by. He is very old and has long gray hair and a beard. The man has a green coat with many pockets that seem all at once useful and yet I think, 'What would a person use all of those pockets for?' It's a lovely coat and I want so much to have a coat just like it with many pockets and I would even think for a while and fill all the pockets and make the pockets very utilitarian and useful and nice. I hold out my chicken nuggets in their little chicken nugget box with air-holes. "Take them," I say to the very old man.

The very old man looks at me in a small way and I hold the chicken nuggets closer to him and he looks at the chicken nuggets in the same small way and his eyes become very round and tired.

"Don't worry," I say, "they're dead." I look at the very old man and his round and tired eyes. "They won't hurt anyone," I say.

3 comments:

Tao Lin said...

that was good

O Hunt said...

Thank you.

Gene said...

i am reading it now because i take too long to get around to things. i have a television and beer.

this is really good though.