I walked down the way to the neighborhood McDonald’s like I did every day. It wasn’t too far. I was very lucky to live within walking distance of the burger establishment. The day was nice enough. A bit hot, but there was a cool breeze catching in the trees of late summer. It seemed as if the heavens were smiling down upon me.
I walked into the McDonald’s and saw people all around me. Some were smiling as they ingested their reasonably priced burgers but some of them looked less than happy. I walked to the counter where Jim, a nice young man who regularly helped me with my daily transaction, smiled at me and said
“Hey Al, how are you doing today? Welcome to McDonald’s,”
“Thanks, Jim. I’ll just have my usual,”
“A Big Mac combo?”
“Well, Al, we don’t do super-sized anymore, but I can make it a large for you?”
“Large is fine,” I said, “I just really like saying ‘Super-Sized’,”
Jim took my five dollar bill and exact change and gave me my receipt which I crumpled and put in my pocket.
“Here’s your cup, Al,”
“Thanks, Jim,” I said, snatching the cup from his hand, I went over to the soft drink dispenser and filled my cup with very light ice and 48 ounces of ice cold Coca-Cola. I grabbed a large lid and a straw. I unwrapped half off the straw and then blowing into the straw, shot the other half of the wrapper into the trash. From there, I went back over to the lobby and waited, my arms crossed for my burger and fresh French fries.
I watched a lady and her son gather their food as they called out her order. She got a chicken wrap with a large French fry and her son had gotten a happy meal with chicken nuggets. The woman guided her son to a booth and they began to eat.
A skinny man who had rung up just as I had entered the McDonald’s came up to gather his four Spicy McChicken Sandwiches. I was marveled that such a skinny guy could eat so much food!
Then I heard them call my order out. BIG MAC AND LARGE FRENCH FRY? I went to gather my lunch and said to the lady behind the counter,
“Excuse me, miss? Can I get some hot mustard to dip my French fries in?”
The woman looked at me sadly with a smirk.
“You know, I’m very sorry, but we don’t have hot mustard sauce any longer. They discontinued it,”
“What?” I said, “There must be some sort of mistake. You see, I get hot mustard sauce everyday to dip my fries into. Are you sure you’re not just out?”
“Yeah, I’m sorry, sir. We simply don’t have it anymore.”
Her voice sounded slower each second. I could hear my heart thumping in my ears and my hands shaking. A great red rage began to overcome me as the woman behind the counter looked at me, her eyes filled with terror.
“You have to have some back there somewhere?”
“I’m really very sorry, sir. We are all out,”
“You can’t be all out!” I yelled, “You just can’t be!”
“I could get you some barbecue sauce, sir? The French fries are very good in barbecue sauce?”
“I don’t want the barbecue sauce! I want the hot mustard sauce! I come here everyday!”
It was then the anger overtook me. I threw my tray of food behind the counter and screamed ferociously as a coffee pot was shaken off the counter and crashed onto the floor.
“I want my hot mustard!” I yelled again, punching my fist into the Coca-Cola drink machine and knocking over the lids and straws, the salt and pepper and the little packets of ketchup. Some people began heading for the door, as others out on the patio looked in intrigue. I could feel their eyes on me as great globs of sweat began pouring down my face.
“I come here everyday!”
A manager came out from behind the counter, his hands out in front of him as he said to me,
“Sir, I’m very sorry, but I’m going to need you to calm down. You are being out of line. I’m sure we can solve this in a rational manner or I’m going to have to ask you to leave,”
“ALL I WANT IS MY HOT MUSTARD FOR MY FRENCH FRIES! THAT’S ALL I WANT!”
I felt my hand curl up into a stone fist and saw myself swinging at the manager. Next thing I knew he was out cold, as the rest of the restaurant exited out the door. I began flipping tables, I threw a chair threw the window where there was an ad for a new burger sandwich. I could see the red in my fists. I jumped over the counter and shouted my demands again to them employees. I grabbed a teenaged employee by the red polo and demanded that he find me hot mustard. I threw him down and he crawled out the drive-through window in fear for his life.
“HOT MUSTARD!” I said, “I COME HERE EVERYDAY!” I said, throwing the deep fryer onto the floor as cornered employees screamed in terror. “I DESERVE HOT MUSTARD!” I said. “I NEED HOT MUSTARD!”
I pulled the drawers of burgers out, I swiped the mess off the counter as I lurked closer and closer to the cornered workers.
“It’s not our fault!” they said to me, but I knew better than that. They worked for McDonald’s. They were McDonald’s. They were keeping the hot mustard all for themselves. They looked at me like I was the devil himself, but I knew I was in the right here. The customer is always right. I yelled it at them.
“The customer is always right!” I yelled. I was a hero, standing up for my rights. You can’t just give someone something they love then take it away from them. That’s not fair. I approached them even closer my breaths ugly and harsh now on their faces.
“Please don’t hurt us,” said one brave employee desperately, wearing their McDonald’s employee visor, “Here, here’s a coupon for a free Big Mac combo.”
“Oh, that would be great,” I said, taking the coupon and exiting the McDonald’s. The day really was nice enough. A bit hot, but there was a cool breeze catching in the trees of late summer. Maybe tomorrow I would go back and try the Sweet and Sour sauce.
COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2014
READ “IN REALITY”