October 15th
by chris chromak

Mac was staring hard at the glistening burgers his mother was grilling. With every pop of grease fat his heart would flutter. The excitement was overwhelming. He had partially starved himself all morning in order to enjoy a slightly larger-than-normal meal. After all, it was his mother’s famous three-cheese-double-meat burgers.

"Mom, I can't wait anymore,” he barked.

"You're not ruining a dinner yet again by eating before the rest of us," she snapped.

Flustered, Mac ran into the house smacking a stack of mail from the counter onto the floor. He paced - simmering in anger - muttering to himself, "I'm starving as hell. What the fuck? Why won’t she just let me fucking eat? I'm dying of starvation. God--"

Suddenly from beneath him, Mac's feet shot out - slipping on the scattered bills. As he fell to the floor, a shower of colored envelopes confettied into the air.


Mac's head slammed against the linoleum floor. His skulled cracked. Blood spilled out. A deep maroon spread around him. His breathing slowed, and within minutes it stopped.

"Thuuuuuuuuhhhh," Mac gasped - waking free of pain - and filled with light. He hopped to his feet in a way never before possible - feeling ever millimeter of his body. He stretched like a lion. His eyes, needing no time to adjust, saw all that could be seen. He was no longer in his kitchen. He was somewhere else. Directly in front of him was a Roy Rogers.

"Holy shit! Fucking amazing! Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god. I'm fucking dead. I'm dead? Oh my god," Mac cried, attempting to understand. Suddenly warm, he glided up to the entrance. The door swung open with the beat of his heart. He was covered in a glowing light. The place was alive. Immediately he was greeted by the workers.

"Hello," one shouted.

"Good afternoon, sir," another called.

"I'll have a Double-R Bar Burger, please," Mac replied, almost singing along with the cashier.

"Huh? Oh, you must mean a double quarter pounder with cheese,” the cashier said smugly.

A ping went off in the back of Mac’s head. Panic set in. He turned up, looked at the illuminated menu - and there, written in a blazing ketchup red: MCDONALD’S.

Mac screamed, "Huh? What? No. No, this can't be! This is a Roy’s!!"

"I'm sorry Sir, I don't know anyone named Roy. Would you like to supersize your combo meal," asked the cashier, smiling.

"No! No! This isn't where I belong!!!," Mac yelled as he backed up. He reached the entrance - but found the door wouldn’t budge. He was pushing with all his weight, but still, it wouldn’t move.

“PULL,” he read.

Outside, the air was more difficult to breathe. His clothes were coated in the scent of stale potatoes and wet cardboard. He felt crowded. He was not alone. Turning his head, he found a statue of Ronald McDonald looming over him. Ronald's hair - ablaze and tangled - sat upon his head like a fiery halo. His red feet ghoulishly long and skin as pale as the moon were nothing compared to his wicked smile that brandished sharp teeth. He stood proudly with a look that said, "I've been here long before you. I'll be here long after you."

Mac attempted to gain control over his failing body. Wiping away tears and tremoring, he slowly put one foot in front of the other until he reached a jogger’s rhythm.

"What hell-world have I been brought to? What did I do to deserve this? This has to be a mistake," Mac wondered to himself.

Just over the horizon, he saw a face. A girl. A red-headed girl with pigtails.

"Wendy's!," he shouted. His heart calmed, and air seemed to come easier. He took off. He was running faster than ever. In seconds, he was there.

"Oh thank god, or should I say thank Wendy! Hahaha," he announced as he pushed open the door. But the door wouldn't budge - it had to be pulled. He looked up to find Wendy's eyes had narrowed, her hair shortened, her feet extended.

"RONALD?" Mac gasped as a scent of old oil penetrated his nose. McDonald's monopoly pieces tornadoed around his feet. Mac’s body felt lethargic. For a moment he felt the weight of the world. He was imprisoned.


Mac lost his balance and fell down what appeared to be a hill. He saw bright colors flashing by him and soon they surrounded every corner of his vision. He was in a tube, sliding, making sharp turns - ripping little bits of his skin off. Just when he thought he couldn't take it anymore, he splashed into a damp pit filled with plastic balls and body odor. Trying to find footing, he flapped like a bird with a broken wing. Giving up, he allowed his body to sink into the pit.

Closing his eyes he prayed, "Please God, I am so sorry. I swear I'll change my ways. I'll work out. I'll eat better. I'll appreciate my mom for more than just her cooking."

He opened his eyes – but a blinding light caused him to close them back tightly. He covered his face with his hands and peaked through his fingers. The ground rattled as a yellowish-red haze took over every inch of matter. Two shimmering golden arches broke through the earth. Walls rose around him. Tiles formed under him. Laughing, racing demon-children danced about him tossing plastic toys carelessly into the air. Soda fountain machines grew like weeds.

Calmed in defeat, Mac rose to his feet, walked to the counter, and whispered, "Ok I get it. I accept it. Ronald… you devil. You fucking killer of lives, keeper of souls. You have me. I'm starved and you are the only thing available. You’re what’s horribly convenient... one number four super-sized with a Coke."

“Welcome to Arby's, can I interest you in our Smokehouse Brisket?”

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