Tag Archives: Chicken Sandwich

“Chicken Sandwich” – Fiction by Rebecca Ann Jordan

Chicken Parts - Frederick Sommer, 1939
Chicken Parts – Frederick Sommer, 1939

The dotty narrator of “Chicken Sandwich,” Rebecca Ann Jordan‘s contribution to our Fall 2014 issue, just wants to make the world a better, pink-slime-free place. All that’s standing in her way are McDonald’s corporate interests… and those pesky demons in her blood. 

{ ONE }

ONE WEEK AFTER GETTING MY NEW JOB AT MCDONALD’S, I go to the doctor because it hurts to walk. I’m told I have an in-grown toenail, and I need surgery to fix it. It’s going to be a death sentence; it’s dead winter in Colorado, I live alone and I have no social life except for my mom’s occasional calls and now my coworkers too, and after the surgery it’s going to be two months of recoup time, during which I will not be able to walk on my foot except to go to and from the bathroom.

{ TWO }

After a day of feeling sorry for myself, I think maybe I should pick up one of those old dreams that used to haunt me. I could sew, once upon a time. I Google the only fabric store in a 50-mile radius and drive an hour down a dirt road and pull up into the driveway beside a ghost-town lemonade stand. In the distance there is a fence, presumably with cows behind it. Lunch break done, I drive back to work without getting out of my car.

{ THREE }

Maybe with my last days I should try to change the world in a small way. This has never occurred to me before, but the impending two-month death has me thinking clearly. I have never been the lucky sort, but “You’re up, kid,” says the manager (whose name is Reba and who I think is a lesbian), because the fry cook dies suddenly in his sleep. I guess it’s not hard to do if you fall asleep in your car. I notice immediately the pink slime that the media is having a heyday about: the unnatural chicken parts. It’s a responsible choice for the earth, so I decide to turn vegetarian.

{ FOUR }

I try a hand at my hobbies again. With my first two weeks of wages I buy a digital camera that can do a bunch of things I’ve never heard of. I spend my lunch hour wandering around the parking lot photographing broken bottles, as though it’s some metaphor for the state of the world or my broken toenails. Speaking of toenails, they’re victims of the camera too, at night in my bathtub, with the camera strap dangling in the water and my toes on display against the tile wall.

{ FIVE }

I start getting rejection letters. The camera gets a time-out in the trunk of my car. I leave it there indefinitely, just in case.

 { SIX }

I join a local meet-up for vegetarians. We eat hummus and carrots, which somehow reminds me of snapping off dirty toes. There is a baby-faced man named Arnold who whispers something about a co-op. I don’t know what a co-op is, but I’ve never been interested in group sex.

“Now,” says a teeny little woman of 60 years, “let’s talk conversion. You’re new, so just watch, but feel free to chime in. What we want is to show the world about the horrific crimes that happen when we eat animals.”

“I work at McDonald’s.” I say this to prove my ethos.

Instead they all begin to scorn the sort of people that enable places like McDonald’s.

I second-guess my decision to be a vegetarian.

 { SEVEN }

“I want a chicken sandwich with fries.”

I overlook the fact that fries have not exactly been outlawed by the FDA yet, but they can still kill you, like everything. “We’re having a special,” I lie, “on Big Macs.”

“Oh, I don’t eat beef,” the man with the stiff hair and stiff tie says. “Just the chicken sandwich, please.”

“No. I don’t think you understand. It’s cheaper with the Big Mac. I can take the patties off.”

“What I want is a chicken sandwich.” I think this man hates me, but doesn’t he know I’m trying to save his life?

“Please, please buy the burger.”

The man leaves. Apparently Reba thinks I show promise because she lets me keep my job in the back, where I don’t have to talk to anyone, just keep plopping pink slime onto the stove.

 { EIGHT }

McDonald’s is open until midnight. I trudge through the snow at one in the morning. The parking lot has been cleared by salters but I put my boots down where the grass used to be and where the crystalline snow now is, because it gives me immense satisfaction to make my mark, like the satisfaction of breaking tiny bones.

I don’t know why I never noticed this before. On the balcony above my unit and three units to the left, there is a woman who is naked from the waist up. She leans over the balcony, smoking a cigarette, and her hair is curlier than mine. She probably gave up trying to tame it when she hit puberty. I think, with the moon behind her like that, wouldn’t she make a great photo? I run back to my car on the tiny bones and find my camera in the trunk. When I come back the glass door slides closed, and I can’t see inside because it is so damn bright out with the moon. I go into my apartment and run a bath. Continue reading “Chicken Sandwich” – Fiction by Rebecca Ann Jordan

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