Yes…no…a small order, perhaps?Posted: March 11, 2016
He paused, leaning against the side of his car and taking deep breaths to center himself before the ordeal that lay ahead.He spent just a moment tipping his head back and enjoying the sun shining on his face before pulling himself upright and heading toward the front door.
A tingle went through his body as he put his hand on the door handle–a tingle of anticipation? Possibly. He was confident that today would be the day that he made this decision. A hugely false smile plastered across his face, he pushed.
His face fell when he read the four letters spelling out PULL. Maybe today was not going to be the day after all. He covered his shame with a coughing fit, and pulled the door open.
The smells mingled in his nasal passages, grease and coffee and industrial cleaning solution. He assumed that the cleaning solution was a good thing to smell, unless the employees simply dumped it in the trash cans to give the illusion of sanitation. That was a distinct possibility in this economy. No one had passion for the job they managed to snag because it was the only job they could get. Not that he blamed them; he felt the same way about pushing papers behind the scenes at the bank. But at least it paid better than flipping burgers.
He shook his head to clear the distracting thoughts . Pay had no bearing on the mission at hand. He put his shoulders back and strode semi-confidently toward the counter to place his order.
The cashier in the dingy ballcap stared vacantly at him, loudly popping her gum.
“Well, whaddaya want?” she demanded, annoyed that he had interrupted prime counter-leaning time.
He froze, the words caught in his throat. He managed a small cough, and choked out, “D-double burger, please.”
“Fries with that?” she rolled her eyes at his hesitation.
He was not prepared for this question, and it wounded him to the core. Fries are such a commitment; so many of them in that little box. Maybe–no, he had no one with whom to split an order. The panic rose in his chest, threatening to engulf him completely as he watched the girl grow more and more impatient with his indecision.
In the end, it proved too much for him today. Without a word, whimpering in mental agony, he turned and bolted for the door, not slowing until he ran straight into the side of his car, fumbling for his keys to unlock to door to make his escape.
The cashier watched him through the glass storefront, popping her gum in time to the sound of his feet slapping the concrete. The manager would be pissed, she thought, smiling. He’d put all his money on today.
Her bet was that the man would never place a full order. The pool was edging up on two hundred bucks, and that amount of money buys a lot of gum.