SUNDOWN CLUB

BURGER

 

A SHORT STORY

WRITTEN BY TANNER JOHNSTON

It’s the moments just after the event that are the heart breakers. Those few moments of stunned disbelief right after the initial shock begins to dull and the edges of reality begin to come back into focus. A hack psychologist might even want to tell you that you go through the five stages of grief as it happens; I think I only went through two: denial and then anger.

 

I looked down to where my burger had fallen to the grimy tiled floor. Jackson Pollock’s rendition of disappointment painted in greasy beef, machine cut vegetables, and garbage bag condiments. Not the prettiest or healthiest burger even when it was still a burger; but motherfucker that was my greasy beef, those were my machine cut vegetables, those were my garbage bag condiments. Now they belonged to nobody. Wasted on the floor. The condiments returning to whence they came and not to my stomach to serve a greater purpose.

When I looked away from the ruinous remains of my meal, back toward the culprit for these moments of pain, He sneered down at me. Me, sitting in the corner booth of Uncle Mac’s Fine Food Greasery, Him standing over me, His hand still outstretched to His side after knocking my burger to the ground. He held that treacherous hand out like traffic cop, dramatically, and with the air of wanting real authority; but it wasn’t that hand, or what that hand did that got me to where I am now. It was His other.

 

In His other hand, fingers intertwined with His, a matching sneer smeared across Her face was Her. She, who had once sat across from me at this booth and shared the beautiful experience of Uncle Mac’s Fine Food Greasery now sided herself with Him.

 

Oh I’m grieving Doc and the train to my stage two is leaving the station.

And now I’m here, the gutter outside Uncle Mac’s. An ice pack pressed firmly against one side of my face, another on my knuckles. I had gotten some licks in, but I think he won; I’m still hungry after all.