McDonald’s is closed on Christmas, so the bitter loners come the night before.
They bear the frigid wind as they walk to their driveways, skid across icy roads to the closest McDonald’s in cars that have yet to kick on the heat.
But it’s too cold to go inside, so they order their ice cream cones from the drive-thru, require that their French fries be fresh, park in front to the pick-up window and demand to see the manager after the young cashier, three years post college graduation, who unsuccessfully searches Indeed.com for jobs in her field when business is slow, tells them that it’s 32 cents extra for barbeque sauce because they didn’t order chicken nuggets.
But the manager is too busy sipping sweet tea from the 12-ounce kiddie cups, meandering through the lobby that has been cleaned twice-over, looking for specks of dust to instruct idle crew members to wipe. He tells her to just give them the sauce because the cars behind them are waiting on double quarter pounders they ordered for their dogs.
But he forgets he sent the veteran on the grill home early to lower the labor, and the food is coming out much slower because the acne-prone teenager left alone to make the burgers only started a week ago.
So the dog lovers bark that it isn’t steak and if they wanted to wait, they would’ve gone to Outback, which closed their doors two hours earlier. The only lit signs for the next four blocks are the golden arches and the white-faced, redheaded clown beckoning weary travelers into the parking lot.
Now the college graduate is crying because this isn’t the future she saw for herself when she declared English Literature as her major, and maybe she should have gone into teaching even though she hates kids, but surely she can handle snot-nosed brats, better than hairless Grinches commanding their snarling German Shepherds to jump through the drive-thru window and bite off her hand in-lieu of two greasy, freezer-burned patties.
This isn’t worth $7.25/hour, she thinks, but teachers make considerably less, haven’t received a raise in the last six years. So she slams the window shut, locks it, closes her job search app, and dials 9-1-1 for more underpaid aid.
The flashing blue lights reflect off the snow like glass ornaments hanging from an artificial tree as the officer sits in his cruiser and eats the free dinner of an off-duty police dog, waiting for the troublemakers to return.
Day 3 of 31 Days of Holiday Hooligans