Fast Food Avengers: The Chicken Wars (Part 2)
today at 7:14 am
Paul Tree drove his pickup truck to the Farmer’s Market. He parked with the half a dozen other trucks who arrived around 6 am.
He looked down and saw a new text from his wife.
Look who’s up early 🙂 (chef emoji)
In the photo was his 7-year-old son standing on a wooden box in front of the oven. He had X-Men pajama bottoms on and no shirt. On the counter was a tall glass of chocolate milk, an Incredible Hulk action figure, and three brown eggs. Paul could see the handle of the frying pan on the stove top.
“Morning, Paul,” Maggie said. She waved, each hand holding bunches of lettuce. She set the lettuce down on the table between the spinach and green onions.
“Morning,” Paul said with a quick head nod.
When he met Maggie a year ago, Paul left the conversation with a 33% split that her name was Maggie, Meghan, or the why-would-I-remember-this-if-it-weren’t-true option of Maxine. Since then, he’s never committed to a name, resorting to quick, “Morning,” or, “Hey, how are ya?” replies. Lately, Maggie has dialed up the pressure by always throwing in a Paul. “Morning, Paul.” “Can’t complain, Paul.” One time she threw in the Holy Grail of guilt trip; swapped out, “Alright,” with, “Paul-right, see ya later!”
Paul grabbed a stack of egg cartons from the bed of his truck. He set them on his table and rolled out his laminated sign. His booth used to be next to Maggie’s, but recently she moved to the coveted high traffic spot between “Honey 4 Yo Money” and “Greg Chee’s Grilled Cheese.” Paul’s booth was now sandwiched between “Tom’s Tomatoes” and “Daryl’s ‘Double Dog Dare Ya’ Peppers.”
“You know what you should do,” Daryl said, “if you don’t me saying.”
“Go ahead,” Paul said. He taped his menu on the table.
Carton of Eggs: $9Half a Dozen: $6Dozen Hard Boiled Eggs: $15
“You should sell chickens too,” Daryl continued. “Wings, breasts, thighs. Seriously, you know what you should do, if you don’t mind me saying. Don’t mean to intrude on your booth.”
“Chicken sandwiches. You see those lines at Popeye’s? Heck, every time I drive by Chick-Fil-A, they’ve got cars up to wazoo. One by me’s got two drive-thru lanes now. They can’t keep up. Everybody loves a fried chicken sandwich.”
“Do love a good chicken sandwich,” Tom said. He put two large beefsteak tomatoes on the table.
“Yeah, I hear ya,” Paul said. “I only use my chickens for the eggs, though.”
“Yeah?” Daryl asked. “Some kind of moral thing? Hey, I respect that. I respect that.”
Daryl paused for a second.
“But with all due respect,” Daryl continued.
“Please,” Paul said, waving his hand.
“Isn’t an egg just like a… baby chicken?”
“Well, not exactly.”
“What came first though, am I right,” Tom chimed in.
“The chicken or the egg,” Tom said with a grin.
Daryl let out a hearty laugh. Paul didn’t quite follow the punchline.
“Oh, that’s a good one!” Daryl said. “Oh, one more thing. Meant to tell ya last week. My wife tried one of your hard-boiled eggs.”
“Yeah? What’d she think?”
“Eh, she chipped a tooth.”
A man wearing a blue hospital mask and a hood approached Paul’s table.
“Excuse me,” the man said in kind of a Batman whisper.
“Yes? How can I help you?”
“You need to get out of here, right now. Follow me.”
“There’s going to be an attack and they’re coming right after you. Pack up your truck. There’s no time. Let’s go.”
Over in the woods, there was a loud roar. Paul looked and saw two trees fall to the ground. Emerging was a giant bear, five times the size of a normal brown bear. He was charging full speed ahead to the farmer’s market.
“Run!” the hooded man shouted.
The farmers and customers sprinted away. Paul stood in his tracks, knees locked with uncertainty. The giant bear tore down booth after booth in a fit of rage. Tomatoes and peppers flying everywhere. The bear continued his rampage until he reached “Honey 4 Yo Money.” He paused, took down a few jars of local honey, let out a satisfied purr, then continued tearing booths apart.
“Here boy, here,” the hooded man called out.
He had a bag of McDonald’s in one hand, Big Mac in the other. The bear stopped in his tracks and walked toward the man. Saliva was dripping from his mouth and his bloodshot eyes were locked on the juicy Big Mac.
“Yeah, there you go,” the hooded man said, encouraging the giant bear. “I got some fries too. You like fries? Who’s a good bear? Who’s a good bear?”
The bear paused, licked his lips, then roared again.
“Paul, grab one of your hard-boiled eggs,” the hooded man ordered.
“Don’t think, just do. I want you to aim right between the eyes, alright? You hear me?”
The bear charged forward.
“You got it?!”
“Egg. Eye. Ok. Um.”
Paul scrambled to his booth, opened a carton. Grabbed a hard-boiled egg.
“Okay, just so I’m understanding this right–“
“Now!!” the hooded man screamed. The bear was within paw’s distance of the McDonald’s bag.
Paul pulled his arm back like he was on the pitcher’s mound. He chucked the egg as hard as he could and it connected right between the eyes. The giant bear let out a King Kong-sized roar then fell backward like a concussed boxer. He lay on the ground, completely motionless.
The hooded man ran over to the bear’s side. He lifted his paw as if to check the bear’s pulse. Paul cautiously approached, standing behind the hooded man like a shield.
“Is he… dead?” Paul asked.
“No, he’s just knocked out a lil bit,” the hooded man said.
He rested the Big Mac and fries on the bear’s chest.
“Honestly, might’ve been the honey.”
All the farmers and customers rushed back to the market. They all congratulated Paul, patting him on the back.
“Pretty embarrassing for the bear,” Tom said. “Talk about having egg on your face.”
“Paul, with all due respect,” Daryl said. “You might want to take those hard-boiled eggs off the menu. What you’re serving might actually qualify as a rock.”
“Way to go, Paul!” Maggie said. She patted him on the back then stared him right in the eyes, “egging” him on for another name challenge.
Paul paused for a second. He tried to picture the booth. The name on the sign. Magnificent Veggies. Magnificent. Mag…
“Maggie,” Paul said with newfound confidence.
“Wow,” Maggie replied with a smile, “and here I was thinking you didn’t know my name.”
The hooded man waited for the crowd to clear out. He put his hand in the middle of Paul’s back.
“You’re the one,” he said in his Batman whisper. “Come with me. We don’t have much time.”
The man pulled down his hood and took off his hospital mask. He had bright red hair and red facepaint on the tip of his nose. He had a big toothy smile and red facepaint around his lips which made the smile look comically large. His entire face was painted white like a clown.
“Wait, are you…”
“McDonald,” the man said. “Ronald McDonald. Let’s go.”
The “Chicken Wars” series will continue with Part 3 going up — I think — on Wednesday, September 1st. Then a little intermission before finishing up in October.
You can catch up on Part 1 here.
And to subscribe to the blog, feel free to email me and I’ll get you set up.
Hope you have a great week, and you’re welcome in advance for planting the seed to get McDonald’s today.