I get in my car and drive the ten minutes it takes to get to the nearest fast food restaurant. Five bucks worth of chicken and fries can never fill me up, but that’s all I have to spend.
I can tell by the sound of her voice that the girl working the drive-thru has been there all day. When my car pulls up to the window, she can see all the various paper and plastic bags lining my back seat, and when she hands me back my change she silently judges me with a solemn “Have a nice day.”
The greasy smell fills me up like an appetizer. I get home quickly and don’t even bother getting out a plate or silverware, the idea of wasting time on that unnecessary task bringing a thoughtful exhale out of my mouth.
I almost forgot what I’ve ordered until I notice the white bag says Wendy’s.
Good. I love Wendy’s.
I throw the bag on the ground after emptying its contents, and it falls on its side, the red face of the Wendy’s logo staring at me.
It’s okay. She can watch.
It tastes so fucking good. I know how bad this is for me, but my superego is taking a break for the moment. This is almost on par with sex, and I’ve had sex. It was a long time ago, but it happened, for sure. If given the choice between the two, I’d probably at least think about if for a while.
I turn on the TV to add to the romantic scene and it’s a Wendy’s commercial—irony incarnate.
Spicy chicken nuggets that look better than the one’s I’m eating. I look down and the bag is still looking at me, and I stuff a handful of fries in my mouth in spite of her.
The food is colder, but still tastes great. The commercial ends, but another one, another Wendy’s one, replaces it. It’s a bunch of kids laughing because they’re eating salads.
Fucking assholes. I know they’re laughing at me, laughing at my fat rolls, laughing at my double chin hidden underneath my beard, laughing at the danger of the clogging heart that will end me before I reach my sixties, the pain of a heart attack so close that I’m sure I’ll die slow enough for each second to replay every meal that’s led to this point.
I begin sobbing, then crying, then shouting at the TV, my mouth still filled with food, the Wendy’s bag still staring at me, judging me like the drive-thru worker, and I shake so violently that I can’t tell if I’m still eating, or if I hate that bag more than I hate myself.
Brian Lee Klueter will graduate from Bowling Green State University in May with a BFA in creative writing. He is also the creative nonfiction editor at Prairie Margins, BGSU's undergraduate literary magazine. He has previously been published in The Blue Route and Enormous Rooms, and is obsessed with chicken fingers.