Johnny Rockets with a Coworker

Johnny Rockets“So what do you want?”

Flashing red
Chest strains and sweat
I-I-I-I sounds from my mouth
Clammy hands

Checkmate you bastard
You pinned us here at the burger joint
Where I must order a burger
And be gluttonous and weak

“You want fries?”

If I say yes I seem like a fool
A fool who did a bad job at work
And then demanded to devour
The ultimate prize

If I say no I seem like a prude
A hater of fun
Or potentially a loser
Who thinks about these kinds of thing

Sure I say
Fries sound good
Already panicking that I sounded
Too stern

He shakes his head and says something

Something indistinct
But low and cruel
With icy eyes
And small lip movements

At the register
I’m only charged for the burger
So why did he even ask me then
I suddenly feel so empty

I sit beside him in silence
His perpetual smirk
His elbows brought up to the table
Like some kind of Greek God

I want to tear his eyes out
Rip his shirt off and cry into it
Hurt myself with all my might
Escape to a bathroom stall and

(I just wanted french fries)

cry until the automatic lights
Forget I’m there
And I’ll get to sit in darkness
And get to say I did something unusual today

His pursed lips
His slightly upturned chin
Nods and winks to the guys making our food
His reluctance to see me

My burger arrives with a carton of fries besides it
He quietly munches on watery beef
And three minutes later we are back to work
Just lunch for him

I wanted him to be my tormentor
But guess who was instead


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