“Welcome to East Ladle’s last standing Burger King, how may I assist your hunger on this fine Thursday afternoon?” I grinned far too brightly at the tired couple.
The man glanced at the menu – he smelled of old cigarette smoke and gas station coffee – his eye twitched and he sighed deeply. His, what I assumed was a partner of some kind, tried to quiet down the children who were ready to get out of her grasp and run around our sticky tables. Her glasses were askew and her hair was frazzled, and just like her potential partner, looked like she was one inconvenience away from insanity.
I smiled impossibly wider, showing more teeth than a half-vampire should in public.
“How about uhm, Texas double whooper, a crispy chicken salad for the missus, and what do they kids say they like – “
“The chicken fries,” the woman responded with way too much frustration in her voice.
“– The chicken fries”
I stood there without moving or responding, just long enough to make them uncomfortable.
“I’m sorry, we are currently all out of chicken products. There was a salmonella incident – total recall. Would you like to order something else?” Cigarette Smoke looked deeply frustrated and his wife took a deep breath.
“What about the…seriously? No chicken products at all?” I nodded gravely.
“Then, we’ll all have the Texas double whooper,” his wife looked pissed.
“Seriously, Jared? You know how I feel about the kids having that much meat,” Cigarette Smoke’s eye started twitching more aggressively.
“You heard what she said! No chicken!” I nodded and confirmed. No chicken.
“You do fish ones – “I kept nodding. Cigarette smoke looked disgusted. “– give us those instead”
“I would love to do that for you, unfortunately, the big fish is wildly popular at this location and we sold out our last one just before you guys got here,” they both muttered curses and glared at each other. Glasses spoke.
“Fine. We’ll take the Texas ones,” Cigarette Smoke looked way too pleased with this development.
“Okie-doke! But before I push in your order, I am legally required to let you know we’ve recently had a rat infestation – “Cigarette Smoke shrugged but Glasses looked queasy “– and I also have to hand you this pamphlet that details exactly how bad the infestation was, and let me tell you, it was capital B Bad,” I passed the pamphlet but it took Cigarette Smoke a second to grab it. The pamphlet was comically thick.
“I have to see you read the whole thing before I can serve you”
We all stared at each other in silence, almost like a standoff. The children got rowdier and my sadism was being sated.
The camel’s back finally broke. The man roughly shoved the pamphlet back and slammed his hand on the counter.
“Forget it,” his impatience loud and clear. Glasses looked both pleased and annoyed at her husband’s decision; probably because their two kids started whining about it.
“There was a Dairy Queen two miles back, just hold on a god damn second,” she hit the man upside the head and he glared back.
“Don’t swear at them!” The family continued fighting as they left the restaurant, leaving it once again empty. Mission accomplished.
After a beat, None of Your Fucking Business Kevin spoke.
“I admire the work you put into whatever the hell this is,” he pointed to my pamphlet, “but I doubt the boss is gonna be happy about it”
I took a sip from my water and leaned on the counter.
“If Mr. Assistant Manager didn’t want me to do this, he would have said so already,” he scoffed and shook his head.
“Right…right. Let’s see how he takes it when he’s actually in the building”
“You know what they say, be there or be square. ‘sides, we don’t wanna encourage this sort of behaviour! An assistant manager playing hooky? For shame”
“I swear you’re gonna give the poor kid an aneurysm,” he glanced around the room; there were no customers and no Jeremiah – the man wisely staying away until he knew the rats were gone for sure – so it was as far from busy as it could possibly be. “Ok, I’m taking out the trash. Think you can hold down the fort while I’m gone?”
I rolled my eyes and flicked some crumbs at him.
“I don’t need a babysitter, gramps”
He swore but he also left, which I counted as a win.
The novelty of being left alone wore out after a minute and I sighed out of boredom. I couldn’t even take out my phone to entertain myself, since my old one got deep fried and my brand new one wouldn’t arrive until next week. This job could get so fucking tedious sometimes.
After cleaning the tables for the third time this shift, I decided to try changing the music playing on the speakers. Usually, Gay Kevin was the one in charge of that, but since he was currently MIA, None of Your Fucking Business Kevin had full control of our radio and he was a fucking tyrant, drunk with power. He would only play old man music and he was so annoying about it too; it was as if he thought listening to anything past the 90’s would kill him – I once played WAP in his vicinity for the fun of it and he almost had a seizure.
I had just managed to change the station to something playing Ariana’s new single, when a customer walked in.
He had a backpack and a very ambiguous age about him; he could easily be in his late teens or his twenties – hell, he could be 30 for all I knew. I didn’t recall seeing him at the high school, so it was likely he was a college student. His smile unsettled me.
“Hello!” he said with genuine cheer – unlike me – and he raised his hand in greeting. “I would like to order some food, please”
“I would love to take your order of some food,” I said with my customer service voice and a cruel smile.
He looked unphased, to my chagrin. He scanned the menu until he read something that made his eyes widen.
“I’ll take the Chocolate shake. With Oreos”
“Sorry, bud. All out of Oreos,” he didn’t seem too bothered by that.
“Then I’ll take the shake without them”
“All out of chocolate shakes too,” this time he seemed way too distraught about it. Almost felt bad. Almost.
“Strawberry?” he asked tentatively, voice full of hope and eyes way too wide.
“Great! I’ll take it, thank you” he was back to giving me that unsettling smile.
“Anything else with that?” he shook his head.
“Well, I legally have to tell you that we were infested with rats. And you got to read this before I can make your order,” I passed him the pamphlet and he tilted his head. He took it, and the mad lad actually started reading it – like he was actually taking in the info, his brow furrowed in concentration. Honestly, didn’t expect anyone to even bother.
And this was when Alice fucking Cullen walked in.
Not only did she walk in wearing a $1.6k Givenchy floral pleated skirt, a $2.5k black Balenciaga Pagoda turtleneck, and a pair of $1.5k Saint Laurent Jodie platforms to fucking Burger King. She also dragged along her favourite accessory of them all – her emotional support Confederate.
She glided into the restaurant – because none of the Cullen’s could act fucking human – while her boy toy brooded by the door.
I openly scowled at them.
“I’m so sorry, I think you might be in the wrong place! Paris Fashion week is not occurring at this location – this is actually a Burger King. Common mistake though, people confuse Minnesota and France all the time”
“Nessie! Still very funny the second time around,” I scowled some more and crossed my arms. Fucking psychics.
“I go by Resentment,” we both said at the exact same time to my endless irritation.
“Oh, don’t look at me like that, you don’t need to be able to see the future to know that you’re predictable,” though her voice was light, I could see the slight annoyance on her face when she glanced at milkshake boy. I smirked, that was her patented “This Was Not in My Visions!” face; it was always a good time when my condition messed up her powers.
“Besides Nessie, I’m here on very important business. You promised after all,” I hated that she was right. The stupid party I promised her. Stupid family meeting. Stupid democracy.
The back door opened and then slammed shut, because it was just my luck. Alice’s eyes twinkled and her smile got sharper.
“Res, the racoons have taken over the dump – wait, what did you do to my music? You know how I feel about Doja Cat!”
I let out a breath when I heard the footsteps abruptly stop, Alice sucked. She sucked so much.
“Jack? What are you doing here?” Wait, what?
Milkshake boy didn’t look up from my pamphlet but he did speak.
“Reading about the rat infestation so I can get my milkshake,” I could feel None of Your Fucking Business Kevin glaring at the back of my head. He made his way to my right and leaned over the counter to grab the pamphlet from Milkshake boy’s hands.
“You don’t need this, she’s just a fucking menace,” Milkshake boy frowned, and I had to admit it was nice that someone else was having personal drama at work for once. Specially if it meant we were all ignoring Alice.
“That’s not a very nice thing to say”
“Well, she’s not very nice,” he turned to look at me – very serious like – and continued, “Here’s what’s going to happen, I’m making Jack his milkshake and you’re going to be nice to our other customers”
He tilted his head very unsubtly towards Alice. I rolled my eyes.
“She’s not a customer”
“I’m not here for food, Jasper? Can you come here, please?” my co-worker looked nothing short of confused as the emo vampire walked toward the register. He was holding bright pink envelopes. He also looked incredibly constipated, he was a ticking time bomb and it was unbelievable we still let him near humans.
“Thank you!” I didn’t know what I hated more, her sing song-y voice or seeing her kiss J-ass-per. “Now, which one of the Kevins are you? I’d hate to assume”
“His name isn’t Kevin,” Milkshake boy squinted while None of Your Fucking Business Kevin glowered at me.
“It is while he works at this Burger King”
Not Kevin threw his hands up in exasperation.
“Don’t listen to anything she says, Jack. She likes to cause problems on purpose,” I shrugged.
“Anyway, I’m Alice Cullen, her sister” Alice interrupted loudly, “and the Cullen-Hale-Masen household would love to personally invite you to Nessie’s First Job Party!” Not Kevin looked at her dubiously.
“You’re throwing a party because she got a job at Burger King?”
“Truthfully, it’s more like a very tasteful dinner black tie event. We’re hiring a string quartet, too”
“Because of Burger King??” Alice nodded enthusiastically and I looked helplessly back at Not Kevin.
“Wow, that’s cool. Can I be your plus one?” Milkshake boy spoke and both me and Not Kevin groaned.
“You are not going. I’m not going!” Alice pouted and gave Jasper a look.
“It would really mean a lot to us…and Nessie…if you could come,” I wanted nothing more than to be annoyed but Jasper was pumping out agreeableness vibes as if his life depended on it. In a way I guess it was, Alice didn’t like when things did not go her way, so.
Not Kevin looked conflicted, which I appreciated greatly.
What I did not appreciate was the arrival of the actual Kevins. Of course, Alice would be here when all of my coworkers were at the store, what’s the point of being a fucking psychic if you didn’t use visions to your advantage.
Alice’s gaze met mine, she looked serene and her eyes fucking sparkled. Everything was going according to her visions then.
Fuck my life.