Five Times Abbie Introduced Ichabod To Fast Food
(and one time he didn't complain)
Abbie doesn't cook.
This is not to say Abbie can't cook; back to the wall she'll whip up a brisket to feed thousands, and her pecan pies are universally declared to be better than cunnilingus. But that's the sort of culinary acrobatics you engage in when you're showing off. Abbie? She's not had anyone to impress in a long time.
(Well, there's Crane. But he's impressed by power windows. He doesn't count.)
Really, though, the thing is, she's a single woman who works long, irregular hours. They're also hours that burn through calories like nobody's business. She's only got baking soda and Hellmann's mayo in her fridge.
But that's why God invented drive-thru. "Welcome to McDonald's can I take your order," comes the monotone voice of some bored teen through the tinny speaker. (Crane jumps like a scalded cat.)
"Hang on a sec," Abbie tells the speaker absently, checking out the backlit menu, which glows orange with promises of chicken nuggets. To Crane, she says: "Whaddaya want?"
"Lieutenant, I could drain six pots of ink scratching out my answers to that question." (Dry, Abbie thinks, dry is the right word for what he is. Dry as a Missouri creek in August, as her grandmother would say, whatever the hell that meant.) "Could you be more specific?"
"Food, Crane." Abbie leans back against her headrest to give him a clear view of the board. "Pick something out."
"It's eleven o'clock at night," he replies, clearly appalled. "Who on earth has supper at that hour?"
"I do." There's a line of vehicles forming behind them; she'd worry (a little) about people getting pissed, particularly the bald dude in the SUV two cars back, but she's in uniform and has spent ten hours today trying to convince the psycho sitting next to her that the pack of giggly teens they saw at Starbucks weren't actually prostitutes, so she needs her damn nuggets and everyone else? They're just gonna have to wait.
There are perks to being a cop.
Crane leans forward to look out the window; his hair comes alarmingly close to Abbie's face, and she wrinkles her nose in disgust. He swore he used the shampoo she gave him (explaining indoor plumbing, now, that was an adventure), but he still stinks like rot. One more shower, then his ass is getting dunked in a vat of tomato juice. "What," he asks, "is a McDouble?"
"It's a hamburger."
"Ah." Pause. "What is a hamburger?"
In the end she orders him a Deluxe Quarter Pounder with an extra large fries and a Dasani, 'cause she's pretty sure loading Ichabod Crane up on caffeine and sugar just before midnight would end badly. He declares it an improvement over salt fish, wants to know why there's no whiskey, and crinkles the plastic water bottle for the entire ride home.
Abbie refuses to share her nuggets. It's been a long day.
She buys a new microwave and they agree never speak of the Lean Cuisine incident again.
"Sorry," Abbie calls to the girl behind the counter as she storms away. "He's-- he's Amish!"
There's no answer, but the door to the kitchen almost swings off its hinges as the girl bursts through, and the sound of angry voices carries clearly into the line of people waiting at LeeAnn Chin for their cream cheese puffs. Abbie can't hear everything being said, but it's not too hard to catch the jist of it. The scandalized mother standing next to them covers her toddler's ears.
Crane has the nerve to look perplexed. "I don't understand. How did I offend the lady?"
Abbie just thunks her head against the display glass. The hell of it all is that Crane is well-meaning -- probably even forward-thinking for what he believes is his day and age -- but here, in the twenty-first century, it's a full-time job to keep him from getting a beatdown. "Listen," she says, her breath fogging the egg rolls from view, "until you can at least fake being PC, you have got to let me do the talking."
"I meant it as a compliment! Do you have any notion how difficult the linguistic disparities of Oriental and Germanic languages are to overcome? To have mastered English with only the mildest of accent impediments--"
"She's from Jersey, and-- you know what? Just shut up."
He gives the Taco Bell bag a dark look, sniffs the air, and returns to his new copy of The Federalist Papers without a word.
"Fine," says Abbie. She unwraps the second chalupa. "More for me."
Crane wants to place the pizza order himself, but Abbie's not letting him within ten feet of her cell phone. Not after what happened to her iPod. It's like living with Arthur goddamn Weasley.
(Sooner or later they're going to have to find him a place of his own, but the man's got no money, no job, no social security number, so what's he supposed to do? And she has the second room -- meant for her sister, but look how that turned out -- so he may as well crash until something turns up. His eighteenth century concept of social mores had been a sticking point, but she won him over with central heating.)
After explaining the concept of pizza (which he takes to surprisingly well) they hit the list of toppings.
"Is there cod?"
"You can have anchovies on your half if you want. I'm getting mushrooms."
"That strikes me as a risk. I'd doubt the cooks competent to tell the lethal fungi from the edible."
"We're more likely to get food poisoning from the sausage. Black or green olives?"
"Olives? No. Absolutely not."
"You got something against olives?"
"Not at all, but while I've allowed you to financially support me for the time being, the line must be drawn somewhere. Levies on Sicilian importation alone--"
"They're only seventy-five cents extra."
Beat. "Black and green olives."
Abbie didn't mean to fall asleep, but Walmart was exhausting; Crane's catching on, credit where credit's due, but taking the man into a megastore is like herding a six-foot cat. Next time she's bringing a choke-chain.
When she wakes up the red plastic alarm clock informs her it's past eight in the evening. This means that not only has she forgotten to feed Crane -- damn, he really is her cat -- but she's going to be up all night. And something smells good. Something smells like dinner.
Abbie jumps out of bed when she realizes that this mean -- oh shit -- he's loose in her kitchen. "Stop," she shouts, throwing open the door and stumbling into the frame, 'cause going from horizontal to vertical like that on an empty stomach and an adrenaline rush is nasty. "Whatever you're doing, stop--"
But nothing's melted, nothing's on fire, nothing's throwing sparks. Instead there's roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, baked apples, and four rolls of cornbread set out on her little four-seat IKEA table. And Crane, stuffing a Boston Market bag into the kitchen trash and looking absolutely smug. "I took a walk," he explains. "This food I recognized."
"Isn't the Boston Market, like, a mile away?"
He shrugs. "A mile is nothing."
Of course it isn't -- not to a guy who thinks he's been marching around with General Washington. Abbie's stomach rumbles. "How did you pay?"
"I took that dastic--"
"--plastic card of yours. This may surprise you, Lieutenant, but I am not a moron. I have paid attention." He pulls out an unfinished pine chair with a gentlemanly flair that hasn't been in fashion for, oh, a hundred years or so. "Shall we?"
Abbie smiles at her cat. "Sure. I'm starved."