Friday, May 21, 2010
McDonaldland - The End of an Era
I got a news tip that Ronald McDonald is being forced into retirement for promoting unhealthy eating habits. I sat down with Ronald recently at his estate in McDonaldland to discuss the matter.
"I was just doing my job," he says topping off his milkshake with Makers. Birdie, now Birdie McDonald, wraps a wing around her husband's shoulder. "Please don't," Ronald says.
"I haven't seen him drink like this since our tour in Singapore when the Hamburgler lost his left hand for stealing what he thought was a burger but ended up being a dung cake. Those heathens."
Ronald drinks to that. "It was worse in Saudi Arabia," he says. "Grimace had a fatwa put on him for groping the sheik's daughter. She was veiled head to toe in purple. How was he to know? With his untreated diabetes the dude's practically blind."
"What's he doing now?" I wonder aloud.
"Beat's the hell out of me. Last we heard he had lost four hundred pounds and had just gotten beaten out by Jared for Subway spokesman. He never talked to anyone after that."
"Wow. That's insane," I say.
"Maybe. You're a talking dog. I'd say that's pretty ****ing nuts."
"You got me there. So getting back to this retirement - Hey by the way, what happened to Hamburgler?"
Birdie looks at Ronald. "You want me to tell her?"
"I can't," Ronald says, standing up and walking into the kitchen. There's no more milkshake left.
"Hamburgler is a vegan."
"Yes. After he lost his hand in Singapore, he was never the same. He kept saying that he had a problem. That he needed help. We couldn't argue with that. The man was a klepto but then again, it was in his job description. I don't know, it didn't seem like that big of a deal. He could continue stealing kids' hamburgers with one hand. Which he did for awhile but he said it was too hard. He wasn't fast enough and the kids were too fast. Grimace began helping him. A soaked chloroform rag, sometimes a bat or an aluminum rod. It got to be too much. They got carried away and it wasn't about the hamburger anymore. At the height of his depression he was roaming around grocery stores actually considering purchasing food. That's when he discovered the Boca Burger. He stole one, ate one, and that's all there is to tell. There was no looking back for him."
"Yeah," Birdie says. "Yeah."
I hear commotion upstairs and then a dozen french fry bags with fries in them, come running down the stairs.
"Mom, Mom, Garreth won't share the computer," the french fries yell in unison.
"Hoooooly ****! I remember you guys. The French Fry Kids..." I say in complete disbelief of my forgetfulness.
"Yep. This is our family," Birdie says displaying her wings and cradling the French Fry Kids in. "One at a time now."
As they state their concern, I can't believe how golden these little fries are. Salt glistens off their body like morning dew on a rose. I'm not much for starch but these little buggers are looking delightful. Suddenly the clamor of banging cupboards and broken glass comes from the kitchen. Ronald appears at the doorway looking like IT. "What the hell is going on out here!"
This just got awkward.
"Daddy, Garreth is hogging the computer. We saw him on Burger King's website. He printed off a picture of the Burger King."
"Garreth! Get you're bag down here now! Birdie where the hell is the other bottle of Makers?!"
"I don't know honey."
"Don't lie to me."
Little Garreth waddles down the stairs, his fries held low. He looks at me pleading for me to help with his eyes. I look away. This is so uncomfortable.
"What's the problem Garreth?"
Garreth says nothing. He can't even muster the strength to put one of his fries up.
"I asked you a question son," Ronald says through his teeth. "Were you looking at pictures of the Burger King? Answer ME!!"
"You did this to yourself. You know what's coming."
"Please sweetie," Birdie says. "Don't. He won't do it again."
"No! The little blasphemer knows better!"
The other French Fry Kids cower under their mother's wing. There's a straggler. A bold one who stands next to me looking on. His crisp salty golden deliciousness wafts up through my nostrils like the introduction of a doberman's butt. My stomach growls and the little tyke jumps back. I play it cool and smile, reassuring him that it's okay. Ronald goes into the kitchen. I can hear the faucet turn on.
"No..." I found myself saying. Ronald walks into the living room with a full cup in his hand.
"This will teach you," Ronald says, pouring the water all over Garreth. "No one likes soggy fries Garreth. Not even bums."
I can't discern if Garreth is crying with all the water coming down on him. His fries fold in half. They're taking on a lot of water. They look as though they may break. I can't be a witness in this. The other French Fry Kids are crying. Birdie is squawking like a kamikaze bird. It's mass hysteria. The cup that Ronald's holding seems to be bottomless.
"Ronald I gotta go," I say. Ronald doesn't acknowledge me. The French Fry Kid at my side hears me though.
"Let me go with you."
"No. You mustn't. It's too dangerous. They'll eat you alive out there."
"I don't care."
"No. I'm willing to take the risk."
"All right!! I mean, okay, whatever, that's cool," I say trying to contain my excitement and we leave.