One Monday in February was a sad Monday, for it was one on which his distributor failed to process one of Fernando's orders in anything resembling a timely fashion. It was not a pissant direct-to-DVD film either, but Skyfall, the long-awaited and highly acclaimed Bond flick. Arguably, this was the biggest release of the month.
It was with a heavy heart that Fernando accepted that he would need to make a midnight run to Inuitland so he can snag some copies and have them available for his customer base. The original plan was to head up there with Alfonso after the weekly roleplaying session ended, but that changed when Cortez and Ronaldo volunteered to accompany Fernando on his late-night sojourn.
They transformed and rolled out, heading straight to Mal-Wart district, an adventure beyond measure, for it was one in which Fernando escaped the Dominion's tentacled grasp for a short while. While he was out and about, Fernando figured he'd get some other shopping out of the way. Cart in hand, the trio passed into the bowels of Mal-Wart.
It had been Suit Night, so Cortez and Ronaldo were at their dapper best, looking quite professional indeed as they trailed behind Fernando as the Keeper went on his madcap collection. Cat litter, check. Onions, check. Crackers, check. A hodgepodge of inventory settled in the shopping cart's basket. Crowning it all were four copies of Skyfall, provided to Fernando by a genial albino.
The checkout lady did not want to be there, not in the slightest. She scanned the content's of Fernando's shopping cart in disinterest, until she came upon the DVDs. “You must really like Skyfall, huh?” she asks.
“No. This is for business purposes.” Fernando said these words of response as two suited men flanked him. The woman perhaps thought Fernando to have criminal connections, for she surrendered this conversational thread and little more was said until Fernando bade her a good night after paying.
The night was still young (only about 2:30 AM) and a night of All Flesh Must Be Eaten had just been concluded. It was time to consume vast amounts of unhealthy food! The original plan was to pay a visit to Taco Bell, but that place was closed, even the drive-thru. Well, McDonald's would just have to do. Ronaldo steered his vehicle into the drive-thru and the group waited for someone to take the order.
Three minutes of silence later, no order-taking was forthcoming, and someone else had pulled up behind Ronaldo. Cortez suggested telephoning the place to inform them that someone awaited service in the drive thru, but Ronaldo pshaw'd the notion. “Let's pull around and see if anybody's even in there,” he said.
So they did. As the car passed the window at which the money, under most circumstances, changed hands, the three passengers saw a skeevy man with a scraggly mustache at work inside. When he noticed the car, he ducked out of sight as if ashamed or worried for his life.
“Fuck this. Let's go to Hardee's,” Fernando said from his place in the back seat.
“I'm poor, and Hardee's is expensive,” Cortez objected.
“I don't care. You're carting my ass around. I'll buy the food.”
“A monster Thickburger does sound good....” Ronaldo dreamily whispered. So it was decided. To the nearby Hardee's! The lady in the other car at the McDonald's went her separate way. Farewell, Anonymous Drive-Thru Woman!
At Hardee's, rather than heading directly to the drive-thru, Ronaldo pulled into the parking lot behind it. The three climbed out of the car and stood before the gently glowing menu.
“I'm thinking of trying that jalapeno chicken sammich,” Fernando says.
“I dunno. Monster thickburger is a thing,” Cortez answers.
“Right, but two of those for one of those.”
“You don't know how big they are.”
“No, but it won't be the size of a McChicken or something. This is Hardee's, not a place which doesn't want to take your money.”
“It's a fair point,” Ronaldo admits.
“You guys do what you want. I'm for a thickburger,” Cortez says.
They reenter the vehicle, pull out of the adjacent parking lot, and realign the car in the drive-thru. A man cheerily cleaned one of the large windows in the dining area while a Beatles song blared over the builder's exterior speakers.
“Hi, welcome to Hardee's! What can I get you?” a cheery female voice asks out the drive-thru speaker.
Ronaldo leans over to the speaker. “I'd like four jala--”
“No, I changed my mind. Make it six,” Cortez says. “And some bacon ranch fries.”
“Sorry, six jalapeno chicken sandwiches--”
“Six you said?” the woman asks.
“Yeah, six. And an order of bacon ranch fries.”
The nice lady repeats what Ronaldo had told her to verify the order. Everything seems in order, and the final cost comes to about twenty-eight dollars. “Thank you for choosing Hardee's!” the woman says at the exchange's close.
“Thank you for not being McDonalds,” Ronaldo answers.
The food takes some while to prepare, but it's fine. The three sit in the car and share laughs and merry tales of how the evening had progressed to this point. The frightened man at McDonalds was compared to someone Ronaldo knows from work, a man he described as “a pedophile who talks as if he has a pine cone up his butthole.” When the food arrives, Ronaldo pulls aside and parks in the Hardee's parking lot once more so that the food might be enjoyed without worrying about crashing the car or traffic regulations.
And such sammiches they were. Oh, their splendor. Heaped with delightful hot pepper goodness and slathered in a mouthwatering chipotle sauce, hot and fresh and as satisfying as, in Fernando's own words, “Like a woman's hand in a llamaskin glove.”
Because it was 3 AM, these words were seen as the most hilarious thing on earth. Cortez conjured cans of Vanilla Coke from some nether dimension and a right and proper feast was had.
'Twas a good good night. But, at its end, Fernando returned to the Dominion, copies of Skyfall and bag of cat litter in hand: the ultimate hero's return.