The American Dating Scene: The $1 Menu Man with faux-hawk & muscle shirt
and woman, bleached blonde wearing a Britney T,
walk into the restaurant, grease floating in the air,
glancing at each other nervously and imagining future power plays. Neither knows who should
pay, only a few dollars of effort to put in on
both sides, the taxing, an afterthought. McChickens hide their affections, artificial,
in plastic like the spoils of dipping sauces
they ask for after ordering; the rancid ranch she coats her breath
with and the sticky honey mustard he gets glued
to his fingers. As they sit and eat in the hard yellow seats,
he asks, “How’s your double cheeseburger?” “It tastes like the oily sex
that will be the basis of our relationship,” she says with a piece of bun falling out of
her mouth. “I forgot to buy fries,” he leaves her
for a moment to her thoughts. He’s gonna leave me here,
just like in the future and I’ll act like a bitch
because that’s just part of the wrapping that covers intimacy. He returns, and she intentionally cries.
She grabs a fry and dresses it in her tear. He grabs a plastic knife, gives himself a
tiny cut and dips a fry in the blood. They lift the potato strips in their hands
towards the other’s mouth. “The ketchup I’ll bleed for you,” he says.
“The saline I’ll cry for you,” she says, as they place them on one another’s tongues.
The dance of liquid salt and copper tomato, coating fries that get lodged in the throat
of the courter and courted, leaving them with only choked and misinterpreted
messages to escape through their apple-pie-holes. They depart hand-in-hand, looking back
at where they’ll be tomorrow, going home to deep-fry another,
knowing there’s never nuggets of advice offered in this scene,
just all-fake-white-meat, empty calories.