You wake up to find all of your belongings missing. Your head aches and your skin stings from the harsh McDonaldland sun. How long were you out? An hour? A day? You look up, but the sun diverts its glare. He’s too busy replenishing the Hamburger Patch, freshly ransacked. You’ve lost the burgers.
In the distance you can hear sirens. The police will be there soon, where they’ll find you holding an empty sack still stained with traces of ketchup and special sauce. It’s all the evidence they’ll need. As you rub the bump on your head, you realize you’ve been framed. You’ve learned a valuable lesson today: never trust the Hamburglar.
It’s five years later. You’re standing on a stage as the mayor leans in to place a medal around your neck. As the corners of his cheese curl up to form a smile, he turns to the crowd.
“In honor of your service to McDonaldland’s conservation efforts, I award you this medal of honor. Although it’s too late for the McDLTs, let’s move forward to ensure that McDonaldland continues to grow and prosper for years to come.”
The next day you start your new job working for the McCheese government, where you make a comfortable living as Chief of Sustainability. You take a seat at your new desk and lean back, pleased with the decisions you’ve made.
You’ve been sentenced to live out the rest of your years in the McBadlands. The conditions are harsh and there’s no end to the daily shower of McFlurries. You are constantly on the lookout for Ogoreos and the watchful eyes of the Peanut Butter Cops. And yet you’re happy here. You find companionship in another exile, Sundae, Ronald’s estranged dog, and you live out the rest of your days tending to a small cookie patch by the Hot Fudge Falls.
Life in McDonaldland is peaceful. Ronald keeps everyone laughing with his antics, making it hard to tell how much time has passed. He’s on a roll. It’s likely that you’ve been here for days, but it feels like only hours. Your muscles ache from the seemingly endless laughter, but everyone is having such a good time. You wrap your arms around your midsection and fall to the ground gasping. It’s lights out for you.
You live the next year with everyone waiting on you hand and foot. You are greeted every morning with fresh burgers and every night you fall asleep full from warm apple pies and chocolate sundaes. You don’t understand everyone’s change of heart, but you foolishly decide not to question it.
One day you are led up a hill by the townspeople. The ground rumbles beneath your feet, and you are confused as to why you’ve never seen this place before. As you get closer to the top, you can feel the ground under your feet getting warmer and spongier. There is an opening at its summit and it quickly becomes apparent that this is not a hill, but a volcano. Birdie the Early Bird stands behind you and with a swift peck you are thrust forward. You fall deeper and deeper into the volcano and with a splat you fall into its slurry contents. It weighs down your arms and legs and the more you struggle, the more you seem to sink. As it rumbles, the frothy mixture sprays you in your eyes and soon you are unable to see. You try to yell, but the only sound you make is an incomprehensible gurgle. It tastes like shake. As you sink, you can feel the volcano rumblings start to die down, subsiding more and more until the last trace of you has disappeared.
The people of McDonaldland continue to chase you. You’re bewildered at what you could have done to incense them. Exhausted from running, you look down at your clothes and remember that they are still covered in grill marks from your fall this morning. You try to convince the crowd that you’ve done nothing wrong, but all they see are the black and white stripes on your clothes and are incapable of seeing you as anything more than a criminal. You are thrown in jail with no chance of bail.
You think you’ve finally figured out how to reverse the minimizing cookie rays that shrunk you. You’re eager to share the news with someone, but looking around only Grimace is to be found. You call out to him, but he’s too busy enjoying his shake. He closes his eyes and takes a long, satisfying sip. As he removes the straw from his mouth, he lets out a pained bellow. With his other hand he presses his fingers against his temples. He looks around for somewhere to sit. He can’t hear you calling. Everything goes purple.
Photo courtesy of Sean Duncan
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