The name’s Leonard, fella. And believe me, I know hamburger. No, not steers, or fattened heifers or even London broil. Just hamburger. Buster, the stories I could tell you about the hamburger game… well, they’d curdle your cod. I’ll tell you. Really wither your whip. No foolin’.
Now you wonder where I got the straight poop on the burger biz? Well, lemme tell you, ya don’t learn this stuffy second-hand. No sir, you got to–ya wanna know a secret, bub? Yeah, well catch this: I was a choice three ouncer myself not too long ago. Yup, me–a Burger King Whopper. I know, I know I look just like you and the wife there. Believe me, I wouldn’t make up a story like this, Mac. I was a lousy, stinkin’ hamburger once. Store number 4, Lincoln, Nebraska, November 16, last year.
Cut and pressed and frozen and fried just like all the others.
But I knew from the beginning I wasn’t the same as those other fuckin’ lumps of meat. I thought. I felt, I–and I don’t mind tellin’ you this–I was horny. But it wasn’t for those sexless hunks of gristle around me that I lusted. Uh-uh. It was those big, warm, tender buns at the end of the line. I knew–we all knew, couldn’t help but know–what happened after the broiler. Grasped, carressed and thrust into a couple of steamy, doughy slabs.
The other burgers, they did it mechanically, mindlessly. No feeling, no emotion; woofed down by some pimply high schooler in a few short minutes, oblivious to death as they were to life.
No, I didn’t want it to end there: heat, sizzle, packed, gone. I wanted to take that bun and make a real go of it, ya know? Good times, messin’ around, sure. But I wanted a real relationship, too, you understand. I just knew me and those sesame seed-covered bazombas could stick together.
Well I wasn’t even supposed to be thinking, ya know, a crummy, Id-less hamburger and all, but I thought about it just the same, and thought hard.
I thought about living and the good things and trees and picnics and Jesus: “Think hard enough,” I said to myself, “and you’ll get outta this somehow.” It couldn’t be meant to end here, so quickly, so absolutely. “I got a fuckin’ ego too!” I cried. “I don’t wanna slip away into digestive oblivion like that! I don’t wanna die!”
So all of a sudden, I felt like I was goin’ bananas. Outa my skull, crazy, cracked, goo-goo. Everything was flashing and whirling and exploding like, like nothing I ever saw before.
Then–plooey! I’m out here walkin’ around the streets like you. Thought it was great at first. No more messin’ around with hamburgers; I was real.
But so what am I? A lousy goddamned MacDonald’s branch manager. “Job security, Rapid advancement. Big pay.” Big deal. I hate these icky little hamburgers. Flopping meat around all day, tossing on those greasy chunks of bread. Ordering around pubescent french fry-cookers. You think this is any better than before? Think again, buddy. So I’m “free to do what I want.” Free to do what, for Christ’s sake. Work in a sweaty, smelly burger joint 14 hours a day?