By Jack Keillor
Some will tell you that God is dead, but for God to be dead, he’d have to have been alive in the first place, and that’s a tough pill to swallow when you’ve seen the world I have. If he was ever alive, and he made it to the ’80s, he’s got a lot to answer for on the night of January 20th, 1986.
I was staking out a house just across the street from a McDonald’s and my stomach got the best of me. I knew I shouldn’t have left my post, but I did it anyway. I did a lot of things I wasn’t supposed to do back then, but I was young. Foolish. I figured, what could it hurt? I left my car for just five minutes but by the time I got back it was too late.
The house I was staking out was that of known drug dealer Joshua Cobb. Now Cobb wasn’t your run of the mill drug dealer, he also had this watch that could freeze time whenever he wanted. Really threw us cops through a loop since we had almost zero make-time-normal devices (other than a regular wall clock that seemed to do little to nothing against Cobb’s time powers). While you’ll often see the superheroes of movies and television of today tackle problems like these with relative ease, in the ’80s we had very few superhero movies and comic book nerds were rightly excluded from society, so we had no one to turn to. It was basically just Superman and that Batman show in the ’60s for us to draw from, which spent a great deal more teaching the power of friendship between a thinly veiled homoerotic relationship between a young boy and a father figure than how to stop supercrime.
Why Cobb chose to use his time-stopping abilities to deal drugs and murder people was anyone’s guess. Why he would deal drugs at all seemed like a complete waste of time as he could have just stopped time and walked into a bank whenever he wanted. He also had an MO of making the deal, stopping time, stealing the money back, firing a bullet into each person’s head and restarting time. A real dick move, to say the least, and one that didn’t make a whole lot of sense. The only reason we know about any of it is because he confessed to it, but we couldn’t bring him in as we didn’t have proof and he was being a really baby about admitting it in court. Our hands were tied. Until some of us newer guys got the idea that we’d take care of him ourselves. Real quiet-like.
I took the job myself because I wanted to prove that I was one of the boys, but once I got back into that cold car with my warm fries I knew immediately that I had screwed the pooch. I wasn’t supposed to take my eyes off of the house. The one way we knew if he was using his totally unfair time-stopping powers was when his kitchen clock went on the fritz. When I got back to the car and looked into the kitchen, the clock was not just on the fritz but gone entirely, and so was he. He must have known, and now he was probably out there on another time-related drug dealing murder spree. But he’d be back at any moment and I had to do something. It would have been the third one this month and a real black eye on the department, but I had a plan. One last ditch effort to stop this son of a bitch before he could hook any more teenagers on drugs/time-based criminal activity; lure him into a real-time prison with the delicious smell of fries.
Whether you like them or not, McDonald’s make a delicious smelling fry. Don’t agree with me? You’re a liar. You just want to be different, forcing individuality into meaningless aspects of your life because you barely even understand what it means to be your own person. McDonald’s fries are made in a lab, by science, to be the most delicious smelling thing on this Godless green Earth. Now, they might make your stomach hurt or not agree with your diet, but if you say that you aren’t tempted by a McDonald’s fry, I say you’re a liar, or you aren’t human. Either way, I’ve got no room in my heart for inhuman liars just as I’ve got no time for time-powered drug lords. The fries would may have been my last bet, but they were also my best.
As anyone that has seen a cartoon will know, hungry people will become overpowered by a need to float towards whatever delicious thing that may pass by their nose areas. Knowing that if he had been committing time-stopping crimes all night like I supposed he had he’d be hungry, so I found an open window to set the half of the fries I hadn’t eaten yet under.
It took less than ten minutes before Cobb came outside to see what that wonderful smell was and I waited for him. I hid in the shadows when he came from his house and saw that wonderful bundle of crispy, potato-ey goodness just bursting out of the thin, grease-slicked paper sack. He reached down and picked them up and as he brought the first one to his lips I put three rounds into the back of his head before he could even taste the salt on his unsophisticated, unworthy palate. A job well done, I’d thought at first, but to my horror, the fries were ruined.
Even if I had taken the shot sooner, the fries were half cold anyway. Or at least that’s what I’d tell myself for years after that night. I used those fries like they were nothing and discarded them like they were even less than. Like they were garbage. Those fries deserved better than that, they deserved better than Cobb’s disgusting brains all over them. Anyone else’s brains and they maybe would have been still edible, but Cobb’s? Who would have them after Cobb? No, they were tainted, and with them the last shred of my innocence.
I gave them the best unofficial funeral I could. I put them in my toaster oven until they were blackened and charred, crushed them into a fine powder and put them into the same urn I put my father and pet iguana. Now they all live together, swimming around together in that jar. Hatching new schemes, telling each other ghost stories and just all-around having a great time. No thanks to “God.” I just hope I got all of Cobb’s brain off of them. My dad would hate him.
Five out of five stars.