Just another little bit from Burn. Some scene setting for the 22nd century.  And a jk Rowling moment for those with sharp eyes (or geek brain, possibly )

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“It’s Tee not Tiguh,” I say patiently, explaining the pronunciation of my chosen name for the millionth time.  I am trying to get a job selling fries at a burger joint, because bills need paying and I am  trying not to fall back on the fucking Game again. I smile, pushing the gum I’ve been chewing furiously for at least an hour under  my tongue so I can do it sweetly. My brain is running at a hundred fucking miles an hour thanks to the Polyphetamines I swallowed for breakfast. I had to get out the fucking door of our apartment somehow, and straight just wasn’t gonna do it today. Not when I have to  trudge the fucking rain drenched streets of Cali  in October  for work.
“That’s a crazy kind of name. Is it french or something? “ the chairbound manager asks me, his many chins wobbling as he speaks. He’s obviously very fond of his merchandise;  his desk is littered with burger  wrappers and empty boxes of fries and he’s talking to me around the edges of a double cheeseburger that’s dripping grease and molten cheese on those chins of his. Maybe I’d be better off back on the Game, I think briefly before giving myself a mental shake.
“It’s irish,” I tell him.  I could add that it means poet or bard, and that it’s actually a man’s name – it was my mother’s Grandda’s name, but he’s only pretending to be interested and I’m only pretending to be interesting.
“Irish? Huh,” he responds with a shrug of his fatbound shoulders, which kind of wobble in a way that steals what’s left of my appetite. Admittedly,  that’s fuck all anyway thanks to those Polys.  “So, Teee, you ever flip burgers before? “
What kind of inane question is that? How fucking important in the grand scale of things is flipping fucking burgers?  Why the fuck am I here again? Oh yeah, bills to pay.
“I’ve waited tables and I’ve cooked in a restaurant kitchen before,” I tell him, stretching the truth around the inconvenient fact that I have actually only spent less than a day doing either.  I’ve got bad attitude, I get fired.  
“Ahh, but you haven’t flipped burgers.  There’s an art to it you know, it ain’t just about turning the pattie over so it don’t burn,” he begins to explain expansively.  Sweet fucking Sol, he thinks this shit is important. 
“Really?” Now it’s my turn to pretend to be interested.  Is it worth it? Yeah, yeah, bills to pay.
“Oh yeah!  Turn that sucker over too soon and you’re going to mess with it’s integrity.  Turn it over too slow, and well, it burns,” Shit yeah, it’s not fucking rocket science is it? Do burgers even fucking have integrity? Got to keep all this cynicism off my face, got bills to pay!  Just give me the job and spare me the rhetoric! Fuck me, these pills are strong. I wonder where Kate got them. Maybe it was that new boyfriend of hers, the one that’s moved in but I haven’t seen yet.
“I’m a quick learner, hopefully I’ll have the knack in no time,” I tell him, surprised at myself at how tactful that is.  I really do have bad attitude, I don’t normally entertain such pathetic, meaningless bullshit.  That’s why I’ve had like ten jobs in the last month or so.  Maybe I’m learning? Or desperate? Or too speedy to care? Fuck knows.
“Oh no, it’s not a knack, it’s an art, for sure.  This whole chain is founded on the burger, and the best burger is one that’s been flipped just right,”
Aww, c’mon.  This is just bullshit.  Who gives a fuck about your precious burger chain? This shit is just made of the same disgusting insect puree as every other cheap ass burger joint on or off planet. Breath, Tighe,  focus. Remember that time you needed ‘Drine so bad you fucked a guy just about as fat? Let’s not fucking go back there, girl.
“Well, then, I’m looking forward to learning how to do it just so,” I reply in a saccharine voice,  hoping very much he can’t hear my teeth grinding as I force the words out. I throw him another smile and pray I’m not showing too many teeth.  He gives me a look like he’s trying to figure out if I’m being sarcastic, so I try to look innocent and chew my gum. After a minute he seems content enough with my sincerity.
“I can give you a day trial, then we can see from there if you can fit in here. Go back through to the kitchen and get Jason to get you kitted up and show you the ropes. If it works out, you’ll get paid $4 an hour from the afternoon shift on. If you’re still here in a month,  I’ll start paying you minimum wage,”
$4 an hour for a month? What the fuck?  That’s not going to cover my share of the fucking rent, not even fucking close. Who is this fucking joker? I can feel the venom boiling right up inside me, even while my brain is desperately trying to remind me that I really fucking do need the money.  Fuck knows what my expression looks like while the inside of my head starts to have a screaming argument with itself,  but fatboy stops munching on his burger and starts to furrow his brow.  Shit, get it together girl! I take a big gulp of air, accidentally inhale my fucking gum and start choking.  The next thing I know I’m thumping myself on the chest with my eyes streaming while I struggle to get the gum dislodged and the air into my lungs. Fatboy doesn’t get up,  he just watches me with bulging eyes. I’m practically on my knees, then I somehow manage to  slap myself hard enough that I’m going to find bruises there later, and the gum dislodges.
“What the fucking hell?  Were you just gonna sit on your blubber butt and watch me die, you motherfucker? “ I shriek, my voice cracking and spit flying because I am still fucking coughing between my words.
“Now, young lady, I don’t condone such language in my staff. I think I might have to retract my offer, “ he tells me, puffing himself up as much as the layers of burger grease will let him.  I lose it completely then and start calling him all the motherfuckers under Sol. The next thing I know, two guys – one big and bulky, the other a wiry streak of piss – come barging through the office door and grab hold of me.
“Get your fucking hands off of me!” I rage, fighting immediately.
“Get her out of  here and don’t ever let her back through the front door! She’s banned! Barred!” Fatboy yells over me, and the big guy tries to start dragging me out through the office door.  I struggle and spit like a wildcat, breaking free long enough to throw a punch at Fatboy that bloodies his nose with a most satisfying crunch. This time the big guy scoops me up off my feet, so I wriggle until I find purchase enough with my teeth to bite him and force him to drop me.  I get dropped,  almost on top of the other dude, who latches on to me quick as a snake and with really surprising strength for such a skinny guy twists me into a hold I can’t get out of. 
“He’s a dick, totally deserved that punch, so please don’t make me call the cops to take you away, ” he says really quietly in my ear. I sigh then and quit trying to struggle, so the wiry guy walks me out to the pavement. 
“Tell him where to stick his “perfectly flipped “  burgers and his job,” I spit as he lets me go.
“Dude, I’d fucking love to,  but I need the fucking money, “ he tells me. I let out a groan,  the realisation dawning that I’ve let my temper screw me again.
“Me too. Shit. I’d better keep looking, “
“I know a guy who runs a club on Rodeo, he’s always looking for girls,” He starts, and I guess he’s trying to be helpful,  but there’s good reason I haven’t been trawling the Strip and Rodeo for work and it ain’t cos I think I’m too good for it. Stripping is way above turning tricks in my books, and I’ve done more than my share of the latter. Nope, I gotta thank the ‘Drine habit I just kicked and my beloved Dad for the scars that mean stripping is not an option.  Not that I’m gonna tell this dude that, so I’m just gonna fake it.
“I don’t do that,  Man,” I say, rather frostily too. His face kind of falls in a way that makes me feel like I kicked a lil dog.
“Why not? You’re more than pretty enough, “ he says, mumbling shyly suddenly , and even through the Polys and the rage I realise he means well by it. He’s giving me a bouncing puppy dog kind of vibe, like that’s the kind of person he would be under more normal circumstances.  Still,  I ain’t the kind of girl who goes gooey over puppy dogs.
“Just because I’m a girl don’t mean I have no fucking self esteem,  Man. Why’d you think I punched your dick manager?”
“Hey, sorry, Dude, I didn’t mean any offence, “ he replies defensively,  hurt plain in those puppy eyes. No guy has ever called me dude before but because of the guilt I’m suddenly feeling I let that  shit slide.  I take a deep breath,  see that I’m being too much of a bitch, and apologise.  He tells me his name is Jason, I tell him I’m Tighe. He goes back inside, I start trudging again and don’t ever expect I’ll meet him again. Of course,  y’all know that‘s not what happened, but we ain’t there quite yet.

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  1. […] the Road (rock n roll road trip) Writing Surviving (post apocalyptic supernatural thriller) Writing Burn (near future fictional rock bio) Writing The Dark Wave (sci-fi space opera with Pirates), […]

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