“Burger Fervor,” by Walter Nyman

Dec 20th, 2016 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

A stray hamburger in the middle of the freeway stopped traffic for three hours. The news crew came in helicopters to film the event and conduct interviews. The hamburger had nothing to say. It was there for only one purpose: to be eaten. But who would eat it? It had been laying in the hot sun and there were probably bugs crawling on it now and at least a few people had wheat intolerances.

Finally, a brave soul came forward and declared himself “The Chosen One”. He stood a whopping six feet tall and wore leather gym shorts paired with a khaki wifebeater. His bare shoulders bore tattoos of his favorite professional bowlers: Jimster “Four-Fingers” Jackson and Chester “Bigballs” Charslton. He was known throughout town as the only man to ever eat the local Burgermonster’s 5 lb. Big Shit Burger in one sitting.

The Big Shit left him comatose for the following two weeks, during which time he had recurring dreams of a strange hamburger laying on a familiar freeway. The dreamburger had pickles and spoke to him in a sharp cheddar accent. It told him he was The Chosen One and that if he were ever to see a hamburger like it in real life, he should eat it without thinking.

Now he stood before that very hamburger, but this time he was not dreaming. He could feel the humid wind on his elbows and the vibration on the road from the thousands of idling cars behind him. He was hungry. He hadn’t eaten since breakfast. The burger looked up at him and the sharp cheddar was melted in such a way that made it look kind of like a smile. The burger was smiling at him and saying, “Eat me, Chosen One, eeaat meee.”

He knew what to do so he stopped thinking and leaned over and grabbed the burger with two hands, lifted it up to his snarling teeth and ripped a big bite off it. It was gooey and had bits of gravel stuck to the bun, but it tasted like a burger should. He finished the rest of it in three bites then wiped his face with a handkerchief drawn from a back leather pocket.

He took two breaths, then turned around to face the thousands of awestruck drivers who had stopped honking and sitting to watch what was happening. He lifted his arms, raised his head and roared,

“I HAVE DEFEATED THE ROGUE HAMBURGER! I WANT A STATUE MADE IN MY NAME TO HONOR MY BRAVERY!”

All the people in their cars applauded and hooped and hollered and started a chant of “Cho-Sen-One, Cho-Sen-One!”

Then, suddenly, the hamburger hero made a rubber-ducky-like squeaking noise, clutched his chest, collapsed, flopped around for about seventy-two seconds, then died. Hundreds in the crowd rushed to his aid, but it was too late and he was too dead. An autopsy would later reveal that the hamburger had laid out in the sun far too long and carried a fast-actin’ Tinactin-pamphloma virus that shut down his nervous, circulatory, and limbic systems.

The town made good on his final wish by constructing the statue he asked for. They tried at first to make the statue out of hamburgers, but it kept collapsing, even when they used a lot of glue, so they decided to make it out of petrified macaroni instead.

Macaroni is very stable.

————

Walter Nyman┬álives near the ocean and recently saw multiple whales. Whales are enormous and highly hydrodynamic, but cannot swim upside down. You know that now. He sometimes eats toast with just jam on it, but most of the time he butters it beforehand, though not before toasting it ’cause that would make a mess in the toaster. It shall also henceforth be known that Walter approves of two-toed sloths, but not three-toed sloths. That’s too many toes for a sloth.

 

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