writing

Hamburgers

Amusing myself with cops, hamburgers and clowns



When Officer Stephanie Patterson pulled into the lot where the hamburger joint had burned down, she was not expecting to find a clown sitting on the curb. But, there he was, all six-foot, seven inches of him. The yellow shirt he wore was, emblazoned with the logo of the burger chain and smudged black with smoke and soot. The toes of his oversized red shoes pointed at the sky, and tears streamed down his cheeks. She nosed her prowl car into the curb nearby and rolled down the window.

“ ’Sup Ronnie?” she asked.

“Fuck me, Steph, the place burned down… a goddamn grease fire in the French fry machine. What am I going to do now? I’m a hamburger clown. That’s all I am, and now there is no hamburger joint. How am I supposed to live? I like being a hamburger clown. This is my career.” He reached into the pocket of his ballooned trousers and came out with a crumpled pack of Lucky Strikes. He shook one out, straightened it up, then placed it between his lips before offering her one.

She shook her head, no. As if by magic, Ronald produced a blue disposable lighter and inhaled; as he lit the cigarette.

“You think I can get a job on the force, Steph?” He asked. Do you think I’d make a good cop? Shit, Stephanie. I never thought something like this would happen! Not in my worst nightmare.”

Officer Patterson got out of her car and leaned her butt against the bonnet. “I don’t think you could get a job with the PD, Ronnie,” she said with a wry grin, “We already have our quota of buffos.”

“You watch,” the clown intoned, “I’ll have to go back to work with the forest service. I’m telling you that I am way too old to be slinging a chainsaw around anymore.”

“I should not be saying this, Ron, but the word is that the school system might be hiring a custodian to work at the high school. My brother’s going to go for that job, though, so you didn’t hear it from me.”

“I didn’t hear a thing. If I get the job, though, do you think they’d let me wear my rubber nose?”