Shake a Tail Feather

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I checked my bike before leaving: all fine, what with the hail and everything. I might have to find a better parking spot before it gets all rusty and dented.

For now, old Dave is on foot so I guess I am too. We got a long way to go, but I'd rather walk a mile than chew on greasy fries surrounded by corporate zombies like Ms. Suey and the contract pixie. At 60 inches, I'm allowed to poke fun at small people like that.

We're walking pretty much in the middle of the road, given how little traffic there is. On both sides, it's looking more and more like a proper rainforest. I love that feeling, those hues of green. At least that part of town is enjoying the out-of-season weather. I'm slightly less in love with the bug life, but I can deal.

From time to time, we have to move out of the road, onto red crumbled rock and tall grass. We're making good progress. Dave seems pretty fit for his age. He hasn't tried to hook me up on paranormal 101 again, he hasn't tried flirting, I guess we're good.

It just struck me that I don't know when we're supposed to resume work. Looking at how far we're walking, I'd say we're getting a pretty big lunch break. I really do have to find Rodrigo tomorrow and ask him about the contract. I have a feeling Dave wouldn't know either. He probably winged it until now.

After a turn in the road, there is a large gravel patch stretching to the right of it to form a parking. There are no cars nor trucks parked right now. A sort of log cabin with a terrace oversees the road from the end of the gravel patch. Closer to us, on the other end, there is a wooden sign painted with the words 'H O T D O G S & M O R E'. We've arrived at fast food shack.

I have a bad feeling about the menu here, I guess we'll see. We climb the big wooden stairs. I have a feeling this wasn't built with your conventional fallen trees trunks. From where I stand, I see a lot of railroad ties along with other unusual materials. Maybe I shouldn't ask too many questions.

A panel sitting besides the door confirms my doubts: the only vegetarian food here is fries. When Dave hears about it, he starts laughing.

"You know what kind of factory you're working at, right?" he says, giggling. "This isn't exactly the place for animal rights!"

"So what," I say. "Are you suggesting that I starve? What kind of job am I supposed to get around here? You know, a lot of people make fun of me for not eating animals. I don't really get it. I mean, do I laugh at people every time they go and have a steak or finger nuggets?"

Dave pushes the door and we enter the place. There are two or three tables, a door labeled 'kitchen' with the same kind of paint that was used outside.

"Yeah," says Dave, "I was just thinking, you're gonna have to do that gross job, put chicken through the grinder and you're not even eating them."

"Oh, don't worry," I say, "I think by working here, even if I wasn't already disgusted by meat, I'd be done with chicken. I wonder who can stand to eat that shit after a full factory day, honestly?"

Dave thinks. He grins. "You've got a point there. Lately, I've been craving for vegetables. I might already be a goner."

Some guy comes from the kitchen to greet us. Strangely, from the way he carries himself, I know he's the son of this place. Something like he never had the energy to get another job. With that same vitality, he takes our orders.

"Is there anything you could put on those fries that isn't meat?" I ask.

He has to seriously think about it for a while. "I guess you could add cheese or gravy." Gravy. Really.

"I'll go with cheese, thanks." This won't be the best meal ever but I'm getting pretty hungry. I'd better start bringing my meals from tomorrow on.

Dave eats a sort of double hot-dog so full of sauce it's dripping on the table. Craving vegetables my ass. I guess what I've learned from half a day with him is: never take Dave seriously. In that light, even this morning's cult speech seems more like a bad deadpan joke.

It takes us the whole of ten minutes to be done wolfing the food - fast food it is - then we have all the time to digest it while walking back. I'm feeling oddly content, walking through that lush nature with warm greasy food in my belly. Simple pleasures. I might have made a happy monkey.

Before we're even at to the fence, I see a line of workers waiting in front of the administration building. Rodrigo wasn't kidding about them needing more hands! They're all waiting without moving much, neatly lined up, going forward every time one of them goes out of the building. I guess we're getting a lot more help on our few square meters of poo heaven. We were almost halfway done, anyway.

For some reason, they seem to make Dave nervous. Maybe he doesn't like competition. Maybe he can't tell a joke in front of a crowd. Whatever.

We're almost done passing them by when I spot Leon in the line. He's a bit far, but I'm pretty sure it's him. I should ask him about Tig and how she's been doing since yesterday. Is it really a good time to leave her alone?

I try calling out to him, but he doesn't react at all. Am I wrong about him being Leon after all?

I'm about to try one last time when Dave doubles back and grabs my arm. "Don't," he says, visibly shaken. "Don't bother them. Don't make them see you. Let's just go. We're late, anyway."

Dave, old man? Buddy? I really can't seem to figure you out.


* * *


Big revelations in the next few chapters, stay tuned! And if you liked what you read, don't hesitate to share it in my stead, as I am quite seriously absent from social media.

Love, see you Sunday :)

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