As Ace pulled into the KFC, he looked up at the red and white sign depicting a smiling bearded man with glasses enticing people to enter the parking lot.
"This looks like a good parking spot," Ace said as he brought Betty to rest behind the restaurant and powered her off.
"Yeah!" Ivan said as he extended his cyber-implant and jacked into the data port in the dashboard. "I'm starting the diagnostics now."
"Cool," Ace said. "Well, I'm going to hop out and stretch my legs while you run those diags."
"Yeah," Ivan said as his eyes fluttered from the computer interface activity. "I'll be a few minutes here."
Ace hopped out of the cab and was immediately hit in the face with the smell of something mouthwatering and delicious. The scent was unlike anything he'd smelled before. It was earthy, sweet, and savory. He inhaled deeply and became overwhelmed with a warm and delightful sensation flooding his body.
"Mmmm," Ace sniffed and spoke to himself. "Man! What is that smell? Oh. My. God. It...It...Smells...Delicious!"
A desire began to stir within him, a ravenous craving that went beyond standard hunger. Like the smell was somehow calling to his soul itself. It was a near-religious experience. Like being wrapped in the arms of the Creator himself and having His delicious perfume fill Ace's nostrils and very essence.
"Oh man!" Ace said. "I have got to see what's going on inside that KFC!"
Ace followed his nose and walked into the KFC salivating like a starving ralladog.
When Ace stepped into the KFC the scrumptiously scented air flooded his senses. He was so moved emotionally he had to pause for a moment, close his eyes, and just stand there inhaling. His knees weakened for a moment.
If pure happiness had a smell, Ace mused. This must be it.
The restaurant had a few occupied tables where people sat and picked at their meals. It looked like the main attraction was a sort of meat with a golden crispy outer layer. Everyone had some of that. Most everyone had biscuits (easy for Ace to identify because every culture in the galaxy has biscuits) and white pasty mush covered in a brown sauce. Some people had what looked like little bent tubes covered in sticky orange goo. But the meat—that had to be the fried chicken. There were pictures of it everywhere. On the windows, on hanging signs, everywhere.
A counter sat prominently situated to Ace's right with a large menu on the awning above it. A customer was ordering, and Ace strained to hear.
Behind the counter stood a young woman with shoulder-length jet black hair and bangs that stuck out from under her KFC visor hat. She wore a red knit collared shirt with KFC embroidered on the chest. Ace was intrigued by the way she yelled at the customer.
"Jesus Christ! Not again!" she yelled. "You guys just hit us last week!"
"Shut up!" the customer barked back. "Put it all in the bag!"
Ace worried the customer was going to get all the chicken before he had a chance to get some. When Ace got closer, however, he noticed the woman pulling out paper money from the register and shoving it into a plastic KFC bag. He had seen money loads of times on various TV shows and movies but was still taken aback by how small the paper notes actually were.
"Hurry up!" the customer yelled, gesturing with something in his hand. Not any something. A gun.
Is this guy robbing the place? Ace thought.
Ace watched as the woman behind the counter shoved more cash in the bag. She had tears in her eyes, and her voice trembled as she said, "Goddammit," with every thrust of her hand. She had a strength in her voice, but it also dripped with fear and sadness.
YOU ARE READING
Ace Tucker Space TruckerScience Fiction
Ace Tucker thinks Earth can eat a turd sandwich... Ace Tucker is a man who was raised in outer space and taught how to be human by a Russian cyborg chimpanzee. He earns a living as a rock-and-roll roadie and cargo hauler for the greatest band in the...