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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

holopopomo day 21: flame-broiled ballad

So here we are.

Today’s Horribly Local Poor Poetry Month (HoLoPoPoMo) entry is my attempt at a long (but not exactly epic), 19-stanza ballad:

flame-broiled ballad

‘Twas a cold and lonely Sunday 
Just mere hours from being Monday
In that un-renovated Burger King on the hill
At the drive-thru window stood
A broken woman, who soon would
Experience a shift that haunts her still

Her name was Jean Marie
She stood all of 5-foot-three
In sturdy shoes with comfy rubber soles
Her hair was tied up in a net
With a face that few forget
But her destiny was toasting sandwich rolls

Life can throw a curve
To bring us fates we don’t deserve
Or force us to choke down a bitter pill
So was the case with Jean
With her crises unforeseen
That brought her to that Burger King on the hill

But nonetheless she was
Doing what a mother does
When she has to bring home bacon to the nest
Though it pained her soul inside
She could not afford her pride
And worked the franchise known as second-best

Back to that fateful night
And to our heroine so slight
Keeping watchful eyes upon her skeleton crew
It was only her and Ron
Everybody else had gone
Oh, and Jennifer, though Jennifer was new

The van cut through the dark
Cashier Ronnie saw it park
His face grew pale when he saw them emerge
The high school football squad
Muddied up with late-game sod
Required a meaty, salty, failure-purge

At the same time, Jean Marie
Spied a silver SUV
Through the hidden camera at the drive-thru box
A crackling voice was heard
Before Jean could say a word
‘Twas the twelve cheerleaders for those Fighting Hawks

The dreaded moment came
“Special orders” was its name
Our Jean and Jen and Ron all felt a chill
There’d never been a rush
Or an unexpected crush
In that un-renovated Burger King on the hill

Our Jean Marie was flooded
Teenage girls can be hot-blooded
And none of them want mayo on their buns
For Ron, it was insane
Orders hit him like a train
And worse than that, he soon ran out of ones

But Jennifer, poor Jen
Was just a trainee then
And she barely knew the secrets of the grill
She’d worked for a pizzeria
Was harassed and thus said, “see ya”
This was how she’d come to BK on the hill

Twenty burgers, thirty fries
Chicken tenders, cherry pies
And for unknown reasons, milkshakes mixed with tea
No two sandwiches the same
Orders Jen just could not tame
All she could do was call out, “Jean Marie!”

‘Twas a quandary for Jean
For her hands were far from clean
Handling dirty dollar bills since 2 or 3
Without much time to think
She ran to the back room sink
Leaving cheerleaders to wonder why she’d flee

The prep counter was a mess
Jennifer would soon confess
That she had not watched the training films at all
Jean Marie fired up the fryer
With this situation dire
While Jennifer curled up into a ball

Jean Marie could feel the eyes
Of the football playing guys
Watch her slap together burgers in a blur
She threw fries into a cup
Barked at Ronnie, “order up!”
And no one in the world wished they were her

She slathered and she fried
She assembled and she cried
Her tears providing extra added salt
Though she soothed the giant boys
By throwing in some Kids’ Meals toys
This scheduling fiasco was her fault

As she filled the final bag
And Jen wiped up with a rag
Jean Marie made sure to add in ketchup packs
The girls had barely seen
All the chaos that had been
And they blithely drove away with all their snacks

The football team was fed
Left the store and went to bed
Because it was a school night, after all
But in the wake of war
We learn what our lives are for
Jean Marie soon sought employment at the mall

So if you should ever toil
Where sandwiches are wrapped in foil
Even in a store where customers are few
Don’t nod off as you gape
At that important training tape
For the Jennifer I speak of could be you

This story that I tell
Of this night of burger hell
Is often told to brand-new trainees still
To remember Jean Marie
When she single-handedly
Filled the orders in that Burger King on the hill

The end.

This is completely fictional, by the way. The Burger King I worked at was not on a hill, nor did I work the night shift. I can only hope that the events in this poem have not actually happened. 

Yes indeed. Welcome to me.

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