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Happy Meal



Few suspected that the restaurant's ball pit was the entrance to the underworld. Those that did were often disregarded, as their appearances tended to be perfumed with body odor and cigarettes which, as we all know, really turns people off of your ideas.

The focus of our disinterest and feigned attention is shared by their kin: teenagers. And—of course—it was teenagers who found the entrance to hell. Someone was bound to, and by far those types who don’t yet possess the foresight to consider their actions fall into that particular category of ‘young’ which intersects with ‘stupid’.

Half drunk, stoned, and with the remaining small capacity reserved for french fries, none suspected anything amiss until Philip disappeared into the bottom of the pit and didn’t resurface; not the friends, not the underpaid cashier with true, utter knowledge of the gaping void in their eyes, not anyone.

The drunkest, Gina, was busy making snow angels in the plastic when she went under. As far as correlation goes, the absence of the loudest drunk draws the most attention. As the remaining few gathered around, terrified of going in but equally terrified of losing their friends, one by one they toed into the pit.

What the cashier and the rest saw: three obviously high, trembling teenagers wading into a ball pit as if it was a death sentence, the absurdity heightening as one of the teens burst into tears.

What the teens saw: plastic balls, plastic balls, plastic balls until they hit the bottom. The bottom? They surfaced, expecting to stand back up and find the missing duo stealing their food, expecting it all to be a joke.

They stood in the same restaurant, in the same pit. Gina and Philip sat at their table, listening to a tall figure clothed in black.

“You can’t be here.” It was saying as the remaining group approached. “You don’t understand—you aren’t authorized.”

“I’m authorized.” Gina declared, “’m fucking authorized, you bitch.”

“The Lord of Darkness would much appreciate not being referred to as a bitch.”

“I’ll call’u whatever I want, bitch.”

Philip, looking slightly green, promptly slumped forward and vomited onto the robes of the Lord of Darkness.

The figure turned away, disgusted, and spotted the other teens. High, tortured screams sounded in the distance, behind the drive-thru. The cashier—the same as above—stared at the wall.

“Don’t tell me there’s more of you…” It groaned. “Listen, you’ve got to go. I’m on my lunch break. I don’t need this shit.”

It gathered its robe around them, and in the blink of an eye they were back sitting before their cold fries and half-eaten burgers, dazed. Not missing a beat, the food of hell still in her mouth, Gina began to finish her meal, recounting how the Lord of Darkness had looked when she told It that ‘a big dress-wearing motherfucker ain’t gonna get laid looking like a trashbag grandma’.

The cashier couldn’t be fussed—she’d seen weirder.


Elizabeth Biron is a writer, amateur astronomer, and dog enthusiast based in Atlanta. She can be found at her blog thegreenhousetraveller.wordpress.com, @hocus_potus on Twitter, or in the nearest dog park.
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