Journal entry, 3/15/14: To celebrate “pi” day yesterday, Justice Minotaur and Mr. Cornwall drove the Peugeot to a McDonalds drive-through to order an apple turnover, the closest thing to “pie” that was reasonably available. Minotaur was at the instruments. After accomplishing the transaction at the drive-through window, Minotaur, while still in front of the window, put the vehicle in park and gummed the turnover bit by bit for about forty-five minutes until it was completely gone. Traffic behind him in the drive-through lane was backed up about a mile and a half, even back past the plant where they make the two-person coffins.
Mr. Cornwall pointed out that he had not eaten anything, so with some complaining Minotaur circled the car back around and pulled into a parking stall, after which the two men entered the restaurant.
It should be noted that there is one McDonalds in New Salem for about every five hundred adults. Factors contributing to the density of this particular hamburger restaurant appear to be an unusual craving for the sauce that is advertised as “special” and the fact that a third of the New Salemite population bear a striking resemblance to Ronald McDonald. Since he is apparently only a fictional character, he cannot be the father of one-third of New Salem, but perhaps if regional history were traced back beyond the civilized period (roughly two hundred years) one would find one or more clowns in what then would have been a small pool of founders. It is known that clown genes are never recessive.
In contrast to McDonalds in the United States, which Minotaur and Cornwall have occasionally visited in their international travels, McDonalds restaurants in New Salem never have an indoor playground, which is essentially a place (for those who have not seen one) where hyperactive children with extremely productive glands, often joined by unshowered Boy Scouts, interact aggressively in a weather-sheltered environment where neither the sun’s rays nor any form of precipitation can effect any natural sanitization. Instead, children are tethered lightly to a pole outdoors and adults are treated to regular fast-food restaurant decor plus often an attached and enclosed “adult park” area generally consisting of about fifty square feet of artificial turf garnished with a park bench and two pigeons with dysentery.
It was in this park area that Minotaur and Cornwall consumed their meal–for Minotaur, another apple turnover that he gummed even more slowly than its predecessor and for Cornwall, three menu items bundled together at discount and promoted as a “combo” (or combination) meal. Minotaur, evidently quite relaxed, discoursed at great length. Between bites of his fish sandwich, Cornwall scrambled to record as much as possible of Minotaur’s utterances, writing with a golf pencil on the back of the tray liner.
“See that man over there at the self-service beverage station? See how he has filled his cup with ice, then, finding that he put more in than he desired, has poured some the excess into the discard area? Oh, how it angers me to see someone wasting ice! Imagine what Father Adam would have given to be able to put a couple of ice cubes in his V8, or whatever he preferred to drink.”
“Many people spend a lot of time determining what they would select as their last meal if they were going to be executed. To be sure, it is a fascinating topic of conversation. I have always figured I would eat something that was most likely to complicate the work of the clean-up crew and the coroner. For example, I have wondered if one’s last meal were four blueberry pies and 100 Alka-Seltzer tablets whether one’s abdomen would literally explode blue offal once it was penetrated by the arrow [Cornwall’s note: in New Salem, capital punishment is administered by an arrow shot by a bow wielded by the oldest surviving World War II veteran].”
“When I was a boy we visited some cousins in Northern California. The whole area was covered by vegetable fields, each growing vegetable like a star of the heavens. We took scimitars and went around beheading lettuces and artichokes until a farmer tried to blow us up with dynamite.”
“The Golden Ratio is the ideal proportion of French-filleted potato fries to icy cold carbonated sugary beverage. Ideally one full quaff of beverage remains after the final fry is masticated. As a separate matter, the consumer must be sure to eat and drink with haste so that the last potato fry is still hot and the last gulp is still frigid.”