the short story project


Tommy Friend

Only In America

  I’m South America Lima Peru in 2004. I and my girlfriend are Downtown. She has to run errands before we leave the city to spend a week at a 5 Star Resort. I know your thinking I won the lottery, No it’s only $500 to stay there for a week, with 3 meals a day and everybody at the resort treating you like your super rich. She says “I have one more stop then we can get a taxi leave town”. It was a very hot & sunny day. Lima Peru only gets like 2 inches of rain and never snows in Peru only up way high in the mountains do you see white snow caps. I want to go to the ocean and do other stuff but I only had a two paid Vacation. I took a whole day flying to get there. Not like my girlfriend who gets a month off with pay every year. My girlfriend said to me I need to go into the bank it will only take a minute or two. What would you like to eat or where do you want to go to eat? I look down the street and on the next block I saw the golden arches in the sky, I look at her and say “I want to go to McDonald’s. I want a Big Mac so bad”. She Ok I’ll be right out, she goes inside and I light up a smoke. I don’t I bought smokes to South America cause there are cheaper here than in America. She comes out of the bank and we walk two blocks to McDonald’s. I didn’t have my Camaro it was back in Fayette Iowa.

   As we are walking, I tell have amazing Mcdonald’s story. I was young, we grow very poor and on welfare. We would get food stamps to buy our food at the 1st of every month. My mother had 5 kids but only 4 of us lived with her. 4 of us have different fathers and they were never around to take care of us.

   Mcdonald’s had a special if you got 4 or 5 stickers on this coupon you would get a FREE Big Mac. I & my older sister would stand outside of Mcdonald’s and ask strangers for their stickers from their Big Mac containers. Excuse me Sir or Miss “we were wondering if we could have your stickers to get a FREE Big Mac. I don’t if was are big smiles on our faces or our nice clothes from the 2nd hand stores but No one said NO!. Everybody gave us their stickers. One day I was walking thru the alley I notice the top of the dumpster there were Big Mac Containers with stickers still on them. I grab and started to rip them off. I notice more in the dumpster, So I jump in. I was thinking to myself. What are these people crazy don’t they know you can get a FREE Big Mac when you collect all the stickers. we always ate well at the 1st of the month it was the end of the month that really sucked. Not having food for days. But not that month Big Mac every day as many as you wanted and I never got tired of eating them. I told her life was good as I was laughing, she said You looked so excited you’re getting to go to McDonald’s.

  I & my girlfriend walk into the Mcdonald’s their nobody in line. I said HOLA COMO ESTAS, That’s all I knew to say to the girl worker. It means “Hello, how are you?”. I tell my girlfriend what I want and she tells the worker in Spanish what we want. Still very thirsty I want to get my Iced cold diet coke. The worker put out a tray and sets the drinks on the tray. I grab my drink immediate put the straw in my mouth. And tasted the piss warm soft drink. I open the lid and look at my girlfriend and say. What the fuck? this is piss warm and their no ice in it, this girl forgot to put Ice in my drink. My girlfriend says Their use to put ice all the way to the top of the cup. You paying for soda and it’s mostly Ice, So we complained about it and they stopped doing that. She says we are not paying for frozen water. Now I’m more shocked decades ago we use to bitch about that but never stop. In America, they get you more Iced that soda (or POP) or sweet tea. we stopped bitches cause there nothing you can do it. Wow! it’s must be nice to live in a country where the Companies listen to their customers. I said to the worker Hasta La Vista, Baby. McDonald’s worker was laughing & smiling. So was my girlfriend. Everywhere I went for not knowing a lot of words in Spanish. Maybe only a dozen words. I always had everyone smiling and laughing. It’s was an amazing Vacation. I always dreamed of seeing the world. I could believe how much I and she had in common. I told her when I was a kid I always dreamed of living by the Ocean & getting married in a huge church. having kids, two dogs. She told me two Catholic nuns taught her English when she was a little girl. She always dreamed of getting married in their Catholic church here in LIMA PERU. She owns a house less than two miles away from the beach, There something so amazing about seeing the sunset in the Ocean. I had worked for years & years saving money driving a truck over the road. I told her I want to here in Lima. She wasn’t laughing but she couldn’t stop smiling after she heard that. For many many years, I thought my dreams would never ever come true.

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