The burgers sizzled on the griddle. Bun, lettuce, onions and ketchup off to the side. I glance at the ticket. Drop the fries into the famished Canola oil. Nine more orders are tugging at my grease-tipped sleeves. Bring it on. I’m in the zone, slinging meat and killing potatoes. Sweat leaking from my ball cap. A welcomed type of sweat. Perspiration that pays. Heals.

I walked into this burger joint three weeks ago. Broken. Groveling. Borrowed a pen from the cute counter girl with a nose ring. Filled out the application, adding a few small untruths to cover the gaps of unemployment. My hair was unruly, my beard unkempt. Clothes outsized and pilfered from a church bin, shoes battered from pounding ashpalt. Walking to soup kitchens, walking to forget. Told the manager a sad tale. Homeless, formerly addicted, just needed a break. Pleaded softly. He stared. His eyes measured me, my eyes returned the volley with an inaudible prayer. Shook my hand. Start Monday he told me.

I flip a couple of beef patties and pulled the fries out before the coroner had to be called. Grabbed the pickles. Wiped my forehead, eight more tickets needing my magic. I wrap the burgers snugly and smiled at nose ring girl. Hope was percolating again. I shuffle over to the griddle, people are hungry, so am I. Bring it on.

Chris Milam


Chris Milam resides in Hamilton, Ohio. He’s a voracious reader and a lover of baseball. A flash story of his was recently published by The Molotov Cocktail.

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