“Hi, welcome to McDonald’s. What can I get for you today?”
“I’ll have two Diet Cokes, a McDouble, and a medium fry.”
“Great. Please pull up to the window,” I said in a fake happy voice. Seriously, though. Who the heck orders McDonald’s at 11:34 PM?
I gave them their food, smiling and talking, generally being the opposite of how I feel. Now, don’t get me wrong. I like my job, I just hate it’s at night.
After the customer was gone, I slumped against the wall, exhausted. I could hear some people talking, probably Stella and Joe, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to go to sleep…
“Bailey! Bailey, wake up!”
My eyes snapped awake. Stella was standing in front of me, looking down at me with a frown on her face.
I groan, getting up. Just because she was a night person, doesn’t mean everyone else is.
“No sleeping on the job! A customer could have come, and you would be snoring away!” she reprimanded.
“Well, no one did,” I grumbled, checking the iPad out of boredom.
“But they could have! Honestly, I don’t understand how you are so tired!”
I swirled around, meeting her face. “It is midnight. How can you not be tired?” I hissed.
“I’m not tired because I am doing my duty as an employee!” she responded, looking scandalous.
I rolled my eyes. “Can I leave now?”
She shot me a dirty look. “You know when you are supposed to leave.”
“I can’t stay for another three hours!”
“Well, too bad. I need to check on Joe. You stay here.”
She glared at me one last time before leaving the room. I grumbled, straightening my hat as I looked out the window and into the sleepy street. There were a few cars here and there, but no cars pulled up to the drive-thru. The lights were flickering gently as the moon slowly paraded across the sky. How I longed to go back to my comfy bed… but my shift ended at 3:00 AM. I had to stay here.
Now, I know what you guys might be thinking. Why can’t I just do the morning shift? Well, my friends, I have a simple, four-word explanation.
I go to school.
Those words themselves should explain my entire existence.
For obvious reasons, I can’t get the morning shift. After school, I have to do homework, which, at most, takes four hours. Then I come here and leave at 3:00 AM.
And no, I don’t have sleep deprivation cuz I get six hours of sleep.
Anyway, enough about me. Let’s talk about McDonald’s.
The food is great. The people are great. But there’s one thing that isn’t great.
Ever since I started working here, there has been a disturbing rumor that terrifies some, but not all.
“It’s so stupid, everyone knows they don’t exist,” Stella huffs.
Now, according to Stella, ghosts don’t exist. Maybe she’s right, maybe she’s wrong.
But one thing’s for sure, something even Stella can’t argue against.
There’s something weird about this place.
Wrappers littered on the floor, moments after someone cleans it.
Doors left open.
Dirt and muck on the carpets and cabinets, even though it was spotless moments ago.
Strange scratching sounds on doors.
All these things happen after Stella, Joe, and I leave work at night. It’s sparkling clean when we leave, but the next morning, it’s a mess, even though all the doors are locked, and no one besides the employees has keys.
Joe and I are scared out of our minds, but Stella just scoffs.
“What are you guys, kids?” she demands. “There is no such thing as ghosts.”
“Then how do you explain the mess?” Joe and I shoot back.
Her mouth tightens into a line, but no words come out. Even a brainiac like Stella can’t explain this.
It’s 2:50. Oh god, let me out. Joe and Stella help me clean up the place, fully aware by the afternoon, it’s going to be a mess again.
At 3:10, we were going to close the door to leave, but I heard a strange noise. It sounded like… ruffling.
My heart pounding, I stopped Joe from closing the door.
“Something’s in there,” I whispered.
He gave me a blank look. “What?”
“I heard a sound,” I insisted.
“Oh, for heaven’s sake,” Stella muttered, pulling us inside the dark restaurant. She turned on her phone’s flashlight, illuminating the room. “There is nothing here. Can we please-”
She stopped cold. The sounds were getting louder, crinkles and moaning piercing the air.
She looked fearfully at us. We journeyed farther into the McDonald’s, Stella’s light sweeping from corner to corner, trying to locate the source of the noise. Joe and I followed behind her, straining our ears to catch more sounds. It wasn’t hard, the scratching and moaning got louder with every step we took.
Joe looked like he was going to pee his pants.
(Now, it would be hilarious, but at the time, it was horrifying… so…)
We walked further into the McDonald’s, looking at every corner and crevice. We were all too scared to talk. Finally, we located the sound. It was coming from the pantry where we keep our food.
“That ghost must be hungry,” Joe muttered.
Stella glared at him. I stepped forward and turned the doorknob. I took a deep breath and opened the door.
The next day, I went to work, but the first thing I did was go to the back, peering in some loose bricks on the wall. The raccoons stayed overnight.
“Bet you guys are full after eating all the food in the pantry,” I said, petting one with my finger. It blinked its eyes sleepily.
“Okay, I’ll stop bothering you. Bye, babies,” I cooed, standing up.
What? Raccoons are my favorite animals!
Anyway, I went inside, grinning at Stella and Joe. We managed to clean part of the mess in the pantry yesterday, but everyone was still muttering about the ‘ghosts’.
I just smirked and kept my mouth shut, finally enjoying my job.