Funny Fiction American

“You’ve just got to try this place, Walter. I’m tellin ya I’ve never tasted a better burger in all my life! It’s out on Highway fifty-one going west. I think it might be a truck stop but, at any rate, it’s darn good!”

So were the praises of my neighbor, Dave. I should have taken them with no more than a grain of salt. Dave is an alcoholic and a survivor of a car accident that destroyed his sense of taste and smell. But it still seems as though he can taste a little something. The food must be very spicy.  I declined the offer to go.

“No, no, no, Walter,” insists Dave. I’m tellin ya the truth! They make this thing called a triple bacon cheeseburger that is out of this world! Honestly, I could taste every bite. It was like a miracle!”

I concede with a sideways glance and a pat on Dave’s shoulder. 

Okay, Dave, I’ll try it sometime.”

His jaw drops open, and there’s a twinkle of joy in his eyes. “That will be great! Let me know how you like it. Okay?”

My wife Ruth greets me when I come through the door. “What was Dave talking to you about?”  Suddenly, my head is filled with the fantastic aromas of a pot roast boiling in the kitchen. I can almost feel the meat cooking slowly, allowing the spices to tenderize the roast, carrots, and potatoes to perfection. Ruth will pour the juices into a gravy bowl, and we will have hot buttered rolls on the side. My stomach grumbles in anticipation. Again, Ruth asks, “Well?”

I lift my eyebrows, “What? Oh, Dave. He told me about someplace out on the highway with, according to him, good burgers. I ask you, how can he even tell? He has no sense of taste! For all I know, he was probably half in the bag and ate a picture of a hamburger.”

“Walter!” Ruth scolds. Dave is our neighbor and tries to be friendly and helpful whenever possible. What’s the name of the place?”

From under hooded brows, I tell her. “Biggy’s Big Bite Burgers!” But listening to Dave might as well be the Waldorf Astoria!” Casting her eyes off to some distant spot in the kitchen, Ruth tells me she once asked Dave about his inability to taste. “He said he could taste some things along the outer edge of his tongue near the back of his throat. Just imagine how awful that must be.”

“Yeah, just like me now, smelling that delicious pot roast and being unable to eat it!”

as I’m savoring a mouthful of potatoes and gravy, Ruth says, “Perhaps we should try it sometime.” Stuffing in another bite of pot roast, my eyes narrow before I understand what she is talking about. I swallow hard, “You mean that hamburger joint?”

“Yeah! It could be good. You see it all the time on those TV shows. That guy with the white spiky hair is always finding some hole-in-the-wall place that serves five-star meals for five bucks.”

I use my knife to point over my shoulder to Dave’s house. “Ruth, dear. We’re talking about a place where Dave ate. I highly doubt that Biggy’s Big Bite Burgers is selling five-star cuisine.”

“Don’t be such a stick in the mud! What do you say we give it a try this Friday? Let’s be adventurous, uh?” I grab another roll, “Okay, it’s your funeral.”


My GPS says it’s twenty minutes from our house. “I hope you’re hungry,” I say, starting the car. I listen closely to the engine, hoping to hear a strange noise so I won’t have to go, but no such luck.

At the end of our twenty-minute ride, I see a sign on a post that reads “Eat Here” with an arrow pointing to the parking lot. Under that sign, someone stuck up a handwritten one that reads, “If You Dare!!” Glancing at Ruth, I smile, “Look! A Yelp review.”

Biggy’s Big Bite Burgers looks like someone found an abandoned shed and converted it into this joint. The neon light B is burned out in the word burgers. As I park the car, I ask Ruth, “What do you say, Dear, are you ready for your urgers?” There are more cars here than I expected, but several motorcycles also. I notice some riders are lingering around outside by their bikes. “I think this might be a biker bar. What say we leave now? I can see a Wendy’s just up ahead.”

I hear Ruth’s seatbelt fly open and her door unlock.  “ Don’t be such a scaredy-cat! Besides, I’m hungry, let’s go.”

I step out of the car, and the first breath I take gags me. With wide eyes, I put a hand over my nose and mouth to prevent smelling the pungent odor of sewage! “ Oh my God! Are you kidding me?” I bellow, “I’m out of here!” I start heading back to the car.  Seemingly unaffected by the stench, Ruth is already halfway to the front door. As I catch up to her, I hear a big fat biker wearing dark sunglasses and sporting a ZZ Tops-style beard say, “Hey, baby. What’s happening?” Ruth is fifty-eight, and this guy looks to be sixty-eight. My eyes begin to bulge out of my head as I start stuttering. I feel Ruth grab me by my arm and say softly, “Come on, just keep moving and shut your mouth.”

As soon as we enter, we’re accosted by loud heavy metal music, screaming conversations, and an abundance of four-letter words I haven’t heard since boot camp. Ruth is saying something to me, but I can’t understand.  I can only see her lips moving. Finally, she points with her chin. I turn to look and see standing before me, “Lydia the Tattooed Lady.” She stops mauling her gum long enough to shout, “YOU GUYS WANT A TABLE OR A BOOTH?’ I want to feel safe, so I request a booth. After scanning the dimly lit dining area, our waitress announces, “COME ON!”  Eyebrows high, I skeptically look to my wife and mouth, “Come on?”

 We slip into the booth and find it’s a decimal or two quieter here. The table is a filthy mess, and Lydia tells us she hasn’t had time to clean it yet but will now. She grabs a bottle of Lysol and sprays it everywhere, including on us. She wipes the whole thing off with a dishrag that looks as if it has never seen a washing machine in its entire life.

“Okey-Dokey! Are you guys ready to order?” Ruth responds as if we’re in a real restaurant, “Yes, please. We heard from a friend that the triple bacon cheeseburgers are really very good. We’d like that, please.”

“And would you like fries with that?”

“That would be nice.”

She looks at me and asks, “Would you like something to drink?” I blink and smile sweetly, “Yes, I would like a Coke--in a clean glass.” Ruth kicks me under the table, making me purse my lips and scrunch up my left eye.   Lydia then tells us that they are out of buns and asks if it would be alright if they were on white bread.  “We’ll toast it, of course.” I say, “Fine.”

 “Great!  I’ll place your order now.” She turns toward the kitchen and bellows, “Jimmy!  Two triple bacon and cheeseburgers with fries!” She turns back to us, tells us they’ll be out in a minute, and walks away.

After waiting twenty minutes, I spy a dessert menu and pick it up to see what they offer. The plastic menu is stuck to the holder, and my fingers slip right up it due to all the grease. Frowning, I declare, “Yuck!” and look at my fingers as if they are contaminated. “Do you have any sanitizer in your purse?” Ruth hands me the small bottle of Purell, and I empty almost half of it into the palm of my hand.  Scrubbing my hand furiously under the table, I see the only thing to dry them with is the paper napkin holding my dinner utensils. I swallow as fear strikes deep into my heart, thinking what condition those dinner utensils might be in hiding inside that napkin. Like a bomb expert defusing a bomb, I gently and gingerly unwrap the napkin. Falling back in my chair, I exhale the breath I am holding, relieved to see that the utensils are plastic wrapped in cellophane. Holding them up to show Ruth, I shake them. “You only find this type of silverware in high-class places.” Placing the packet back on the table, I notice the people sitting opposite us preparing to leave. Getting Ruth’s attention, I nod my head in their direction. “See those people about to leave? They came in after us, ordered the exact same meal, and are going. On the other hand, we have waited a good half an hour or more and still don’t have our drinks!” Ruth just sort of smirks and shrugs her shoulders. 

“Lydia the Tattooed Lady” brings us our Cokes with a promise that our meals will arrive soon. And sure enough, here they come.   The waitress proudly places our meals on the table and leaves us the check simultaneously.

I sit momentarily and stare at the unbelievably gelatinous mess before me.   It’s so thrown together that it doesn’t even look like a sandwich. Then I notice that my french fries are so overcooked that they resembled twigs off a tree. The toast must have been slathered in butter and then fried in the bacon grease, making it incredibly soggy. It looks as though it was soaked in a bucket of water. I can’t distinguish any bacon anywhere, and the three burger patties look like Brillo pads without the blue soap.  The cheese is just a yellow puddle in which everything sits.  Ruth’s plate looks the same, except her fries are undercooked and floppy.

“Ruth, dear, if I eat this, I will surely die. Let’s just go home and have a bowl of cereal or something, okay?’ I pay the bill and start walking toward the exit. The fat biker sits beside the door, no longer wearing his sunglasses. When he sees my wife, he grins a toothless grin and winks a glassy bloodshot eye. Ruth shoots him the finger!

We hold our breaths and race to the car. Once inside, I turn to Ruth, “Darling, let’s never listen to Dave ever again!” I slam the car into gear and peel out of the parking lot as fast as possible.

October 05, 2023 02:21

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Jerry Berney
20:25 Oct 09, 2023

I really felt like I was put in Walter’s shoes while reading this, and Walter did not have a pleasant time so that’s saying something!


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Mary Bendickson
17:08 Oct 05, 2023

Fine cuisine 😋. Oh, wrong place!


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