Monday, January 2nd, 2017
Jack in the Box has Wi-Fi, and their coffee is cheaper than Starbucks. I’ve got a fistful of coupons and I’ll admit, without shame, that Jack in the Box sells the best junky breakfast I could ask for, at any time of the day. I don’t go there often, mainly because the nearest one is across the money order kiosk I remember so well, thanks to two boys who didn’t look older than seventeen. They sat in a Chrysler, the passenger nodding over and over as he pointed to me, drenched in my ivory sweater. The attendant behind the window advised me to stand across from her until the boys left. After twenty minutes, she rolled her eyes and told me, “Girls get snatched up on this street all the time.”
I thanked her, left with my security deposit, and slowly walked beneath the overpass, remembering the safety alert from two years before about a sedan falling from the upper level near Martin Street. Someone died. I cringe each time I walk near a highway, contemplating the weight of steel and rubber against my brittle chest. A thousand, ten thousand, a million silenced pieces that wouldn’t be disputed to the degree that I’ve questioned the veracity behind Jack in the Box’s calorie counts.
Roasted Black Coffee: Five calories.
Iced Coffee, Flavored: One hundred eighty to two hundred ten calories.
Black coffee sounds too good to be true, but what do I know of its truth? Without sweetened creamer, I often opt for tea. That too was on the menu, something around one hundred calories.
Hell, I’m not scared of calories, but I know I must stray from caffeine and processed sugars. I’ve just now adjusted myself to a proper sleeping schedule. My routine would take months to rectify if I toy with it again.
No one dines in at this Jack in the Box. The tables and floors are bleached to a modest gloss. I wonder if this is one of those spots where “girls get snatched up.” I suggest to myself that this may be one of those spots to get work done, with the coupons I have and the Wi-Fi stickers slapped on every door.
The police academy’s several blocks down, but it’s not the place to call when someone crawls through the drive-through window, angry that truly, Jack ran out of his awesome bacon n’ cheese potato wedges. I often think of the worst, and again, I toss away the idea of writing at a restaurant. The last time was at a McDonald’s, where I was reprimanded by a manager for swaying to Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose.”
“You’re disturbing my customers,” the manager snapped.
It’s hard to consolidate life’s taunting list of things that disturb the conscience.