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Rated: ASR · Short Story · Paranormal · #2228186
I wanted a burger and fries. I got more weirdness, instead.
I sighed as I pulled up to the restaurant, wiping sweat off my brow. July in South Carolina is hotter than the fifth layer of Dante’s Inferno, and air conditioning can only do so much for the brutal humidity stew of living in that bowl between the Atlantic Ocean (where a tropical storm was brewing to hit us in the next five days) and the Smoky Mountains.

At least there’s take out to save the day! I thought, as I trudged across the baking asphalt. It had been a busy day. I was as burned as this pavement between work emergencies and helping my parents. I opened the door to a welcome rush of cold air, and stopped. The place was full of people, a rare sighting in the COVID-19 era.

“Hi Sherri! We’ve been expecting you,” a non-descript woman with a mousy complexion and the biggest glasses I’ve seen since my
1980’s childhood said.

“No,” I said, and turned toward the door.

“Sherri, we want to help. You’re so frustrated and stressed out these days.”

“Who are you?”

“We’re your friends!”

I glanced around the restaurant, not recognizing a single face. “Is this an intervention?”

The woman looked down. “I wouldn’t call it that –”

“As I said, no. I have enough crazy in my life.”

“Don’t you need help?”

“I need a burger and fries, and you need masks. It’s a county ordinance.”

“Sherri, come back!”

“I’m at my quota of crazy,” I waved as I walked back into the sweltering heat and plopped in my car, pushing the ignition button.

“This heat has done it. Lewis Carroll was right. We’re all mad here!” I said as I sped away from the window with the phantom faces staring after me.

Word Count: 292
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