Friday, October 28, 2011

Hungry to the Bone, By Jeffrey Beesler

750 word short by Jeffrey Beesler

Matt Krudd just wanted a fucking burger. Something fast and simple, something that wouldn’t cost him an arm and a leg. Stomach threatening to gnaw away at muscle tissue if it didn’t get fed soon, he raced his Subaru Impreza through the parking lot of the first restaurant he had came across, Hungry to the Bone. With a distinct lack of cars and customers around, it seemed the store would close in a few minutes.

Slamming his foot against the brake pad, he reached the order box.

“We’ll be with you in a moment,” said the distorted voice through the speaker.

“Yeah, I want a burger,” Matt said. “Just give me something hot. It doesn’t have to be fresh.”

For a moment, silence filled the air. Then a blip came from the speaker, followed by, “I told you to hold on a moment. You’re dealing with skeletal crew here.”

His arm dangling out the window while he waited, Matt began rapping his fingers against the car door. One at a time, the digits on his car clock ticked away. 10:47, 48, 49. 50. What could’ve been the hold-up? It wasn’t like he’d gotten in back of a long line of cars or anything.

“Are you there?” Matt tried his best to keep his temper in check. But when no one got back to him after five minutes, he hurled his fist at the empty passenger’s seat to his right. “Damn it, dude. I want food, and I want it now. Your lot lights are still on. I’m not going anywhere until you serve me.”

Another blip at last. “I don’t have to deal with this,” the order taker announced defiantly.

“Excuse me?” Matt’s jaw hung low. What the hell was wrong with this person? Receiving no further response from the jerk at the box, Matt swung around the drive-thru lane, pulling up to the window. Like the outside lights, everything inside was still lit up. He pounded against the window, hoping someone would take his damn order already. No one approached the glass.

Furious, Matt parked his car and stormed up to a side entrance. The handle twisted as it should have, indicating the staff hadn’t yet locked up for the night. He threw the door open and stomped inside. A dank odor, possibly of moldy meat, attacked his nose upon entry.

“Hello?” he asked, searching for someone to yell at over the horrendous service he’d gotten just now. Again, no answer. Covering his mouth with an arm to keep himself safe from the stink of the place, he marched away from the entrance. A moment later, he heard something click from somewhere nearby. The lights went off. Glancing around in all directions, including the entrance he had used, his search came up empty.

“I’m not going anywhere until one of you idiots apologizes and gets me a burger.”

“Looks to me like you’ve had your fill of burgers, young man,” a raspy voice spoke out to him from the shadows. “Haven’t you heard of dieting?”

Matt’s blood soared to beyond boiling. “That’s it. I’m calling your corporate office.”

Before he could reach for his cell phone, something icy grazed the skin on his arm. Bony fingers tickled his hairs, and then seized his wrist with a stone-hard grip. Matt struggled to break free, but as a second set of skinless digits snatched his remaining hand, his heart chilled.

The office light came on, shedding dim light on the inside of the restaurant.

Three skeletons had cornered him, all in tattered rags that may have once resembled crew member slacks and polo shirts. Maggots skittered about the eye area of the only one wearing a loosely wired head-set. A small noose, possibly a manager’s tie, dangled around the neck of the second. The third one, the one holding tightly onto him, wore slight patches of hair and flesh over disconnected sections, just enough to suggest that this creature had likely been a teenage girl in life.

A swallow of bile swimming around in his mouth, Matt choked on his next words.

“My employee did warn you that you were dealing with a skeletal crew,” the tie-wearing skeleton grumbled, gesturing towards the one wearing a head-set. Head-set Skeleton chattered his teeth at Matt and a few maggots plopped to the floor.

A weak whimper escaped from Matt as the manager skeleton fondled his face, using its talons to slice open Matt’s cheeks.

The skeleton with the head-set fingered Matt’s sides, asking the others, “Will we be eating here, or shall we take it with us?”


Jeffrey Beesler (Jeff to those who know him) is a writer chasing after stories in the realms of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. He has had a short story published in Abandoned Towers #4 (The Broken Pipes
of Drei City), and has several novel and novella projects at various stages of the writing and revision process. When not writing, Jeff likes to twist around the words in songs, and maybe catch an episode of Big Brother. You can connect with him via his blog, or find him on Twitter under @jeffreybeesler.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Whoa! A new side to Jeffrey's writing.

Jeffrey Beesler said...

Thanks, Alex! And thanks again to you, Draven, for giving me this great opportunity!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I love this. I totally didn't expect that ending.

Remind me not to go to a fast food restaurant very late at night. :D

Pat Tillett said...

Would you like some fries with that? Nice! I'm not going to the drive-thru for a while!

Draven Ames said...

Thanks for stopping by, Alex.

Jeffrey- This was a really fun scary story. I think you did great with the skeletons and made the unbelievable real. Great job.

Stina - Yeah, it caught me off guard, too.

Pat - Me neither! Thanks for reading.

Donna Hole said...

Gross. But I loved it all.


Draven Ames said...

Donna - Thanks for stopping by, Donna. Good blog today.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha loved it. Makes us glad to be vegan :D If skeletons worked in fast food restaurants, we'd find an excuse to visit one :)

Anonymous said...

Very well-written, and a great story! I really enjoyed it. I couldn't help but notice how the skeletons were on him for being overweight. You know how skinny people are...Ha! Loved it. :-)

Claire Hennessy said...

Eeek! Another good reason to avoid Macky D's!! Well scary. Great story, I enjoyed reading it.

Jeffrey Beesler said...

Stina: Glad you enjoyed the ending!

Pat: You're probably okay if you go during the daylight hours.

Donna: Maggots and skeletons definitely alter the fast food experience!

clraven: It'd be unfair for skeletons to really work in fast food. The're so frail from having no meat on their bones, they'd likely collapse at high volume times.

Kimberly: That adds a whole new layer to what I'd accomplished with this piece. Thanks for pointing that out!

Claire: I'm glad you enjoyed reading my tale about the fast food skeletons. I was afraid people would just about see right through them!

Draven Ames said...

Clraven - I couldn't last a week without eating cow.

Kimberly - lolz! Glad you liked it.

Claire - Thanks for coming by and reading. I enjoyed your blog, too.

Jeffrey - see right through them, lol

Anonymous said...


Huntress said...

Very clever!

I am always polite to the people making my food. Now more than ever.

Great post and blog.

Regge Ridgway said...

Great halloween story. Loved the garbled speaker noise line. I can never understand what they are saying. Now I know. Drive throughs have always been scarry to me for other reasons but now I have a new one. Thanks Jeff and Draven . Also never send food back for any reason. It will return with a little secret sause on it. Don't ask. LOL said...

Draven, thanks for dropping by and commenting.

Jeffrey's quite a talent. Thank goodness I don't order burgers at a drive-through -effective immediately.

Happy Halloween.

Draven Ames said...

Interwebs - Thanks for stopping by.

Huntress - I don't blame you. No one wants a soggy burger.

Regge - What scares you about drive through? You know, I never send food back either - for the same reason.

Rawknrobyn - I was happy to. Jeff did awesome with this one.


Dale Eldon said...

Love that opening!

Jeffrey Beesler said...

Interweb Fails: Thank you!

Huntress: Yes, people should be kind to service staff, not just food workers, but anyone in the service industry.

Reggie: You just can't trust sauce or order boxes these days.

RawknRobyn: Thank you, I try my best!

Dale: I knew you of all people would appreciate that first line.

Anonymous said...

Great Job Jeffrey....I love it. That'll teach all those rude people in the drive thru to think twice. Skeleton crews holds a whole new meanng to me now.

Just Another Day in Paradise said...

Today blogger hates me. Won't leave my posts anywhere. Let's try this again.

Great reminder, why I hate 'fast food'. It's never fast,it's always creepy and you should never go in the door. This story reminds me of the Wendy's in the VI.


LTM said...

LOL! awesome ending. Very cool. And nice to see you fellows. I think I've read Jeffrey's stuff before through Matt... Anyway, great work! :o)

Kelly Polark said...

Now I just want an f'ing burger. Or maybe not! :)
Creepy story!

LynNerd said...

I love the skeleton crew. Even with the humor, this is a chilling story. I hope I can sleep tonight! Maybe I shouldn't try. Might have nightmares! Yikes!

Dawn Kurtagich said...

Thanks for popping by my blog! I'm now your newest follower :)