Friday, August 1, 2008

KFC ( a short story )

You know why I like Kentucky Fried Chicken? Dinner Box, the concept of it, a complete dinner in a box. Except for the drink, but that would be stupid. It’s not like Burger King or McDonalds where you get a hamburger in a box in a crumpled bag with fries in another bag next to it: At the burger drive-through there might be some napkins in there and a straw or there might not be. You hold the damn coke between your legs on the drive home. No, KFC isn’t like that.

Kentucky Fried puts the whole dinner in a perfect little box. Like I said, except for the drink. It is consistent every time with biscuits and three pieces of chicken and mashed potatoes, and coleslaw (if you like that shit; I hate coleslaw but it is Southern hospitality which means you can’t refuse it and I would be disappointed if it wasn’t there). Anyway they even seal up a napkin and a plastic runcible spoon in a cellophane bag. You know what a runcible spoon is, right? That’s one of those utensils that can’t make up its mind whether it should be a fork or a spoon so it does both, badly.

Learned about runcible spoons from a nursery rhyme when I was a kid. “Mommy, what’s a runcible spoon?” I’d ask and she’d know. I used to know a lot of nursery rhymes when I was a kid. My mother knew even more. My kids know almost none.

But it’s cool now, a runcible spoon saves one plastic handle and a lot of hand eye coordination. What I like best is the box. On the outside it says, “Dinner Box”, printed in a little box on the outside of the box. So you know. Next to that it says that they only use “100 % vegetable oil” on their greasy hormone and antibiotic pumped chicken. And next to that it says “Pitch In !” with a picture of a fastidious stick-figure guy with triangles for hands putting something in a garbage can. Presumably that is the dinner box when he is finished eating the contents. I don’t throw mine away though, not right away.

There are a few things that I like best about this whole experience. When you take all that fried chicken out of this tidy box and actually eat, you use your hands, you get dirty, you can’t help it. The runcible spoon is no fucking help at all. It’s like sex, like a relationship: it’s all in your hands, your mouth, those sharp little canine teeth and instinct. When it’s over you are satisfied. Grease on your face, grease on your hands, the couch . . . a hamburger can’t do that.

Which brings me to my next favorite thing: You can put all that used up stuff back in the box when you are done and close it up tight, set it down next to the sink. Gnawed atrophied wings, blackened vertebrae and smooth leg bones are entombed indefinitely with the greasy napkin and the runcible spoon. From the outside it looks exactly like it did before. It still says “Dinner Box” on the outside, like it’s ready to eat. On the other side it says “Dare to keep kids off drugs” with a little phone number and a picture of the colonel-- he's dead now isn’t he? Glad he found the answer to drug abuse before he died, along with his secret blend of eleven herbs and spices.

I haven’t quite figured out the connection between children, drugs and chicken but I know that there is one, and it’s enough for me to know that the colonel knows.

That’s basically the box, I haven’t thrown it away yet. It’s stacked up with five others exactly like it complete with the runcible spoons. I’m building a pyramid. And the cow jumped over the moon, or was that the owl and the pussycat? I forget.

No comments: