Friday, April 14, 2006

Minimum Wage w. a Side of Fries

Mick, my executive producer, was very specific about his nighttime fix. The Jersey Goombas from Intake or one of the “Quota Hires” (the black guys—and my closest friends at the news channel—referred to themselves as such) back in Editing usually scored for him. I braved the trip across 6th Avenue, toward Rockefeller Center, once. God, the smell.

But, he had to have it. EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. Maybe that was why he had been fired from the CBS evening news—no one could put up with his habits, his grab bag of addictions, his wild mood swings. Well, there was that as well as rumors of compromising “pictures” on his computer’s hard drive…

Mick’s forehead and crown were as waxy and bald as the tuber that had been sliced and fried for his evening’s ration of fat and starch. Instead of a powdery white, calorie-inhibiting, expensive addiction like the others had, his was sun-drop yellow, fatty and cheap. No, no—now don’t go thinkin’ that your Belle went and procured blonde hookers from “Lace Gentleman’s Club” in Times Square for her producer (and the man that looked over her time cards). Instead, I had a much worse job—buying bags and bags of 2-hour old French fries from a Midtown, 24-hour McDonald’s. There’s nothing pretty about a fast-food restaurant in the middle of the night. The friers are set on idle, the air smells like burnt grease and the majority of the customers have just come from places like the aforementioned “Lace Gentleman’s Club” or last call at “Rosie O’Grady’s” or “Langan’s.”

I sat the McDonald’s bag next to his keyboard (not far from his belly) and watched the man go to town. He was a Grizzly bear attacking a Hefty Cinch Sac of gnawed spare ribs, used toilet paper and curled orange peels. Lord! Where had his Mamma been during the formative years? But, of course, no one seemed to notice. Business as usual. Only when I pulled out my brown bag of sugar snap peas and chicken salad did Mick or the other producers take note.

“Yo’ Mammy fix that fo ya’?” Mick would ask in a half-assed Massachusetts-by-way-of the-Mississippi-Delta accent. Naturally, he looked to my breasts, instead of my eyes, for an answer.

I eyed his fat middle and wandered when the bad cholesterol would kick in.

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