Last week, Mayor McCheese was pulled from the ledge by an old friend, the esteemed Officer Big Mac. Now that fate has intervened, can the good Officer extract the fallen Mayor’s motive? This and more on this week’s: WHERE IN THE WORLD IS MAYOR MCCHEESE?
Officer Big Mac led him through the tarnished arch to the office that looked all too familiar. The photographs on his corkboard still touched McCheese as much as they ever had—his children as single patties, his wife down by the Coca Cola Bay, and an illustration that he himself had burned to ashes long ago. The officer caught him staring, and blocked the old picture with him enormous head.
“We’ll get to that,” he said delicately. “You want something? Drinks?” McCheese shook his head.
“I can’t drink that shit anymore, Mac. I’m getting my stuff imported.” Officer Big Mac shrugged, spiked his sweet tea, and took a deep drink. As friendly as he meant to be, the mayor still felt like he was on trial for a crime he hadn’t gotten the chance to commit. “Did you want to talk about something?”
“Well, I was getting to it, but since you insist,” Mac answered. He drained the cup and peered out the window to the rotting hills beyond—the formerly majestic Parfait Hills were faded and beginning to form sickish clots where they’d once shone, and the sky had taken on a smoggy pallor from years and years of McNuggets overworked in the factories. He shut the curtains, shaking his head. “Where have you been all this time?”
McCheese snorted. Now there was a story. “I was running,” he said sadly, his knees aching as he adjusted himself. “I wanted to come back a new man.”
Officer Big Mac smiled wistfully. “That was always your problem, McCheese,” he whispered. “You were always trying to be a man when you were a mere sandwich.”
McCheese’s eyes watered. He was right. “I had to run for fifteen years to find that out, Mac. I was out in the world. There’s a world outside this shitty, cholesterol watcher’s nightmare, you know.” He smiled at the very thought. Mac sipped his sweet tea methodically.
“I figured,” he said with conviction. “And I’m damn happy you went out to find it. So why didn’t you stay?”
“You know the drill, Mac,” he said slowly. “You can want something all you want, but some people just can’t get past it.”
“The head,” McCheese confirmed. “I ran for everything—small-town city council, the head of a monastery, pageant judge, hippie organization. No one can see the brains inside this damned false meat.”
Mac nodded. “That’s what everyone told you, McCheese. You should have just stayed in Ron’s cabinet, it’s the only place where guys in our position can be accepted.”
McCheese flinched at the clown’s very name. If he’d stayed in that job, he would have thrown himself into the blender far, far sooner. “I don’t regret it, Mac, but it was a tough run. Didn’t think there’d be a better place to end it than when all this misery began.”
Mac shrugged. “Girls come and go, Tony. You’ve lived a life more exciting than I can lay a claim to. You know that for twenty years now I’ve been—“
It was something akin to a knock that stopped the official midsentence, but McCheese would have known the faint thump anywhere. He sat up straight in the flimsy chair and whipped his head to the door—what the hell was going on?
“Did you arrange this?!” the mayor asked wildly, trying to decide if he’d fit out the window or not. “I thought we were here to talk about—“
“Cool your fries, McCheese,” his friend said, heading to the door. “It’s just my first officer bringing in mid-day reports.”
“It’s not!” That was no burger-man hybrid’s hand beating on the door. It had to be a wing.
But it was too late—the door swung open, and Mac looked embarrassed as she entered with the same royal, entitled air as ever. She had swapped out her pink overalls for a mini-dress several years ago when she was transferred from the Breakfast Department to the Late Night Drive Through, the gentleman’s club where she and her current beau had met.
“B—Birdie.” McCheese hadn’t thought her uninspired name would escape his lips again.
“Tony McCheese,” she sighed in her breathy voice, sitting on the edge of Officer Big Mac’s desk. The officer sighed and poured himself more sweet tea with the kick he was dying for. After this conversation, he was certain he’d need it. “I thought you’d left for good. You’re looking well.” She regarded McCheese carefully, and he knew she was lying. It had been a rough morning.
“Not in your breakfast attire anymore, I see,” the Mayor answered, averting her curious eyes. “Who’d you hear I was back from?”
“Ron keeps a close eye on the police logger,” she said with a shrug. “With the city as it is, who wouldn’t be? Now, Tony—“ She laid her wing over his hand, and McCheese couldn’t help but shoot a dirty look at his friend. The police logger? He had to be joking. Mac rolled his eyes. “Tony, we really must catch up. I came here to personally invite you to dinner over at the Arches tonight.”
The very idea repulsed him. He hadn’t been there since 1985 and swore on his own sesame seeds that the Fry Gobblins themselves wouldn’t drag him back…Birdie in that dress, however, changed the game. “Will he be there?” McCheese asked with a stony glare.
Birdie evaded the question as graceful as a ballerina who specialized in avoiding uncomfortable situations. “No way to tell unless you show,” she smiled, and patted his hand one last time before rising and heading to the door once more. “See you at seven.”
“Damn, McCheese, my bad,” Mac laughed as he shut the door. “You see, I thought that was my staff and not the great lost love of your life. So, you see, this is really a hilarious mix-up.” He poured more sweet tea with shaky hands, but even his drunkenness couldn’t take McCheese’s mind off that dress. “The nerve that bitch bird has, inviting you to the Arches after everything you went through, huh?”
McCheese had already stood and adjusted his tiny, ridiculous hat. The photo, taken in 1982, tore at the corner as he ripped it from Mac’s corkboard. The costuming, the smiles—all so fake and far away, and McCheese felt nothing as he tore it into tiny pieces. “I’m going, Mac,” he said with a small smile. “Ron and I have some unfinished business.”
Next installment: After nearly twenty years apart, Mayor McCheese returns to the Arched Palace to settle some unfinished business. Will Ronald McDonald offer him the fair fight he deserves? Will Birdie fall victim to McCheese’s charms? Will Officer Big Mac recover from a particularly nasty hangover? All that and more in next week’s WHERE IN THE WORLD IS MAYOR MCCHEESE?
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