Fast Food Avengers: The Chicken Wars (part 4)

Fast Food Avengers: The Chicken Wars (part 4)

Paul felt a vibration in his pocket. He pulled out his phone and saw one new Snap from his wife.

Note: If you’re new to this series, you can catch up on Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 over here.

In the photo, Paul was sitting in a gray armchair. He had a red University of Louisville t-shirt on and was rocking an old pair of black sweatpants. There was a little towel resting on his right leg with a dozen cartoon eggs and chickens as the design.

In one hand, Paul held a small bottle of breastmilk. The other arm was cradling his son, who couldn’t have weighed much more than 9 lbs. Paul smiled at the camera with shadowy bags under his eyes. His son’s eyes were wide open, looking up at his dad.

The text written above the photo:

Can you believe it, 7 years ago?!?! Where’d the time go!!

A couple of staff members opened the door and rolled in a long caterer’s cart. The cart had a bowl of eggs, a bowl of flour, and a plate of chicken breasts.

“I’m not really comfortable with this,” Paul said.

“Course ya are,” Wendy said, patting him on the back. “It’s in your blood.”

“Yeah, that explains the high cholesterol,” Ronald McDonald said with his cartoonish smile.

“I don’t cook chickens. Look, you should really find somebody else. I’m an egg farmer.”

“Ronald, Wendy, I’ll take it from here,” Burger King said. He put his arm around Paul’s shoulder. “Paul, before I became king–“

“The self-proclaimed burger king,'” Ronald corrected.

“Before I became King,” Burger King powered on, “my dad took me to the watchtower and had me look out at the royal farm. It was miles and miles of Kansas farmland in every direction. Cows, chickens, pigs. It was an incredible sight.”

Burger King walked over to the food cart.

“He says to me, ‘One day, this will all be yours.'”

“Ours,” his brothers and sisters chimed in at once.

“And everything you see exists in a delicate balance,” Burger King continued, ignoring his siblings. “As King, you need to appreciate that balance. Respect all the creatures. Especially the cows and chickens.”

Burger King picked up one of the cartons of milk and did a random bicep curl.

“I go, ‘Dad, don’t we eat the cows and chickens?’ He smiled at me. ‘Yes, but let me explain. When we die, our bodies become the grass, and the cows eat the grass. Son, we are all connected.'”

Burger King set down the milk and reached for one of the eggs.

“He called it the ‘oval of life,'” Burger King said, holding up an egg. “That man loved the egg. He had this big Andy Warhol painting hanging in his office.”

“The oval office,” White Castle said with a nod.

“I think what Burger Prince is trying to say,” Ronald chimed in, “is those chickens gave their lives, Paul. You didn’t take it from ’em. So, now we honor their sacrifice. By making the best fricken chicken sandwich anyone’s ever had.”

“Well, it probably won’t be better than his mom’s,” Wendy said. “You can’t beat the original.”

“There’s only one way to find out,” Ronald said.

Paul took a deep breath. He slowly walked over to the cart.

“Good,” Ronald assured him. “Good, Paul. Good. Now close your eyes. See if you can journey back to that royal kitchen.”

Paul reluctantly closed his eyes. He took three slow breaths in and out through his nose.

His mind journeyed back to the royal kitchen. He was looking up at his mom, looking at the ingredients she had out on the counter. She handed him an egg to crack. Alright, Paul, let’s make it happen. He could feel her hand on his shoulder.

Paul opened his eyes. He felt the same strength he had at the farmer’s market when he successfully guessed Maggie’s name. There was nothing outside of this room. No past. No future. There was nothing in the world except this table of ingredients. And a group of fast-food heroes ready to serve as his sous chefs.

“Alright, Oven Mitt, get over here,” Paul barked. He was standing in a totally different posture. Voice carried a Mike Ditka level of confidence. “Burger King, get me some paprika. Little Caesar, this flour is garbage. You and Pizza Hut, make me the flour from scratch.”

“What’s more scratch than flour?” Little Caesar whispered. Pizza Hut shrugged.

“Ronald, get me some buttermilk. Dominos, melt the butter. Taco Bell, pour some milk. And get me like nine hardshell tacos. I’m starving”

“Sorry to interrupt,” Little Caesar whispered. “But when you say flour from scratch…”

It was an amazing sight, one that hadn’t happened since they were all kids in the castle. Ronald McDonald cooking alongside Burger King. Wendy’s and the Arby’s Oven Mitt breading chicken together. Little Caesar and Pizza Hut staring at a bushel of wheat and a YouTube video.

This was the triumphant return of the Fast Food Avengers.

Paul got the fry daddy going. He pulled the buns out of the oven, took a butter knife and spread his mom’s classic sauce. He placed the fried chicken breast down with the delicacy of a JENGA game. Repeated this 15 more times until he had a whole tray of fried chicken sandwiches. Then he went back and added three dill pickle chips to each one.

“Alright, here goes nothing.”

The sandwich was incredible.

Everyone in the room celebrated like they’d just won the World Series. The quality of the chicken was like Chick Fil A’s and the breading was like Popeye’s. There was a little spice to it like the spicy Wendy’s chicken sandwich. Both Burger King and Ronald McDonald said, ‘Hey, it kind of tastes like ours,’ and everyone nodded, pretending to agree.

But one thing they could all agree on: this chicken sandwich was…

“Hands down, the best chicken sandwich I’ve ever had,” Taco Bell said. “And I’m not even a sandwich guy!”

“Agree,” Little Caesar said. “But might I suggest a cold marinara dipping sauce?”

“It’s close,” Paul said. “But not quite there. Let’s start again.”

Everyone went back to their stations. Started over. But the second sandwich turned out the same as the first.

“I don’t get it,” Paul said. “We’re doing everything right. It was like a fast-food symphony in there.”

“Yeah, I heard the chicken say, ‘Bach, Bach,'” Ronald said.

“I swear, Ronald, sometimes your puns literally make me sick,” Burger King said.

“I hate to give him this much credit,” Oven Mitt said, “but maybe we need the Colonel?”

“He does say we don’t understand chicken,” White Castle said. “Maybe there’s some truth to that?”

“No, that’s not it,” Paul said, shaking his head. He looked down at the ingredients, studying the cart.

“Was the flour fine enough?” Little Caesar asked.

“I thought it was coarse?” Pizza Hut said. “Course, we could always try again.”

“That’s fine,” Little Caesar said.

“Let me think for a second,” Paul said.

He looked at the ingredients. Ran through all the steps. He closed his eyes and there he was in the courtyard with his mom. She led him over to the world’s largest chicken coop.

These chickens have been in our family for three generations. Since the beginning days of this castle. And the kings have always made sure they’ve had space to roam. Happy chickens, happy dinner. Listen, someday Paul, when I’m gone, whatever else you do, you have to keep at least two of these chickens alive

This memory slowly faded away and in its place, Paul saw the Colonel’s red face after Oven Mitt’s latest joke. There, written above the image in his mind, were the Colonel’s last words. His seemingly innocent question before he stormed out of the war room.

Paul, where’s your farm? I’d like to stop by for…”

It’s not about the flour. Or the spices. Or the process itself. Or even his mom’s blood running through his veins.

The secret all along was…

“The chickens!” Paul shouted. “Hurry, we gotta get to the farm!”

The “Chicken Wars” series will continue with Part 5 going up on Wednesday, November 3rd.

You can catch up on earlier parts of the story with Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 over here.

To subscribe to the blogfeel free to email me and I’ll get you all set up. And check out some other works at www.longoverduebooks.com

Hope you have a great weekand consider trying Burger King’s chicken sandwich today for lunch.

Leave a comment