THAT'LL BE $4827.56," Mabeline says to the garlok standing in front of her. The garlok grumbles something in his native tongue, something like "Ook glock blan che" as he hands her his Visa card. Translatortron instantly deciphers the garlok's muckspeak: "Thank you, kind stranger," it merrily says, "You make my ancestors proud."
In the kitchen, Joey is already grilling the burgers, chopping the onions and frenching the fries. His tattooed-on happy clown face doesn't waver, not even for a yoctosecond, not even as grease spatters from the Fry-O-Matic machine freckling his goofy grinning grimace with boiling hot oil.
"What I am about to tell you is top-secret," he continues, "Class-A confidential."
At the register, the garlok ejects a thick yellow stream of goo from his upper left ventricle; an action that, in garlok, is a sign of appreciation. Mabeline is soaked from head to toe in the foul smelling liquid, all the while maintaining that friendly How-may-I-help-you-today? smile of hers.
Joey passes the food through the metal slot separating the kitchen from the front. Mabeline hands the garlok his supper. The entire process takes less than a minute.
"Oob non ban tee," he says. "May the light from a thousand suns bless you," Translatortron interprets.
The garlok then opens the hinged door to his stomach cavity and shoves the entire Happy Meal inside. The pops and hisses of digesting meatstuff, cardboard and styrofoam let me know that we've just served yet another satisfied customer.
Mabeline was a good hire. It's so hard to find good help these days. She's smart. She's got that spark - that desire for success. Let me tell you, the fast-food industry doesn't always attract the most qualified of applicants. Couple with that the rigorous three years of intensive space training, and you're left with almost no one. And with the universe constantly expanding, the demand for quality food at a competitive price is forever increasing. Between you and me, if Mabeline plays her cards right, she's got Shift Leader written all over her.
"Sir, there's an incoming call from Home Office," Assistant Manager Chauncey tells me from his post on the flight deck, "It's the McCommissioner."
"I'll take it in my office," I tell him, "Patch it through."
I step into the small broom closet that doubles as my office and close the door behind me. The 3D image of the McCommissioner appears. He is a sturdy man - thick red hair like bubbled lava on his scalp. A clean-pressed yellow suit. His white face paint and oversized red smile command respect; a respect I humbly give him. A call from the McCommissioner is a great honor. With 400 million restaurants in operation, he is undoubtedly a very busy man.
"McCommissioner Donalds," I genuflect, kissing the verisimilitude of his hologramed clown shoes.
"Arise," he yawns.
"How can I help you sir?"
"How's business, Grubman?" He starts with the small talk. He always starts with the small talk. Usually, a good sign.
"Booming, sir," I reply, "We are currently in orbit around a small moon-planet in the Wal-Mart nebula."
"Wal-Mart nebula?" he thinks, "That's garlok territory, is it not?"
"Indeed, sir," I bow, "We were initially met with some apprehension; the garlok's main diet consisting of various twigs and small fauna found on their planet's surface. I still don't know if the garlok's have fully grasped the concept of fast food yet."
"Well give it time, Grubman, give it time," McCommissioner Donalds says, "Rome didn't burn in a day."
"True sir," I agree.
"Anyway Grubman, I'm afraid I am contacting you today on less than cordial terms," the McCommissioner switches gears abruptly. The retarded smile I am contractually bound to wear in his presence drops from my cheeks. He clears his throat and I slap the spastic grin back on my face.
"Oh?" I go.
"We've received a distress call from one of our outposts operating in the Macrozone."
"The Macrozone? But isn't that outside the Disney Expanse?" I ask.
"I know where it is, Grubman," he barks, "Jesus. We wrote the goddamn map of the universe. I know where the goddamn Macrozone is located!"