Big Belly Buddies

Jonah Hex had never seen anything so ridiculous, and he had once fought robot dogs in the future while wearing a leather jumpsuit with chrome shoulder pads on it, so that was saying something.

Now, in the present, a far cry from the old west which was his usual stomping grounds, he was looking up at a large, rotating statue of fat man in a t-shirt that read Big Belly Burger on it holding a plate full of food above his head as he smiled down idiotically from the roof of a fast food joint that was completely decked out in neon lights.

Jonah shook his head.

"Come on," pleaded Gina Green, the voluptuous dark-haired woman at his side. "You'll enjoy it, I swear. You can't come to the present day without at least trying a Big Belly Burger."

"I don't know what that is, but if'n it's food, I ain't interested," Jonah growled.

"For me?" Gina said, sounding almost like a child.

Jonah gave her a look and then after a few seconds of consideration he relented. "Fine, but I hope this goes better than that moving picture ya took me too*."

Gina smiled and then took Jonah by the arm and led him through the glass doors of the restaurant. They walked up to the counter where a young hispanic guy in a paper hat said, "Welcome to Big Belly Burger, home of the Big Belly Burger, can I take your order?"

Jonah looked up at the glowing menu above the register in confusion and disgust.

"Yes, we'll have two big Belly Burger meals with fries and two large Cokes, please," said Gina.

"Cokes?" Jonah asked, looking back down at her.

"They're drinks," she said.

"Oh," said Jonah. He was lost.

After Gina paid and the food was brought out on two trays for them, she and Jonah took them over to a table near the play area and sat down. Jonah picked up his burger, which was wrapped in thin white paper, and studied it thoroughly.

"Why's it all wrapped up in butcher's paper?" he asked.

"To soak up some of the grease, I guess," said Gina, unwrapping her own burger. "And to keep it from falling apart. It's pretty big."

Jonah unwrapped his on the tray, but didn't touch it. He just looked at it sitting there.

"What's wrong?" asked Gina, taking a bite of her burger. "It's a hamburger. A beef sandwich," she added, noticing he didn't seem to understand the word.

Jonah, who was usually a pretty brave soul, picked up the thing and took a healthy bite.

"Blech," he said, spitting it back out onto his tray, "What is this?"

"I just said. It's beef and vegetables and bread," said Gina, exasperated.

"This ain't beef. And if'n it is then it's gone rotten," said Jonah in disgust.

"It has not. It's just got some chemicals you're not used to in it. Preservatives and... stuff."

"Chemicals?!" shouted Jonah, and few other patrons looked over at the two of them, "What the hell's the matter with you people nowadays. The cigarette's got poison in 'em, the food's got poison in it, ain't life short enough already?"

"Keep your voice down," Gina said, sternly.

Jonah threw the rest of his burger down on the tray and picked up a french fry like it was an insect. "And what is this?" he asked.

"A fried potato," said Gina with some attitude.

"I've had fried 'taters before," Jonah said, evenly, and popped the fry into his mouth. He immediately spit that back out too.

"Ugh!"

He wiped his mouth with a napkin and gave Gina a dirty look.

"More 'chemicals' I s'pose?"

Gina shrugged and took another big bite of her burger.

To wash the taste out of his mouth Jonah took a sip of his drink. Gina reached out a hand to stop him, but it was too late. For a second Jonah had an unfathomable expression on his face as he swallowed the liquid, but after some consideration he took another sip.

"Mmm, now this I like," he said, pleasantly.

"That's soda," Gina said. "Carbonated sugar water with chocolate in it."

"Tastes like seltzer water, but with a kick," said Jonah.

"Glad you like it," said Gina. "Wait til you try the lemon lime stuff."

Jonah smiled to himself.

"Ya know this stuff would be great with some whiskey in it," he said.

"You're a genius, Jonah," said Gina, sarcastically.

The End

* See my other fanfic, The State of Modern Cinema.