Disclaimer: Stop right there. I know what you're thinking! You're thinking, "Any second now she'll admit that Roger Zelazny owns this fabulous series and she doesn't." Well, I've got news for you, buddy! This is actually original fiction and I decided to post it here because...uh...*sigh*...I cannot tell a lie. Roger Zelazny owns all the characters except Bart.

A/N: My first Amber story! I started reading the Amber books a few months ago and I got really confused because I read Sign of the Unicorn first and I had no Amberly idea what was going on. But getting to the point...I was trying to think of a story I could do and I eventually came up with the idea of contrasting the way Amberites and Lords of Chaos do everyday things. I've only got two ideas so far, but hopefully I'll come up with more and be able to continue the story. And now...Chapter One.

How to Get a Hamburger

Benedict, Prince of Amber, strolled into the royal kitchens whistling a marching song Corwin had composed for him seven hundred years ago. Hands in his pockets, he made his way leisurely to the royal refrigerator and flung open the door with an easy flourish born of long practice. It was time for his midafternoon yogurt. Benedict reached for the package of yogurt cups-

And stopped short in horror. What villainy was this? His precious yogurt was gone! In true, time-honored Amberite fashion, Benedict's mind subconsciously started running through the list of all his siblings currently in Amber that could possibly want to do such a thing to him. What did the perpetrator hope to gain by holding his yogurt hostage? If whoever it was thought they could bring Benedict of Amber to his knees, they were certainly mistaken!

Oh, wait...Having somewhat absorbed the shock of his sudden loss, Benedict began to register things he hadn't noticed before. Such as the fact that his yogurt wasn't the only thing missing from the refrigerator. In fact, it looked as though the whole thing had been cleaned out.

Benedict blinked, perplexed by this new revelation. Thankfully, his confusion only lasted a few seconds before he caught sight of a piece of paper lying on the upper shelf of the refrigerator. Apprehensive of what news it might contain, he picked it up and scanned it quickly.


My dearest Benedict:

As you have no doubt noticed, the refrigerator has been cleaned out because there was something spoiled in it. And don't try to blame me, because IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT! You've gone far enough with that darn yogurt of yours. Frozen yogurt is fine by me, *fuzzy* yogurt is not. Therefore, as the King of Amber, Ruler of Shadows, etc., I must request very, very firmly that you find another place to house your dairy products in the future. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.


Random I, King of Amber, Ruler of Shadows, etc.


This was a terrible blow, and Benedict simply gaped at the note for half a minute before he could trust himself to move. Hanging onto the refrigerator door handle for support, he stared blindly at the magnet on the freezer door that read, "Chaos Happens." He had never particularly liked that magnet, but it summed up his feelings at the moment extraordinarily well. Forcing himself to focus on the present problem, Benedict ran through his options and quickly came to the decision that there was only one thing he could do. He slammed the refrigerator shut and ran from the room, his cloak billowing behind him.


Dara was ravenously hungry. She'd had nothing whatsoever since noon and it was nearly two o'clock. Clearly, something had to be done to remedy the situation-and soon. Getting up from the sofa she was lounging on, she made her way to what was popularly called the Food Court of Chaos, otherwise known as the royal kitchens.

Upon reaching the spacious kitchen, Dara made a beeline for the rainbow- colored refrigerator. Greeting the well-worn handle like an old friend, she swung it open and bent to reach the shelf where the lunchmeat should have been.

It was gone. For a minute Dara couldn't take in the enormity of this and stood in front of the open refrigerator trembling like a leaf. Then she noticed that the refrigerator was, in fact, totally and completely empty. She took several deep, calming breaths and closed her eyes. For once, it actually seemed to help, for when she opened them again she saw for the first time the note resting on the top shelf. Gingerly she took it and read, her consternation growing more with every word.


Dara, I've had it! That son-of-an-Amberite boy of yours and his juvenile delinquent friends ate all the food in the place for lunch. I always told you he'd be trouble someday, so don't come complaining to me. Fend for yourself for a few days while we restock.

-Swayvil, King of Chaos


Feeling a sudden urge to scream, Dara ground her teeth in frustration. Turning away from the refrigerator, she deliberately tore the note into many, many, many small pieces and scattered the debris on the swirling tiles of the floor. Obviously, the refrigerator would be no help, so she would just have to make do with what she could scavenge from Shadow.

Actually, Dara thought, that might not be too bad. After all, she could now have her choice of any food she wanted. Hmm...What should she have? Fried ty'iga was always good. Or takeout Chinese food. Or she could possibly even steal some of that great sushi from Rebma...

Dara's stomach growled insistently, reminding her that a decision had better be reached soon. As she tried to decide what she should get, an image came unbidden to her mind of a half-pound deluxe cheeseburger dripping with onions, extra mayo, and ketchup. It had been a long time since she visited the Golden Arches. Too long, Dara decided suddenly. No matter how long it took, she was going to get herself a McDonald's cheeseburger or perish bravely in the attempt.


No one stopped Benedict as he rushed down the corridor at breakneck speed. Perhaps they were afraid of the manic gleam in his eye or the determined rhythm of his sprint. Or maybe they were just sick and tired of dealing with everyday life in Amber and had decided to ignore him for the afternoon. Either way, they left Benedict alone, which was really all he wanted.

Reaching the royal stables, he skidded to a stop by his horse Shadowmane. "Come on, boy," he panted, quickly saddling the long-suffering equine. "It's time for a hellride."

Shadowmane gave him a mistrustful glance as he mounted, but Benedict was too intent on the life-or-death quest before him to waste time on reassurances. He swung up and kicked Shadowmane into motion with a fearsome war cry, galloping at top speed past the palace gates and a pair of astonished sentries who looked up momentarily from their card game. Benedict of Amber was a man on a mission, and he knew exactly where he was going-to that seemingly insignificant shadow Earth that for some reason was more important than all the others put together. The only one with Mickey D's.

Concentrating hard, Benedict leaned into the rising wind. It was hard to shift in Shadow this close to Amber, but the circumstances obviously necessitated it. After all, this was truly a dire situation.

Hmm...how should he start? Ah, yes, highways. First the roads...and then the cars...and then the earsplitting racket. Perfect. Benedict smiled an evil, secret smile to himself as he urged the grumpy Shadowmane to an insane speed, clinging to the reins with determined tenacity.

...A suburb surrounded by the desolate stumps of long-bulldozed trees...A line of stationary cars with horns perpetually honking in an infernal cacophony...Riding down a street where teenagers attired in black gazed sullenly at him...Yes, Benedict thought, he must be very close to the shadow he sought. He paid close attention to his surroundings as he shifted from blue to smog-clouded sky.

Wait! Benedict caught his breath sharply. After all that vigilance, he had almost missed the shadow he was looking for. Slowing Shadowmane to a canter, he surveyed the land around him until he saw the welcome sight of a pair of yellow arcs on a sign that proudly proclaimed, "Over 1 Billion Served." Benedict's heart leaped with joy. The arduous journey had been worth it, for he would now finally get his beloved cheeseburger.


Dara had repositioned herself on the couch, for reaching through Shadow could often be exhausting. She summoned the Logrus and drew two of its lines of force to herself, making them her arms. Extending them, she began to reach.

Reaching...reaching...reaching...Apparently none of the nearby shadows had burgers. This could take longer than she had thought. But Dara's momentary despair was quickly overwhelmed by the thought of the prize that would soon be hers if she persevered. Taking new courage, she stretched out once more and continued searching for her cheeseburger.


Benedict dismounted and tied Shadowmane to the nearest streetlight. His excitement growing with every step closer to his goal, he dashed across the McDonald's parking lot. So focused was he on obtaining the burger that even the furious honks of cars as he cut through the drive-thru line were music to his ears. Panting slightly with the effort, Benedict triumphantly flung the door wide and entered with a great many imaginary trumpet blasts.

He stopped short, blinking at the depressingly long lines in front of all the cash registers. Obviously this was not a good time to try to get anything in a hurry. Nonetheless, Benedict decided, he would simply have to exercise patience, one of the many virtues that his family did not possess. Resignedly, he joined the end of the shortest line he could see.

As he waited, Benedict's mind wandered. The recurring image that floated tantalizingly before him was that of a half-pound cheeseburger with all his favorite toppings. [Patience, patience,] Benedict told his growling stomach. [You will get your reward soon enough...I hope.]


Reaching...Wait, what was that? Curses. Tofu burger. Disappointed, Dara kept reaching. She was growing somewhat weary now and wasn't sure how long she could keep this up. If she didn't find something soon...

But she mustn't give up now. She was close, she could feel it in her bones. Just a few more shadows, perhaps, and she would reach it. Just a few more shadows...


Seven minutes and forty-eight seconds later, it was finally Benedict's turn to order. With an air of confidence befitting a prince of Amber, he stepped up to the counter and flashed a friendly smile at the young man behind it.

"Good afternoon...Bart," he began smoothly, noting the employee's nametag. "I'd like a half-pound deluxe cheeseburger with onions, extra mayo, and ketchup." Bart nodded curtly.

"Anything else I can get you, sir?" he asked in the mechanical voice of a true McDonald's Employee Clone. Benedict shook his head impatiently. He just couldn't wait to get his hands on that burger, taste the well-done beef, the melted cheese...

He got his receipt and stood at the counter waiting for his number to be called.


Almost there. Good thing too, because she was absolutely starving. Dara felt beads of sweat forming on her forehead as she continued to grope through shadow in search of the elusive cheeseburger. How the heck could it be so hard to get a simple sandwich?

Becoming aware of the tension in her body, Dara relaxed against the sofa and made a final, powerful effort. Just a little further...


"Number 32, your food is ready." The welcome summons jolted Benedict from a daydream state in which visions of beef patties danced in his head. Excitedly, he shouldered aside the other waiting customers and grabbed the tray, feeling a deep sense of triumph and personal satisfaction. It had been hard, but he had courageously conquered all obstacles in his way and would now taste the sweet taste of victory.

He found a table and sat down with a pleased sigh. "Now, my little cheeseburger," he said lovingly to the foil-wrapped package in front of him. "I've waited long enough for you and now I'm going to EAT you!" Blissfully unaware of the extremely frightened looks he was attracting from other patrons, Benedict unwrapped his food and picked it up to admire it once more.


There! At last, she found something. Dara reached and got hold of it. It was absolutely perfect-onions, extra mayo, and all. She pulled-


Benedict leaned forward to take a heavenly bite of his burger-

And his teeth closed on nothing. Staring in horror at his empty hands, he gave a strangled wail of grief and hit his head on the edge of the table several times. Throwing back his head, Benedict of Amber let loose with the royal death howl.


A/N: Poor, poor Benedict. After all that work, those darn Chaos folks got the best of him again. Oh well...*evil laugh* I have about six ideas for this now, so all I have to do is figure out how to make them work and I'm set. I'm really not sure how I came up with this insane idea, but it was too good to pass up. Surprisingly enough, I came up with most of these ideas on a bus stranded at an academic competition in between reading Trumps of Doom. Coming as soon as I can finish writing it: How to Cope With Sibling Rivalry.