AN: Bubble Bobble and all related characters belong to Taito. I'm only borrowing them for a time. -J.E.B.

Fast Food

Story written by J.B.

The year is nineteen eighty-nine. Muncie, Indiana. Bobby 36, and "Bubby", 35, run a successful hole-in-the wall restaurant. The fast food business establishment Bubbo Burger runs their lives. It's all they know, eat and sleep. As manager and assistant manager and the only regular employees, there's no room for their advancement with the oft-gone regional manager in charge. Life seems aimless.

"Hey Bubby, pass me the spatula."

"Which one Bobby? I done killed a fly with this one!"

"Just hand me the clean one, Bub. The clean one."

Bub wipes the greasy spatula one good time to hand over.

"Be right back Bob." Bub enters the freezer.

"We're closing, Bub!" Bob shouts back.

Now a Ms. Tilly, a gentle woman of eighty four years, slowly approaches the two with a tiny white gift box in hand.

"We're closing, Miss Tilly. Will it be the usual?" Bobby asks blankly while sending another customer on his way.

But there is no answer from her, only a smile. She nods her head, placing the jewelry ring-sized box on the counter.

Bobby customarily fixes her patty melt over toasted on bottom with caramelized onions between a well-done patty and melted Sharp.

Bob can't grasp the sudden change.Why is she so quiet today? And what's with that smile? Has she lost it?

He places the bag on the counter opening it but sharpens the corners of it, placing the sandwich item on bottom,

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tucking the pesto-seasoned fries neatly in a white bag, then easing them along the counter in a half-smile.

"I don't know-what-that- means," Bobby asks, unsure of what to make of this. "Have you taken your prescription?"

"And what is that, miss? Is that for us?"

Her smile and dumb response starts to unsettle him.

"I mean this in all respect, Ms. T, but you've never given us a gift before. Why would you give a casual server a-"

She places the $4.15 in Bobby's hand, tucks her bag into her right arm. She gives him a sweet look for a few moments that confuses him. Again she pushes the tiny box across the counter, this time into his hand, smiles, and slowly turns away, eyeing him for seconds afterward.

"Didja get 'er taken care of, Bobby?" Bubby emerges from the freezer with frozen pre-cut fries. It's closing time.

"Yeah, Bubby …" still fazed by the long gaze she'd shot him. He comes to. "She left us… this box."

"Here, Bubby. You open it."

Bubby stares at the box. He eyes his brother in his hunched posture.

"Oh NO," Bubby declines. "Why you want me ta open it?"

"You know I don't open suspicious-looking boxes, Bobby. Open it."

"You gonna give me your sticker collection, Bobby?"

"Bubby … stop being stupid and open the damned thing. It's not life-or-death."

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"Then you pop it open, buddy."

"Shit, Bubby." Bobby rubs his eyes.

"You gonna open the damn thing er what?"

"No, Bubby. Didn't you hear me? We're closed! Those fries are already thawing. Give them to me." Bobby heads for the freezer.

"Then I'll open it Bobby … Sheeeei…-"

Bobby opens the box to find…