The first is a frame of northbound I-75. Thomas has turned slightly to the right and through the curve of the steering wheel a pillar of smoke is locked in the air. It rises up out of the front of a large tractor-trailer rig. The driver is frozen, half-way down out of the cab. He is wearing cowboy boots. Lisa's fingertips are in the lower right quadrant of the shot. The interstate identifying shield is to the left of the pillar of smoke.
THOMAS: Why are we in Florida? Have you seen this landscape? It's a fucking Levittown moonscape out there. And hot.
SQUID: What do you speak of, Tom-ape? I thought it was to this landscape that you had taken us?
LISA: I agree with Mr. Brando. I thought we were going west with this trip. Then you started heading east. You mean you didn't want to come to Florida?
THOMAS: (muttering, sneering voice) I agree with Mr. Brando.
LISA: Well, smart-guy?
THOMAS: I'm hungry.
SQUID: Indeed. Take me to the nearest kennel.
THOMAS: He's kidding.
SQUID: I am not. I desire the crunching satisfaction of feral flesh. Immediately! Puppies, preferably.
LISA: (Laughing) Oh, Marlon, you're such a card. (the sound of a hand slapping plastic).SQUID: (Louder) Spaniels and beagles and shepherds and dobermans! Please, their canine musk is onto a delectability of unknown joy!
LISA: (Laughing uncontrollably)
SQUID: Lap dogs, come to me, I command it! House guards and boyhood pets, I shall devour you with my crushing and terrible beak!
LISA: (laughter continues, but begins to subside)
SQUID: Yes! Indeed! My writhing tentacles, crushing and horrifying, shall take them up by the pack or pod! The Alpha, first, bearing his teeth at me, shall fall yelping into my massive maw! Oh, Thomas, my gullet screams for flesh!
(The microphone detects the shuffling of fabric against leather seats. The air-conditioner runs, quiet and constant in the background.)
LISA: Uh . . .
THOMAS: There's Lake City coming up. We should find a McDonald's there. Micky D good for everyone?
THOMAS: The D good for you, Marlon?
SQUID: Mr. Brando.
THOMAS: Ham-Burgers, Mr. Brando. Do you like HAMBURGERS like any good red-blooded American Human Man.
SQUID: (quietly, sheepishly) Indeed. I would love nothing more than . . . Grade D cattle flesh on a bun of sesame and bleached wheat. Thank you, Thomas. That sounds . . . excellent.
The second frame is of the lower right part of the Golden Arches. Through the arch one can see the interior of the McDonald's. A child has climbed up backward in his seat and is staring into the camera. He has ketchup upon his face, and his hair is mussed. The huge form of the Escalade, low and heavy, is reflected in the glass, superimposed over the boy's face.
(Car doors open, one slams shut.)
THOMAS: Hamburgers then? You tired? you want me to bring 'em out?
SQUID: (quietly) Yes. Thirty please.
SQUID: (quietly) Yes. No. Fifty. And some of those Mac Nugents, please.
(Second car door closes)
(Car sounds. Engines. Wind. Then children laughing and the bustle of bodies.)
LISA: Is Mr. Brando okay?
THOMAS: Um.. Yeah.
THOMAS: Um... No.
LISA: Well, which is it.
THOMAS: Today's... well... he...
LISA: (High pitched whisper) Oh, my. It isn't...
THOMAS: Ye— yes? It is.
LISA: It was six years ago, wasn't it?
THOMAS: What do you want to get?
LISA: Big mac, no meat, large fries. Did you know that they cook the fries in vegetable oil flavored with beef fat? I hate these guys. But I love the goddamn fries.
THOMAS: No meat. And fries.
THOMAS: Beef flavored?
LISA: I know, isn't it awful. Poor Mr. Brando.
THOMAS: He's not vegetarian. Or Hindu. At least I don't think he is. Is he?
LISA: NO! Oh, I mean about his daughter.
THOMAS: What. Where? Is she here?
LISA: That's mean. She committed suicide in 1995. Today's the anniversary. Isn't it?
THOMAS: (happily) Oh, yeah. Right. Little Brando kerblamo! Right!
LISA: You're sick. I'll wait in the car with Mr. Brando.
THOMAS: Wait, Lisa! I didn't mean . . .
LISA: Just eat your meat.
TEENAGER: Can I take your order.
THOMAS: Fuck you. I want 75 hamburgers, a big mac with no meat, ten large fries, a large Coke, a large . . . I don't know, Root Beer? And a goddamn cherry pie.
(No sound except the whispering of the air vents)
THOMAS: I Got Marlon Fucking Brando in the car, and a pissed off lawyer to boot! Is this fast fucking food or what!?
The third frame is of the Georgia Welcome sign. A great blue billboard with a happy peach filling up two thirds of is surface. A worker is standing on platform in front of the sign. Part of the peach has pealed away from from the wood. The worker is tearing the pealed section off. It is twilight.
SQUID: Thank you for the hamburgers. I had . . . forgotten . . . how wonderful they could be. I wish I had been permitted to consume some Mac Nugents, but the extra hamburgers were more than ample. You shall be food boy from now on, dear Tom.
THOMAS: They're called McNuggets.
LISA: Leave Marlon alone, Tom. It's hard enough as it is.
SQUID: Indeed. It is hard. I am having a very resistant and unforgiving time. Indeed. Yes.
THOMAS: I . . . (quietly) I am sorry Mr. Brando. Sorry for your loss.
THOMAS: (quietly) It must be very hard for you on the anniversary of the death of . . .
THOMAS: . . . your daughter Cheyenne.
SQUID: Like the native tribes of the Western United States?
THOMAS: Yes. I am very sorry.
SQUID: Indeed. It is saddening that he—
SQUID: —she should have died so suddenly as she did. I thank you for your condolences Monkey-Man. Your callous disregard for my trauma over losing my pup is forgiven.
The final frame is of a small cluster of rental cottages. It seems to be an old roadside motel made to look like a quaint village of log cabin homes. A large gator holding a rebel flag smiles at the camera from the sign. "Gator-Reb Motel" is written in red neon above the gator, who is also wearing a cowboy hat. Next to the sign for the motel, to the right, is an even larger sign the size of a semi-trailer. It is shaped like an arrow and points off frame to the right. It says, in green neon, "Mystery Hill . . . just yonder!"
LISA: We are NOT staying there.
THOMAS: I'm tired.
LISA: It's only seven. I could drive.
THOMAS: I need to lie down.
LISA: But can't we wait for a better hotel?
Love the Giant Squid? Buy his first book.
Share on Facebook
Tweet about this Piece
Poor Mojo's Tip Jar: