Title: "Where’s The Beef?" (1/1)
Genres: Fluff, Humor, Slice-Of-Pickle, er, Life ;)
Summary: Clark shows Bruce a slice of average American life, heavy on the beef and with extra pickles.
Date Of Completion: June 1, 2011
Date Of Posting: June 6, 2011
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, DC does, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1077
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: Written for the worlds_finest 5th Birthday Celebration.. Prompt: Clark and Bruce at McDonald’s (or fast food joint of your choice!). (Anonymous).
Like mustard and ketchup,
Burgers and buns.
We go together
Like mustard and relish,
Pickles and onions.
"The Hamburger Song"
Clark smiled at Bruce’s surprise. He opened the spotless door and ushered his lover inside.
Bruce could smell French fries as he walked in, Clark right behind him. He could feel the smile on the smug Kryptonian’s face.
The counter was manned by teenagers in brown-and-yellow uniforms with crisp matching caps on their heads. A menu board was set high above them with all the items displayed, some with pictures. Bright, gleaming chrome filled the kitchen area as the cooks performed the tasks of flipping burgers, dipping French fries into vegetable oil, and whipping up milkshakes.
A teenage girl and boy were at the counter debating over what to order while a white-haired couple ate chicken sandwiches at a round table by the window. A mailman was sitting two tables over, drinking coffee and eating a salad.
“This is real Americana, Bruce,” Clark said with a wave of his hand.
“Real Americana is a diner like the one you have in Smallville, Smallville, not a McDonald’s.”
“This is part of America, too.” Clark looked curiously at his companion. “Haven’t you ever been in a McDonald’s before?”
“I’ve seen pictures,” Bruce said defensively.
Clark’s eyes widened. “Then you really haven’t…?”
Bruce waved his hand impatiently. “Of course I have, Clark. Dick insisted we go to one when he was a kid.”
“So you haven’t been in one since then?”
“That’s right.” Bruce grimaced as a man in jeans brushed past him, smelling of tobacco.
“Well, now, we’re going to give you an immersion into the average American’s life.”
As Clark herded Bruce toward the counter with an arm over his shoulder, Bruce said, “I know how other Americans live, Clark. I don’t eat in five-star restaurants all the time, you know.”
“Bruce, the diners you eat in while undercover are what are known as ‘greasy spoons’, and do not represent the average American’s experience. Neither do dives and other unsavory places you hang out in for the sake of catching criminals.”
Bruce sighed as they reached the counter. “Clark, this menu is…”
“…filled with salads if you want, but I’d recommend either the grilled chicken sandwich or the classic burger.” To the smiling girl behind the counter, Clark said, “Four hamburgers, please, and two large orders of French fires.” He smiled charmingly. “Oh, could I get extra pickles on two of those burgers?”
“Yes, sir. Anything to drink?” she asked as she punched in the codes.
“Two diet Cokes.”
She rang up the total. “Seven dollars and seventy-four cents.”
Clark paid and as the girl quickly got the order, placing four wrapped hamburgers fresh off the grill onto a tray after learning they were staying to eat, Bruce quipped, “So I’m a cheap date?”
“The cheapest,” Clark grinned.
The girl went to the fryolator and scooped out two generous portions of French fries into red paper cartons decorated with the golden arches. Returning to the counter, she smiled as she placed the cartons on the tray.
“Have a nice day.”
Bruce grumped as Clark smiled and said, “Thank you,” as he picked up the tray, Bruce following as he snagged straws and napkins on the way to a table by the window.
“Dig in,” Clark said cheerfully as he set Bruce’s items in front of him.
“Oh, I can’t wait.”
Clark laughed. “You know what your trouble is, Bruce? You’re a food snob.” He unwrapped his first burger.
“And you should be, too. You grew up on your mother’s cooking, for crying out loud!”
“Yes, and she’s still the best, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy other food.”
“This?” Bruce lifted the bun. “This piece of meat is flat as a pancake, with a solitary pickle, though you got yourself extra, some chopped onions, mustard, and ketchup. Is that why you ordered two apiece, because they’re so small?”
“Yeah. If I’d ordered the Big Macs, it would have been just one apiece. Just take a bite, Bruce. And have a French fry.” Clark put two extra pickles on Bruce’s hamburger.
Bruce sighed as Clark waved a fry in front of his face. Clark seemed completely unperturbed by his lover’s complaining, taking a bite out of his hamburger.
He decided to try the French fries first, surprised at how good they tasted, especially when hot. He ate a half-dozen and then tried the hamburger.
It was decent enough but not Kobe beef, that was for sure. He slowly ate the burger as he made significant headway through the fries.
A middle-aged couple took seats at the table next to them, smiling and laughing as they enjoyed chicken sandwiches and fries, sharing a large drink.
Clark had been right. Average people dined here, maybe exceptional in some ways as authors and artists and carpenters and plumbers, but living ordinary lives. These were the people that he and Clark were sworn to protect.
The lovesick teenagers were giggling in the corner, and the elderly couple were snarking at each other a few tables down. All very ordinary, all very peaceful.
Bruce watched as Clark polished off his French fries, unwrapping his second hamburger. With his extraordinary powers, Clark reveled in the ordinary. He needed it. It kept him grounded. It kept him balanced.
It was also something else. Love was your lover giving you some of his extra pickles, and you accepting them on your skimpy hamburger.
“’You deserve a break today’,” Bruce murmured the old McDonald’s slogan.
“Hmm?” Clark asked, taking a sip of his Coke.
“Oh, nothing.” Bruce took another bite of his burger. If Clark needed ordinary, he could give him that. His eyes twinkled. “Where’s the beef?”
Clark laughed. “Wrong fast-food joint, Bruce.”
“Maybe, but I see some prime beef right here.”
“Oh?” Clark’s sapphire eyes were sparkling behind his glasses.
“Yes. I’m rather fond of beef. Buns, too.”
“I am, too.” Clark picked up his hamburger. “The firmer the better.”
Bruce’s smile was positively predatory. “I could get used to McDonald’s.”
Clark leaned forward and whispered, “Can I squeeze your buns?”
Bruce laughed. “You can even take a bite.”
Clark finished his hamburger and nibbled on a French fry, Bruce’s midnight-blue eyes glittering. Bruce wolfed down the remainder of his hamburger, ready for even more tender beef.
They left the golden arches behind.