Once the cameras had snapped and the first shovelful of ground had been broken for the new McDougal’s fast-food joint, the owner waited until the crowd had dissipated before making a quiet call into his cell.

Fifteen minutes later, an unmarked car drove up. It was from the local McDougal’s lodge, no. 421, and out stepped the local representatives of that most noble order. First an Apprentice, wearing only the striped shirt and hat. Then a Journeyman with a striped cape, fluttering in the afternoon breeze. And finally the Master himself, with a striped robe and a staff topped with the symbol of the Most Sublime Double Order of McDougal’s, the All-Consuming Maw.

“Is the way prepared?” said the Master.

“Yes,” the owner said. He led them to a small concrete receptacle that had been prepared at the exact mathematical center of the new building’s footprint. A small stone casket lay there, prepared with mortar to seal it for all eternity.

“Very good.” The Master reached into his voluminous robes and produced a freshly-made McDougal’s milkshake, still glistening with condensation. Reverently, he placed it in the receptacle whilst singing the sacred words: “Pull up, pull up, pull up to the second window.”

“The second window will take your money and give you healing,” said the Apprentice and Journeyman.

Grasping the proffered spade, the Master covered the milkshake with earth while repeating the singsong liturgy. Once that was done, he sealed the container with the mortar. “This McDougal’s is consecrated now,” he said. “Mind that you treat McDougal’s #3891 with the due reverence it demands.”

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“Let’s face it,” Jennie said, “you’ve never been able to hold a job for more than two months.”

“I always have a legitimate grievance,” Colin cried, waving his arms. “It’s not my fault, it’s that the modern workplace is so brutal and depersonalized.”

Jennie cocked an eyebrow. “Oh? What about when you working the fryer at O’Doul’s?”

“That customer said he wanted extra grease,” Colin deadpanned. “Never said where he wanted it to come from.”

“Pizza Mahjong?”

“Hey, they wanted me to dance on the sidewalk holding a lunch special sign when things were slow without even the benefit of a cartoon dragon mask. A guy’s gotta have principles.”

“Oh, of course,” said Jennie, rolling her eyes. “Metromart?”

“It’s their own fault for neglecting to put ‘not for recreational riding’ stickers on pallet jacks. Not to mention the way they stocked the cereal aisle just like a row of competition dominoes.”

The chain had been founded in Lost Angeles, according to the brochure we all had to read (and were tested on!) during employee training, by one Jonathan Patort. Judging by his name he was about as Mexican as Mother Theresa, but apparently he’d hung in as CEO or stockholder for the company until they were popular enough that changing the name would have represented an unacceptable reduction in brand awareness.

In many ways, though, it was a fitting moniker, since the food we served was also about as Mexican as Mother Theresa’s Albanian gjellë. The key dish, and the one with which Señor Patort’s had made its bones, was a quesadilla grilled in such a way that none of its innards would leak out until the first bite was taken, making it perfect to-go food. Never mind that the grilling process took a $5,000 custom machine that your average Mexican was unlikely to own, or that the primary cheese in the mixture was Swiss, or that the thick slabs of bacon floating in said Swiss were unlikely to be found anywhere south of Canada.