Purposeful Grind

“Four years…,” Tommy sat in his car mentally preparing himself to go into work. Checking his progress on his node made him feel surprisingly sentimental. He tried his best not to get too friendly with any of his coworkers. Thinking about it, however, he knew he’d miss them. He sighed, put his node away, and grabbed his nametag. “Four years is a hell of a grind, but it’s time to move on…,” he reminded himself he was going to quit that day. “…no matter what.” He crossed the parking lot, entered, clocked in, then started his shift.

“You’re in a good mood today,” the manager commented minutes into the lunch rush. It was at that moment that Tommy realized he’d been dancing at his station while flipping burgers.

“You know that great feeling you get when you’re finishing a loooooong project?” Tommy grinned. “I’m finishing today!”

“Oh yeah?” the manager showed genuine interest. She was one of the people Tommy was going to miss most. “What’s the project?” she asked.

“It’s stupid,” he said. Feeling suddenly embarrassed about his accomplishment.

“C’mon,” she elbowed him gently in the ribs while he moved cooked patties off the heat; she stopped when he almost dropped one.

“It’s for a game,” he said. “I’ve almost earned a title for my character that I’ve wanted for years.”

“A video game?” she asked. Tommy nodded and the manager shook her head.

“Well, I don’t know anything about that. But great job on working for something you want,” she patted Tommy’s back as he finished moving the cooked burgers out of the way. Suddenly, an echoing chime filled the restaurant. Brilliant red light came in through the windows to flood the restaurant. Tommy looked around and quickly realized he was alone. His coworkers and the customers were gone. He looked out the drive-thru window and there was no car there either.

“Is that a horse?” Tommy asked himself as he noticed movement out the window. He peeked out the window and saw a knight in red armor dismounting from an armored horse. “No way!” Tommy dashed to lobby then out the door into the parking lot. 10 knights stood next to their horses. Nine of them knelt as Tommy approached. The 10th one paced forward to kneel directly in front of Tommy. The knight removed her helmet revealing long flowing dark hair and clear hazel eyes.

“All hail Tommy lord of the grill,” she bowed deeper. “Truly you are the Burger King of McDonald’s,” Tommy sighed peacefully and grinned.

“Totally worth four years,” he said.

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