by Steve Feffer
“I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it.”
- “A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall”, Bob Dylan
A McDonalds rest stop along the Indiana Toll Road in Elkhart, Indiana. LUCY is a seventeen year old girl dressed in a maroon McDonald's uniform. The blue streaks in her hair look incongruous with the sterility of her uniform. She speaks into a head set taking an order from a drive-thru customer.
LUCY: Good evening, Indiana Toll Road McDonalds, may I take your order, please. What?! Can you speak louder?! I can't hear you. Hello? Can you hear me? Hello?!
SHE pounds on the transmitter attached to her side.
Hello?! If you can hear me honk your horn, because I can't hear you.
SHE waits for a response, but there is none.
If you can hear me, go McScrew yourself.
SHE waits for a response, but again there is none.
If you can hear me, get me the McHell out of here.
SHE continues into the headset though she knows she cannot be heard.
I am being held as a serf here. I have been forced into hard labor by my mother, the evil travel agent, and my father, the disgusting physical specimen who owns Ted's House of Large Sizes clothing store. My name is Lucy Leib. I am seventeen. You are in Indiana. Our license plates read, “The Crossroads of America”. I am at the crossroads right now and I desperately need to leave. I don't care where on this interstate you're going; I'll go anywhere with you. I'd prefer Seattle, but anywhere is fine with me. Take me with you and I'll even give you your order for free. That's right. Free McDonald's. It's like the “American Dream”, isn't it? A free “happy” meal. It's the happiest fuckin' meal you'll ever eat, because you'll be doing a good deed by rescuing me.
I got a place to stay once I get there. Don't worry about that. See I met these girls. They play in this band outta Seattle called Bikini Shave. I went down to Indy to see ‘em. Snuck out my window. Got grounded for the summer. But it was worth it. They were the greatest. And afterward, while I was buying a shirt from ‘em at the side of the stage, I said, yeah, I got this all girl noise band. I write all the tunes. We call ourselves The Skin Flutes. We gig out around the Elkhart area. I. E. We don't gig a great deal. And one of ‘em said, “The Skin Flutes! That's a great name for a girl band.” And I said, yeah, it's wonderful if you wanna be stigmatized as a slut in a conservatively repressive community like Elkhart, Indiana. Some people, particularly parents, teachers and adolescent boys, don't see the irony in the name. And she said, “Yeah, but I do. And if you get out to Seattle, you oughtta come by and jam.”
I can't wait for Frieda and El. We can drive by their houses and see if they wanna go with - if you don't mind - but, I think they won't. They're kinda poseurs, you know. I mean, don't get me wrong. I respect them and all for being in the band. In Elkhart, that's not an easy thing for anyone. But when I'm not around I know they try to distance themselves from me. They say shit like, “It was my idea. And before they met me, they didn't even know what a ‘riot grrrl' was, let alone a ‘skin flute.'” I'll call ‘em when I get to Seattle. I'm not a two face. I'm gonna say, look, I'm in Seattle. I am The Skin Flutes, and, The Skin Flutes aren't goin' anywhere in Elkhart. Come out if you feel the same. If not, see ya'. I figure I can be broke and pissed and a pariah just as easily in Seattle.
I look out of this booth and onto the highway and I see all of you going here and there and I think, why am I stuck? I know most of you ain't going anywhere. I know most of you are just going from one McNowhere to another - with your McKids in your McCars on your McCations. So, I'm begging you, please. Maybe you've wasted your McLife, but I'm not going to. It's out there whizzing by at sixty-five miles an hour and if you will just take me with you I would be mighty McGrateful.
Hello?! Can you hear me? So what do you say?
You want fries with that? That'll be six dollars and fifty-seven cents. Pull up to the first window and have a McGreat Day.
Good evening, Indiana Toll Road McDonald's, may I take your order, please.