<<SIR, COULD I TAKE YOUR ORDER>> the blue-haired girl behind the counter said (she couldn't have been more than 12).

<<Yes, could I have the McPaella please, and a glass of a suitable wine>> Gerald Brugmans said.

<<Is that McPaella with fresh ingredients or synthetic?>> she asked.

<<Ultra fresh>> Brugmans replied.

<<Farmed shellfish, or wild?>>

<<Whatever you like. But make sure they're Atlantic.>>

<<What: grown in the Atlantic, or an Atlantic species?>> she continued.

<<Grown in the Atlantic. And no bio-engineered products, thanks, I'm cutting down.>>

She passed him the appropriate dish, said: <<That'll be $101.01 thanks.>>

<<A little something for the effort>> Brugmans said, flipping her a $10 note.

BRUGMANS WAS ON A DATE, and what greater place to date but over an ultra fresh McDonalds' plate? (that's him reciting the jingles again!) Her name was Frieda and they sat in a booth near a large sign McDonalds used to flash promotional messages. This one said: McDonalds has a 30 year, $30 billion commitment to the Total Amazon Reafforestation Project.

Frieda tucked into a retro Big Mac beefed with cloned 20th century cattle. <<Come on, Gerald, don't play with me>> she said. <<Surely there's a difference.>>

Brugmans shuffled his feet, toyed with his McPaella... looked everywhere but into her big blue battering eyes. He had made the mistake of talking about flamingoes, and was now being sucked into a trap just juicing with tender possibilities. <<Uh>> he said. <<They're like all birds. Internal genitals.>>

Her pupils expanded in a silent <<Wow!>> Mim was an attractive woman, and this excessive flirtation was probably unnecessary... then again, they said the 1970s were back in style now. Brugmans felt one of her feet nuzzle up into his, and then Frieda continued: <<Still, it's funny though. I would have thought there'd be... you know.>>

She smiled at him then naughtily and he knew it was going to end with gooey sex under spinning fans and heaped monsoonal skies. But, before he had time to ditch his McPaella and lunge for her across the table she said, as if as an afront:

<<You know Gerald, you haven't mentioned your line of work?>>

CASSIUS CROON and other entities copyright Robert Booyaka Sullivan 1996-2002.