To Ronald McDonald And My Waking Self (first letter)


I need to recount what’s gone on recently before the three of us forget it, or perhaps more accurately, before these latest events that you don’t realize we’ve experienced together are somehow erased forever. Forgive me. I don’t mean to be presumptuous.
After what has felt like a lifetime of combat, we came across my first unguarded moment. I’ll never forget it. We pulled into a little strip mall parking lot. Our filthy monster truck sputtered uneasily as I turned the engine off and pulled out that precious key. The debris littered pavement was clear of rabid cow-imps for now. As we strapped on our guns and adjusted each other’s body armour, I noticed a large, makeshift sign over the entrance to an abandoned shoe store that read I used to be what I could afford. The oddly quaint, spray-painted handwriting had an almost comforting effect upon us. Suddenly, all immediate concerns evaporated, and I found myself telling you both about my expectations, disappointments and embrace of middle-age, as well as the imminence of death.
As the sun went down we decided to cautiously approach the empty shop facade, fearful of being drawn into some kind of demented practical joke or booby trap. Ronald’s burnt grease smell and heavy breathing became acutely irritating to me but I knew it would pass. I was just stressed out.
Through the plate glass I could see laces, crumpled up tissue papers and empty boxes strewn across the floor. It was as if the entire inventory of the shoe store had sprung to life and violently escaped. As we entered through a partially unhinged front door, what I mistook at first for sports cards drifted to the floor from holes in the badly water-stained false ceiling. I picked one up and saw the holographic image of a man’s face that I didn’t recognize. As I tilted the card in the evening light he appeared to cry. Below the picture was a name I didn’t know, followed by the phrase one of all fascists to exist. It turns out these ruins were meant for us. The manager of the store was also a local leader of the Resistance Movement who had meticulously arranged the scene in advance of our arrival (but I don’t how we figured this out or what the Resistance Movement resisted exactly).
The back staff room included an automated spa facility. Faucets turned on at full heat as we entered. All three of us soaked, splashed and sang, shouting to one another over gilded partitions. The most knotted parts of our battered, aging bodies were firmly massaged by benevolent machines. Ronald was revealed to be an utter stranger when the last of his make-up washed away, but this guy-we-didn’t-know seemed friendly enough and none of us were bothered. Only your dead stare unnerved me temporarily.
I was having waaaayyyyy too much fun and didn’t mean to jar you. One day (or night) soon, I hope to somehow talk with you in person (my Waking Self that is – sorry Ronald, whoever you are or have become).