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Omigosh, not again. I stood in front of the Hamburgers R Us restaurant with my horribly humiliating hamburger suit on and just watched as my arch enemy began to walk towards me. He stood at three feet two inches with short brown hair and evil little brown eyes. As he neared, I felt my knees go weak and a cold sweat broke out on my skin.
“Hey, Hambugger,” he laughed maniacally at his crack at my outfit. Obviously, in the fourth grade, it’s best to go for the least original joke because everyday he said the same thing to me. It always began this way, but it always ended differently. The kid was nothing but unpredictable in his pranks. I ignored him as I held up a sign to advertise the new Triple Decker hamburger we had. Hopefully, the kid would get a clue, but if he did he dismissed it because he stood right in front of me and the door blocking the way into the restaurant.
“Move it, Tommy. And I mean it this time. If you cause me any more trouble my boss said he’s going to fire me,” I snapped, worried that I’d lose my temper at him again and lose my job for ‘arguing with a customer’. Please, what is a little ten year old going to buy with no money? In retrospect, I probably should have guessed that telling a troublesome young boy not to do something was the wrong thing to do because all of a sudden, Tommy grabbed a piece of my lettuce of the outfit. Now, one might think, “Hey, it’s just a teeny tiny piece of green cotton. Let it go”, but I’d say, “Heck no! That’s a giant piece of a costume I have to return or else!” And really, the lettuce is a big chunk, case in point Tommy was running through the food court using it as a cape.
“Get back here, Tommy. Give that back!” And that is how the possibly most embarrassing event of my life ensued, for, against my better judgment, I gave chase to that Tasmanian devil. A large hamburger with the works minus a piece of lettuce ran after a small speed demon through the food court. I ran by Noodles World, Ice Cream Heaven, and Pizza Slice hoping to corner him in between the bathrooms and Smoothie Star. Regrettably, his undeveloped brain began to comprehend this and ran out into the big, bad world otherwise known as the rest of the mall. How he was able to understand my strategy, I’ll never know, but nevertheless, I followed Tommy out into the open. Feeling conspicuous, because hey, I’m a hamburger, I tried to slow down to a dignified power walk. Unfortunately, I didn’t think about how my soft but slick shoes and the slippery mall floor would react to a drastic speed change. Without the much needed friction beneath my feet, I slid to stop in front of Extreme Sports. My life is filled with irony it seems.
Tommy ran back to me and shouted, “Safe!” Then as I struggled to lift my wide sesame seed buns off the ground, he turned around to slow-mo an escape. If this wasn’t bad enough a couple other kids wanted to get in on the fun and joined him. By now, there was crowd surrounding this humiliating spectacle and I began to wonder where in the world this kid’s mom was to save me from this torture! Eventually, I made it to my feet and quickly followed Tommy to the large water fountain in the center of the mall.
“Come and get me, Sluti,” he taunted. I despaired at my unlucky last name, but in defense it was pronounced like Slooti. Anyway, a fourth grader couldn’t possibly know what his mispronunciation actually meant, couldn’t he? Shrugging off the tangent I was on, I sauntered up to the edge of the fountain, right in Tommy’s face. Maybe if I showed no fear and exploited our, well, height difference, he’d start getting scared. Yeah, right, and maybe this will all be just a nightmarish dream.
“Give it up, Tommy. You’ve reached the end of the line,” I reached out to snatch my piece of lettuce back from his grubby hands, but he danced away to the other side of the fountain. Sighing, I reluctantly pursued him to see his buddies from before also standing on the rim. What is this a firing squad? Alas, I turned out to be only too right. For at that moment, Tommy leaned down into the water and snatched up two handfuls of coins tossed in for wishes.
“You have got be kidding me. Tommy, just hand over the lettuce and no one will get hurt. Come on, buddy, you know you don’t want to do this,” I began cajoling frantically while looking for a shield against any untoward pennies.
“Hamburger girl, it’s like you don’t even know me,” And with that opening salvo, Tommy and his friends began pelting me with spare change. I tried to duck the barrage and, luckily, my cumbersome costume deflected a lot of flying coins. Sadly, the Devil incarnate took notice and began throwing the coins at my uncovered face, arms, and legs. Believe me, I was not happy about this brilliant strategic move and then I thought, if you can’t beat them, join them. So, that’s how I lost my job at Hamburgers R Us. My boss caught me hiding behind a trash can while pummeling ‘cute’ little kids with hard copper pennies and promptly ripped my nametag and burger hat off my head. Then, he calmly walked over to Tommy and asked for the errant piece of lettuce back. Like an angel, he handed over the offensive piece with nary an evil glint in his eye. He was all that was sweet and innocent.
Figuring that there wasn’t much I could do to defend myself and beg for my job back, I mean once you resort to violence against a ten year old, there’s no going back, I began walking back to the restaurant to change clothes. However, at that exact moment, Tommy’s mom came running up and grabbed him. Finally, justice will be served to that never-do-well. Stopping my stride, I turned around to watch the show, but to my shock, Tommy’s mother turned on me!
“Who do you think you are? Hurting small, defenseless children, it’s shameful! Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?” And while she ranted I began thinking, why doesn’t your son pick on someone his size?
At that moment, I stood resignedly wondering what else would go wrong today.