Harold flipped the sizzling patty, and most of the
slid into the sea. “How’s the headache?” Netherlands
Nigel massaged his forehead. “Better. The cognitive interference isn’t nearly as bad now.”
“That’s good.” The ground beef settled out a little as the ice caps turned to slush. “How’re the wife and kids?”
“Gone by now, probably. But they were doing well, last I checked. Cheryl had just gotten a new dress.”
“Ah. Well, they might still be around:
North America doesn’t go until I get the pickle.” Harold slid the hissing meat off the range and onto a lightly toasted wheat bun; no sooner had cow met grain than every nuclear missile and power plant on Earth suffered catastrophic meltdowns.
“Ah,” Nigel sighed, easing back into his chair and taking a sip of cola. “That’s much better.” He could feel originality and honesty flowing through every neuron.
Harold mutely laid hand-sliced cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes on the steaming patty, and the lakes, rivers, and oceans evaporated in an instant, coating the planet in a dense layer of scalding steam. Nigel glanced out the window as Harold poured out some ketchup and mustard, smiling himself as the cars rapidly piled up, their owners stumbling out into a hazy white oblivion; he hadn’t felt this good in years.
The top half of the bun plopped into place just as the first volley of meteors fell.
A serrated knife slid smoothly through the expertly crafted burger, touching the plate a few milliseconds before every volcano and fault line on the planet tore itself apart, exposing the Earth’s hot, molten flesh.
The sun exploded and blew away the atmosphere as two toothpicks slid into place, holding the masterpiece together.
Nigel admired the sight of the ground slipping away into oblivion as Harold fished out a dill pickle spear, placed it on the plate, and slid the whole thing across the counter.
“Wait until you taste it.” Harold began putting away his supplies, then idly remarked, “That’ll be five ninety-five, by the way.”
Nigel ran his hands over his pants, then leaned on the counter, chuckling a little. “Well, this is awkward.”
“I left my wallet out in my car.”
Harold glanced at the starry nothingness beyond the glass doors, shrugged, and picked up the burger. “Your loss.” He took a bite.
And every star in the universe exploded.