The Glove
by Drew Buxton, 3.49am May 10th 2022

Sometime in the late 20th century, America’s beef supply was ravaged by a previously unknown bacteria. The federal government ordered that all restaurants serving hamburgers be shut down until the epidemic passed. This affected no one more than a young boy living in Mudflap County, Texas. Growing up without a mother and living in a small house with a father who struggled to support him, eating McDonald’s was what he had in life. If he did all his homework and ate all his vegetables throughout the week, on Sunday night, his dad would take him to get a Happy Meal. But without this to look forward to, he no longer saw the point in eating at all. His dad made him turkey sandwiches, fried chicken, bought him pizza, but he left it all untouched. For weeks he didn’t eat, and his ribs began to poke out. He spent most of his time sleeping.

It was while the boy napped in his room that the father heard the incredible news on the TV. The government declared that all McDonald’s locations were safe to reopen after a study revealed that their burgers contained no actual beef. He wanted to surprise his son. He calmly went to his room and woke him up and told him to put his shoes on; they were going to the store.

They got in the Saturn, and on the way, the boy sat slumped in his seat, sad, his eyes half-open. This was until they took a left where they should’ve taken a right to go to the store. He sat up and looked to his dad, but his dad didn’t let on anything.

Cars were wrapped around the building when they got there. “Dad, the cars! It’s open!” he shrieked.

“Yes. It’s open,” the father said and smiled.

They waited and waited in line, and when it was finally time to order, the father got the boy two Happy Meals and for himself a Big Mac meal and Oreo McFlurry. He wanted them to be able to really relax and enjoy it. He decided to get out of town. It didn’t take long—a few minutes, a few stoplights. It was a small town.

They pulled off onto a gravel road in the piney woods, some rich person’s property who wouldn’t notice. The wind picked up and slapped the pine needles against the car. The father turned the radio to the soft jazz station. The son began to dig in the bag when suddenly a voice cut off the music.

 

This is an urgent message for all residents of Mudflap County! There has been a breach in security at the nearby prison. After hearing the news of the return of McDonald’s, a prisoner went mad, overwhelmed the guards, and scaled the prison wall. Be on the lookout for a man who is four feet, nine inches tall, wears a black, wide-brimmed hat, black mask, purple gloves, and black-and-white prison garb. Residents are advised to remain in their homes with their doors locked. He is considered to be ravenous.

 

The music came back on. They didn’t say anything for a moment. The father could tell his son was scared, and he wanted to show him there was nothing to worry about. “Pass me my burger,” he said.

The boy fumbled with the bag then stopped. “But the radio said. The man is on the loose. We have to go home, now, Dad.”

“It’s fine. Don’t worry. We’re safe here. I’m here. Let’s relax and eat.”

Something whacked against the side of the car.

“What was that?” the boy said.

“It was just the wind,” the father said and laughed.

The boy’s hands shook as he got the food out. He was about to take a bite when he started crying.

“Jesus Christ,” the father said. “We’re okay. Nothing bad is gonna happen. The food’s getting cold.”

“He’s gonna get us!” the boy said between sobs. “I wanna go home.”

Again something against the car. The boy jumped.

“Okay, okay,” the father said. “We can go home.” He shook his head and backed the car down the gravel road. He shifted into drive and got onto the highway. The boy gripped the McDonald’s bag tight until they pulled into the driveway.

The father got out of the car and walked to the front door. He stepped inside, but the boy hadn’t followed him. The father went back towards the car. “What are you doing?” he said. The boy didn’t respond. He was staring at the Saturn. There was something on the back door, something purple. The father got closer.

It was a glove, on the door handle. Stuck there with blood.

No. It was ketchup.