That time Zdeno Chara took my order at McDonald’s
“I had the dream again.” Dianne isn’t a stereotypical therapist. She doesn’t have a couch. She doesn’t smoke cigars. She doesn’t have a little white beard. Okay, I get therapist and Freud mixed up. I’m supposed to. It advances the narrative while giving the narrator a charmingly clueless voice. Right? I’m pulling off charmingly clueless, right? Fuck.
“The one about the hockey player?” She asked remotely. She always asked remotely. I don’t think Dianne’s really there most of the time. She's just an avatar, a channeling of an actual therapist, a shell that performs the duties but lacks any real insight. So, kinda like everyone.
“No, the other one about the hockey player.” She knew what I meant, or played along. Does it matter?
“So, McDonald’s then?” She knew me too well. She should, she’s a character in a story I’m writing. Not the one about the hockey player, or the other hockey player; though they do play a role. No, I will not make more sense. Shut up. Who’s telling this story?
“Right. Chara’s wearing one of those paper hats, you know like they used to wear?” Everyone knew about the paper hats, didn’t they? Well, maybe not Millennials. Too damned young to get my cultural reference jokes. We hates them precious.
“I remember,” Dianne says. At least she’s not too young to remember the hats. Damn skippy, she’s old enough to get my jokes. Was the paper hat a joke? Well shit. I’m batting a thousand today.
“‘Welcome to McDonald’s, can I take your order?’ He asks me in that weird Slavic/Boston accent.” It’s supposed to be weird and erie to have a six foot nine hockey player taking your order at McDonald’s. It’s a dream though, right? Weird shit isn’t weird in a dream. Just normal everyday, you know. Oh, hey Chara, yeah I’ll have the chicken McNuggets. Crappy weather we’re having. Yeah, I’ll have barbecue sauce with those. No, I don’t know where you left your keys last night. Normal, right?
“What’d you order?” Dianne asks. Why did she ask that? Couldn’t she read the last paragraph? What the hell kind of therapist is she? Piss poor, that’s what kind.
“That’s where it was weird. I normally order chicken nuggets, you know. From the chicken mines, extracted–”
“Chicken nuggets, yes.” Dianne cut me off. She could see the tangent the story was headed for. She isn’t all bad.
“But tonight I ordered the Royal Max with Cheese or whatever the hell it is.” I said
“Royal Max? You mean the Max 67?”
“My story, my burger.”
“Well, get it right,” Dianne said.
“So I ordered the burger, and Max Pacioretti cheers from the burger line. I mean, why the hell would I order Max’s burger?” Really? It was a fun joke when Max did it, but why would I order it? Chicken nuggets are perfectly fine. Really, they’re fine. They’re just fine.
“Chara asks: ‘Are you sure about that?’ with all this menace, and that demonic grin he gets before he’s gonna tear your head off. You know like when he was gonna unwrap Brendan Smith.”
“I remember,” Dianne yawns. She doesn’t, but she’s a good liar. She’s an imaginary therapist after all. There are standards.
“So it dawns on me, this is a sign. Not that it’s a dream, who can tell when they’re dreaming?” Dianne just nods. She might have nodded off to sleep. Hockey bores her. I bet she took me as a client just to cure her own insomnia. “The Habs are going to knock the Bruins out of the playoffs. Again!”
I don’t hate the Habs like most Bruins fans. I act like it when I’m around them though. It’s just polite, you know.
My exclamation woke her from her snooze. “Don’t be ridiculous. The Bruins defense is strong. The rotating roster of forwards is really starting to pan out. With hard work and perseverance they should be able to make the playoffs easily. Besides, without Price the Habs have collapsed.”
What. The. Fuck. I turned around on the couch that Dianne doesn’t have. No, not Dianne. That’s not Dianne. She pulls off the Scooby Doo mask, revealing Don Sweeny’s lined face.
“Noooooooooooo!” I scream, Vader style from the couch I was never on.
“In fact, we may rest Chara for a few games, give Kevin Miller some top pairing minutes.”
My head explodes, leaving black and gold chunks of brain oozing down the wall as Sweeny cackles an evil super villain laugh.
Gary Rogers recently started adding bios to the end of his stories. You know, for kids. You can read more of his work at Medium. If you’re particularly generous you can click recommend below and add to his already delusional ego.