You ever know anyone who works at the factory that makes McDonald’s food? Everyone knows someone who’s flipped burgers, but what about the place that manufactures the stuff before it’s shipped to the restaurant? You’d think with all them millions of cheeseburgers served, you’d at least know one person, right? Well, I did.
He was my girlfriend’s father. A tall muscular convict, heroin addict, boiler maker, commercial fisherman, he was a tall and very muscular man who had spent almost 20 of his 47 years in prison. He said the heroin “petrified” him, that was why he looked younger than his age, despite his hard life. He had a real deep, slow voice that seemed to always sound somewhere between retarded and on the nod. This guy would pass out behind the wheel of his pick up truck constantly, just a stone cold junkie. Thing is, he was real athletic too. I used to race him up the hill from Richmond Beach on 185th, me in my old 74 Volkswagen bus, and him on his 10 speed bicycle. He’d always win. The motherfucker was like a Viking. He showed me newspaper clippings from up in Alaska, his crab boat sunk, and they found him frozen, clinging to some rocks on a cliff, and he had the record for the lowest body temperature ever recorded in a person who lived. He was a beast.
His daughter was nuts. I almost married the crazy bitch, thank the gods I didn’t. Her mom was high on smack in the delivery room when she had her. She spent most of her life in foster homes, ward of the state. We were both just homeless teenagers who didn’t have anyone else. We lived in that van, empty houses, slept in bushes sometimes. Ignorance and poverty…
Anyway, after one of his last stints in prison, he told me he was making McDonald’s food out at Airway Heights, a minimum security prison in eastern Washington. Said they start you out on McNuggets, you put a boiled chicken carcass on a centrifuge, and it spins the meat off to the sides, then you scrape it off, load another one on there…..
After that, you learn fries I think he said.
He died not many years later, dopesick in the King County Jail, he rolled off the top bunk and landed headfirst on the concrete floor. They say he was doing the fish for awhile before the guards finally answered the distress call and got him on a stretcher. He wasn’t a bad guy. Just a stone cold junkie.