Me and the mates were getting a bit tired with the delay in the service of the so called fast food restaurant. What normally takes seconds had taken over a minute and it was clear to us all that the problem lay with the numbers of customers who were queuing in every conceivable space possible: around the block, up into the toilets, down the street to the canal and through the kitchens themselves, snaking around the managers office, the staff mess and the outdoor abattoir.
We realised quickly that we needed to stake our claim on some space in the upstairs seating area so gravitated en masse to a large table by the window. We were quickly successful in scaring off the residents: whether this was because there were so many of us or because John started to cluck like a chicken, I wasn’t sure.
But very quickly 12 of us were sat on and around the faux wood seats and bright yellow leather look alike benches and waited patiently for Mary to bring us our order. To say we waited patiently is, in Matthew’s case, being economical with the truth. He has a very short span of attention and if his desires aren’t gratified within moments of expressing them, he can get very tetchy indeed. He’ll bang the table with his plastic tray, try to blow tunes on the plastic straws and kick any neighbouring plastic seats away from him. Fast food restaurants were in theory made for Matthew but they can never be fast enough for his quick witted and lightening sharp temper. Before long, tens of seconds at most, our patch was showing the results of Matthew’s impoverished patience.
It had the desired effect though: several customers looked at him in alarm, hurried down their already Hurried Meal (why do they call them Happy Meals?) and shepherded their children away from us as fast as their little legs would take them.
Luke thought this was hilarious. But then again he always thinks everything is hilarious: just look at him with a quizzical look in your eyebrows and he’ll start his donkey braying noises. Initially his audience might join in but after a while – perhaps minutes on a good day – their smiles will freeze as the braying gets into their coats, under their skin and into their bones.
That’s the time they back off from Luke and sure enough, today was no exception. The elderly got unsteadily off their seats and hobbled for the exit, a couple of them crossing themselves for good luck. John made matters worse by trying to apologise to the remaining customers. This made Matthew bang the tables louder, Luke added to his farm yard impressions by digging out the sound of cows being slaughtered in the back yard and John started to anoint unfortunate customers with left over plastic cups of Coca Cola.
Mary returned at this point but by this time I’d had enough and decided to execute the coup de grace. I lent over and kissed Mark fairly and squarely on the forehead which of course prompted the management to descend on us with their batons and their tazers. We had cleared McDonalds of those annoying queues but unfortunately had managed to get ourselves booted out into the street in the process.
We probably won’t be going there ever again if the manager gets his way.