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Horseshoe Magazine

The Time Machine in the McDonald’s Deep Freezer

It was a part-time job, just something trivial to keep him busy over the summer. It wasn’t supposed to get this intense. That being said, if he had to guess where an interdimensional portal to the multiverse would open up, McDonald’s would probably be his second choice. His first was  Dave & Buster’s, but he guessed that was more of a personal thing.

He finished loading a stack of trays into the dishwasher when he heard a low-frequency buzzing emanating from the corner of the kitchen, just outside the deep freezer.

He thought he was finally losing it, that the minimum wage delirium or the tinnitus was finally getting to him, but it was almost as distinct as the music playing from the speakers, the drumming as crisp as Britney Spears’ voice. He approached the freezer cautiously, looking around for his coworkers, most of which had already packed up and left for the night. He opened up the lid of the freezer, and paused.

He didn’t understand what he was seeing, not immediately. In place of the frozen beef patties and cheese slices was a whirlpool of purples and blues, circling and blending together like one of those water bottles filled with glue and glitter. The noise it was making wasn’t a noise at all, more of an anti-noise, the deafening absence of sound. He could see a face materializing in the haze, almost like there was a mirror amidst the disassembled Big Mac components, but the reflection certainly wasn’t of himself. As he leaned over the freezer, feeling magnetized by the cool swirl of color, he wondered if worker’s comp covered something like this.

“You! You there! Come closer,” a male voice called. He thought about closing the freezer, but he had nothing better to do than wash plates. He leaned forward a little farther. 

“Who are you?”

“My name’s Jared,” he answered.

“Jared,” the voice repeated. “Are you someone of importance in the future? A member of a great house, perhaps?”

“Uh… I work at McDonald’s,” Jared continued. “Wait, the future? Is this a time machine?”

“Aha! I’ve cracked it!” The voice exclaimed. “What is it like in the future? Do you have time travel, as well? Wait, no. You can’t answer that. That’ll create a paradox. What are your finest inventions? Who are the great artists of your time?”

Fine inventions and great art were not Jared’s forte. He was more of a Twinkies and Call of Duty kind of guy, but he had to tell this time-machine man something. His next words could be recorded in the history books.

“Uh… we have, Heelys’, which are like roller skates but better ‘cause they’re, like, in your shoe. Do you have roller skates? Never mind,” Jared rambled. He tried to think of some great artists, a name that he might’ve heard in a class or while watching Jeopardy. “Is Charles Dickens famous yet? Or, like, Picasso?”

He never got an answer because the indigo whirlpool melted back into the pile of frozen food, the man’s face fading into a stack of frozen burger buns. Jared wondered if he’d really seen a man in the deep freezer or if his dealer had given him bad weed. 

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Myles Allan
Myles Allan, Literary Editor
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