Bringing a hidden candy bar to the movies didn’t ruffle Birdie’s conscience at all. Technically, she knew it was against the rules, but she felt justified in doing it when admission was so pricey, and the cost of candy at the concession stand would have paid for a Caribbean cruise for Gerald and herself. It gave her a bit of “civil disobedience”/”free the masses” sort of feeling when she sneaked candy into the movies. And besides, once she had seen a guy bring in a full meal from Taco Bell and eat it while waiting for the previews. She would never do anything like that. Of course, she wouldn’t.
Then came breakfast at McDonald’s on Sundays. Gerald and Birdie hadn’t started out wrong. They would both order sausage McMuffin meals and eat them while sitting in their favorite booth, enjoying the the sun that came through the only window on the east side of the restaurant. However, one Sunday, Gerald mentioned that he really liked having a pastry with his coffee, so they started trying other places like the bakery, the French cafe, and finally the college-student pizza hangout where, surprisingly, they made the most delectable sticky buns and fresh fruit croissants. Birdie and Gerald tried eating at the pizza place, but it was dark and cold, and they missed their sunny booth and cheap senior drinks with refills. So, Gerald came up with a plan. He would carry the pastries into McDonald’s and secure the sunny booth, while Birdie would order the McMuffins and senior drinks, being careful not to confess to the 16 year old taking her order, that they had brought in contraband food and were intending to eat it while enjoying discount beverages courtesy of McDonald’s. It made Birdie a little uncomfortable at first, but it all went so smoothly week after week, and whenever her conscience tried to speak up, Birdie would just give it a bite of her McMuffin.
This Sunday, after they had made their pastry run, Gerald suggested they get a burrito at Sonic. When Birdie realized that Gerald intended to continue on to McDonald’s with the pastries AND the burrito, her discomfort quotient rose to the alarm level. She was sure that her aura looked like a flashing neon sign that said, “Food Smuggler and Sneak”.
As she walked to the counter to order the drinks, she had trouble maintaining eye contact with the young order taker. She brought the drinks to their booth, grabbed a discarded Sunday newspaper, and sat across from Gerald as he began digging into his burrito. Birdie ate her croissant without looking up from the useless news articles and ads before her. The pastry lost its sweetness. She didn’t want a refill. There was no sunshine.