Bernie Tenney sat with his back leaning against one arm of his friend Max's couch, his feet propped up on the opposite arm, his hands clasped behind his head. Max sat on a nearby easy chair with his back leaning against the angle between the right-hand armrest and the back of the chair, and his left leg dangling over the left-hand armrest. They were both quite comfortable, and rather disinclined to move. Nevertheless, they thought they should probably try to do something or other with the night. They'd certainly both had boring enough days.

"Another day, another deity," said Bernie with a sigh. "How 'bout you?"

"Eh, same ol', same ol'. Just sittin' around the office, pushing paper. Mindless gossip around the water cooler. I hear Jerry Slater's acting career is on the skids. Hey, maybe you guys should see 'bout getting him a god, see if one could do him any good."

Bernie grinned conspiratorially and tapped the side of his nose.

"Heh," said Max with a small chuckle, "doesn't surprise me. …Anyway, you wanna do anything tonight?"

"I dunno. How bout you? Maybe we should go out for a bite or something."


"I dunno. How 'bout McKing's?" As it happened, just when Bernie suggested the place, Fox Crane was enjoying a burger, fries, and a shake there, not caring at all that in his grandfather's time, the one chain had been two.

"Nah," said Max. "I used to work there, y'know. Long time ago, before I ever met you. Back in high school. Not such a bad job. I've heard people say after working there, seeing what went on, they were too disgusted ever to eat there again. Well, I dunno what outlet they all worked at, but mine was fine. Would get food half price when I worked there, and I didn't mind eating it. In fact, I had quite a lot of it."

"Point, please?"

"Well, I just had so much I sort of got my life's fill. I mean, I'll still eat there on rare occasions, maybe once or twice a year, maybe less. But I'll always flash back to my time workin' there, anytime I just walk into a McKing's. And it'll feel like I just ate there an hour ago. And unless I'm really hungry, I'll just lose all interest in eating. Y'know?"

Bernie nodded with a smile. "Tell me about it. You know when's the last time I've been to church?"