Lunch

“You want fries with that?” the big clown asked.

Clem leaned at the car window toward the speaker. “No fries, thanks.”

“What? Speak into the clown, please, I can’t hear you!”

Yeesh, wasn’t it bad enough he was hightailing it out of Sunnydale, trying to keep a low profile, and hungry as hell? Now he couldn’t even get a hamburger out of a deaf clown. “No fries!” Clem shouted, “I’m watching my cholesterol!”

“Dude!” the clown shouted back. “Do you know how much cholesterol is in a burger? Sure you don’t want a salad?”

Lunch

Clem’s face fell. Well, actually, fell more. A falling face kinda described the quintessential Clem. Clem’s skin and gravity were buds. But usually the cheerful demon could still muster a smile.

Today was sucking.

“Yeah, gimme the salad,” Clem sighed. He turned to the nervous hitchhiker sharing the front seat with him. “Sure you don’t want anything?”. The hitchhiker continued to stare at him in frozen confusion. Clem smiled his sunniest smile. “I really am watching my cholesterol,” he assured his passenger. .

The wrinkly demon drove up to the cashier window, five-spot in hand, and waited for the bag and the usual reaction. By the time the window cashier froze in stupefaction at Clem’s dog ears and wrinkly skin, Clem grabbed the bag and was out of there. If it wasn’t for drive-through , he’d probably starve to death.. Clem pulled back into the bumper-to-bumper get-the-hell-out-of-Sunnydale traffic and fidgeted with the car radio. “Broken,” he shrugged to his passenger. “So! Let’s get to know one another!”

His passenger stared at him.

“I see this not so much as an apocalypse as an opportunity, ” Clem schmooed. “L.A. is where all the really important demons go anyway. I’m planning to become an entrepreneur. Did you know you can make money off the Internet?”

The hitchhiker bolted out the passenger-side door, leaving his backpack and a small ventilated carry-case. Well, so much for companionship on the long drive to L.A.

Clem sighed. No need to keep up a pretence of cheerfulness now. He was just one more scared Sunnydale citizen getting’ the hell out of Dodge. Well, not the Dodge he was driving. The old ratty Dodge. If it had enough gas. And then he heard it.

Meeeeeeeewwwwwwww.

Was that the sound of a…?????

Mewwwwwwwwwwww.

Kitten??

Mewwwwwwwwwwww.

Halla-freakin’-luyah! His passenger left behind his backpack and a…

Mewwwwwwwwwwww.

Hello, lunch!

Life was good.

Well, no it wasn’t. If he couldn’t eat a hamburger, he couldn’t… could he?

Mewwwwwwwwwwww.

Just one?

Traffic was dead-stopped. Clem reached into the small pet carrier and pulled out the spindly barely weaned ball of fluff. He pressed it close to his face.

Tasty fluff.

“Hello, lunch!” Clem greeted the kitten. He sat the little critter next to him on the seat. The warm little thing fell asleep against his leg. Well, at least he’d have someone to talk to on the long drive. “Did you know you can money on the Internet?”

Clem began to chat.

Funny how much can change in a year. Yeah, L.A. had it’s share of apocalypses, but that’s just life. Life is what you make it. Lemons into lemonade. It wasn’t always easy, but he’d made some friends. And he had a job. Clem hit the SEND button and a parade of spam email whooshed out to inboxes worldwide. Finance your mortgage online. Russian girls are waiting to meet you now. You too can make money on the Internet. Well, who would be surprised to find out that all that spam came from demons?

But it was break time. Time for a little salad, snack, and a warm cuddle. Clem settled into his favorite chair, turned on his favorite soap, and waited for his companion to join him.

“Hello, Lunch!” he greeted his friend and scratched it behind the ears.

Lunch curled up next to him.