“I always get them for the toy,” Susan said.

She stumbled and he held her arm.

“Anyway, I wouldn’t be able for a full size one, on top of all the wine I had at the party…and…did you buy me shots in the club? Shouldn’t have done that. That was naughty. In front of all my work, my work people.”

“Why do you want the toy?” he slurred.

She squinted up at the backlit menu, letters and lines, she crushed their blurred edges together with her eyes.

“Big Mac Meal and a Happy Meal,” the chubby young man behind the counter proclaimed, placing them before her.

All the voices of the people behind her rose and fell in waves.

“I don’t feel too well,” she grabbed the cardboard cartoon-covered box and stumbled towards the toilets.

The man swayed on his feet and gave a knowing nod towards the staff, tucked his errant shirt tail into his trousers then followed after her. A lipstick-smudged teenager was coming out of the Ladies’ restrooms.

“’Scuse me,” he smiled flatly. “There’s a woman that I’m with that’s gone in there. Could you check if she’s alright for me?”

“What’s her name?” the teenager asked.


A retching noise erupted from inside followed by the tumble of vomit into water. 

“She’s getting sick,” the teenager said and walked away.

“Susan.” the man called. “Susan. Are you coming out or what?”

Susan sat on the cubicle floor and pulled the wet hair away from her eyes and sobbed.

“Go away,” she said, gripping the curved handles of the small box of food.

“Hey, I’ll go, no problem. I can take it or leave it, you know. I just thought you seemed nice. I just thought we were getting along.”

She stared down at the tiles and blindly reached behind her where she thought she had kicked off her heels.

“Just leave me alone.”

“Bitch,” he banged hard on the door once then left.

She pulled herself up off the floor, staggered out of the cubicle and washed her hands. She splashed her face and dabbed it dry with toilet paper. Some of the drunken customers at the counter turned to stare as she tottered past them, went outside into the dry night and got into a taxi.

Susan told the driver her address, cradled the Happy Meal in her lap and started to get chatty.

“You wanna sort that out,” said the driver when she told him her story. “You have rights.”

In her flat, the curtains were still open. She sat at the kitchen table and tore open the red and yellow box. The chips were limp and cold. The chicken nuggets were hard and the smell made her feel queasy. She held the toy in its plastic wrapper and picked up her phone.

She yelled her message after the tone.

“I have rights! I’ve been told that I have rights! You have to let me see him!”

She called the number again, crying.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to shout. Please let me see him, please.”

There was a large reusable shopping bag in her bedroom. She poured a large glass of wine and didn’t finish it. She lurched to her bedroom and threw the toy into the bag with the rest of them, all still in their plastic wrappers.