The Last Burger | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 06, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 06, 2019

Fiction

The Last Burger

A brown, robust dog looks on anxiously while sitting at a busy intersection of the city. The male dog has chosen a dark and safe place in between two genetically modified palm trees on the footpath. He peeps out frequently to stare at a fast food shop. The shop has a glass door and the dog observes people having their snacks, or waiting for hot spicy food, or getting a parcel of food.

After frequent intervals the dog tries to count the number of beef-burgers kept side-ways one after another on the top shelf of a glass food counter. For some unfathomable reason, he targets the last one in the row. Something makes him sure that it will come to him.

At the beginning of the day, the number of burgers was twelve.

Three young beautiful college girls and a boy enter into the shop and purchase four beef burgers from that row. They share soft drinks and enjoy the food while gossiping and having fun.

It is unsafe for the dog to stay in front of the shop staring at food and therefore he walks to and fro. He watches customers having various items other than burgers in the shop.

Around 7:30 p.m. the dog feels restless. The shop usually closes at 9:00, which means he has ninety minutes in hand, and for seven more burgers to be sold before getting the expected last burger.

It starts to drizzle and the street becomes deserted, interrupted occasionally by the honking of speeding vehicles.

Suddenly, a couple with their two children rushes into the fast food shop. Their father purchases two beef burgers for them and two vegetable-sandwiches for himself and his wife. 

Still five more burgers to be sold before the waiting dog can get his.

Amidst the drizzling, a man and a woman embark from their car and enter the shop. They take various food items and also share the fifth burger in the row. They come out from the shop with hot coffee from the machine and leave the place. 

As the drizzle fizzles out, peoples’ movements gradually intensify, so the dog has to hide between two palm trees. The drenched dog shakes himself vigorously to remove water.

At 8:45pm, our dog again comes in front of the shop and finds only two burgers in the glass box. 

The boys working in the shop start to wipe down the glasses of the shop with spray cleaners. The man and the woman at the counter are busy wrapping up the day’s accounting.

The dog observes those activities from the street, deceptively with cunning furtive glances, so that security sentries of the area cannot notice him.

And ten more minutes pass by but no new visitors enter the shop, and the remaining two also complete their dinner and leave. Now the shop is empty of customers and the staffs of the shop chat amiably about their day’s business.

It is 9:05pm. The boys are pulling down the shutters of the shop. Right at that moment, a middle-aged man enters the partially closed shop. On his humble request, the boys agree to sell food. He purchases the remaining two burgers and two bottles of juice.

The man looks exhausted. He sips on his juice and asks the boys to serve one burger to him. A boy heats it up in the electric micro-oven and serves him.

The man eats half of the burger with eagerness. Some of the fluorescent lights of the shop are switched off and the man with the remaining food comes out of the shop. He throws the rest of the burger on the footpath and disappears in the crowd.

Taking an eager leap, the waiting dog takes the burger into its mouth.

But instead of gobbling up the much awaited food, he spits it out and a gut wrenching whine escapes his lungs.

As he trots away from the place, he wonders how was it that he could smell his beloved bitch in the remaining portion of the last beef burger.

Musfequr Rahman works as the ‘In Charge’ of ‘International Desk’ and ‘English Bulletin’ of SATV.

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