The Ferret—he insisted on being called The Ferret, having eschewed the name his mother gave him except when at work or within his professional life that fucking bitch—dug through the garbage can in the Union Square McDonalds looking for Monopoly pieces on discarded fry cartons and soda cups and big mac wrappers to complete his collection and win the money car trip thing that was the grand prize. In his pocket he had three of the four railroads, a Baltic thing, some Pennsylvanias, maybe a Lightworks and a Broadway. The piece he really needed was Park Place, but the chances of that happening were slim at best. He knew that. He’d accepted it. Yet his dream burned brighter than ever before.
At a table on the side of the restaurant, two girls too high to keep their eyes open spoke in some meandering gobbledygook that might be English and involved a lot of open mouth staring and repetition of the phrase, “Totally, I know ohmigawd.” Somewhere below the surface of his perception he recognized that they were talking about some performance of something that the little one had meant to go to but had missed and the taller one with the big teeth and excruciatingly poor diction was assuring her that it was, like totally fine I know ohmigawd. He imagined finding a particularly ripe piece of trash and throwing it at them, but was unable to find the bravery to make it real.
Throughout his life, people had made fun of The Ferret’s particularly feminine and dainty wrists, hands and legs, but he’d fucking show those cunts when he found the other half of the holy Broadway/Park Place dichotomy. They would never know what he would do with the winnings. He might buy himself an island or learn to fly jets or become a secret agent or have his brain implanted into a robot killing machine. It didn’t matter because those stupid stoned bitches would never know what goddamn happened to the Ferret when he won the big prize because he was so mysterious. Mysterious. That was one of the words he most liked to use about himself and never once felt the slightest sting of ridiculousness about applying it to himself. ‘Cause that’s just the type of motherfucker The Ferret was. That was how the motherfucking Ferret ran his business. And there was not a motherfucker alive who’d fuck with The Ferret and his skinny little girl’s wrists. He was mysterious as fuck.
Deep beneath the remains of a Shamrock Shake, the Ferret felt the unmistakable tab of an unpulled game piece waiting for him to reveal its Milton Bradley magic beneath. He gave the fry carton on which the piece sat affixed a gentle tug so as not to upset too many other increasingly foul denizens of this overstuffed garbage can he found his arm buried deep inside as if he were birthing the golden calf of Babylon. Nothing moved. He tried again, this time with a quicker jolt hoping to jar the thing free of whatever fast food boulder it was trapped beneath, but his dainty hand came out of the garbage with only a soggy piece of cardboard to show for his effort. “Fuck!” he yelled eliciting the stares of the employees and other customers. “What the fuck are you guys looking at?!” he offered in retort to the people now staring at him. “This is a fucking McDonalds. Stop staring.” Most people decided that he was probably more trouble than was worth their time so they turned back to their fried chicken and soy paste giblets and imitation potato strands.
With the stoned chicks babbling on, The Ferret forced his arm back into the garbage can to find the tab he sought again lost in the swamp. His deft, agile fingers found the piece without much issue after stumbling through one tub of high fructose corn syrup tomato goo. He managed to get three of his dagger-like lady fingers around the fry carton and pulled with the gentle, measured force of a dancer or a surgeon. He liked to think that, in his own way, he was saving lives to the beautiful music of the universe and not the stream of light-rock shitbombs pumped through the restaurant, if you could call it that.
Out came the carton with its two Monopoly pieces still intact and, as an added bonus, a few relatively fresh fries still inside. After eating the fries—they were those delicious little crunchy bits that collected all the salt at the bottom of the pile—The Ferret closed his eyes and pulled off the left tab of the two.
A green one. Shit. This isn’t what he was looking for. Without looking up from the game piece in his hand, he walked over to the table where the two stoned girls were drooling and sat down. “Don’t mind me. I’m busy,” he told them. They both spent a not insignificant amount of energy trying to wrap their brains around the fact that this man with his arms covered in putrid fast food but looking otherwise normal had just sat down at their table. Unable to comprehend anything this out of the ordinary, their brains played the best trick they knew and erased The Ferret from reality as best they could.
The Ferret pulled a pile of game pieces from his jacket pocket and then fished the tattered paper board from the back pocket of his pants. He spilled them across the table and pushed the girls’ “food” out of his way. They did not seem to notice, and, if they had, they could not muster the focus to care. Like a brook they babbled on. The Ferret pulled the new green one and checked it against the game board he had been carefully maintaining since the promotion began. Damn, it was one he had already. He took the duplicate piece and threw it back over his shoulder without a second thought. He turned his attention to the fry carton and the last remaining piece. He turned to the girls and said, “You girls are clearly too fucked up to know what’s about to happen, but let me tell you anyway. Right now, I am going to pull this little tab and on the other side of this lightly laminated little piece of paper there is going to be a fucking Park Place piece and it’s going to have a little blue bar and I am going to combine it with this piece,” he held the Broadway for their edification, “and I am going to win whatever the big prize is. I have been looking all over the city for this piece and it’s here. I know it. I know it. You girls, you girls are going to be able to say that you saw the world change. You are going to be able to say that you saw me, The Ferret, the motherfucking FERRET, change the world. You are going to tell your grandchildren and the men you sleep with and the boys and girls and women and men and janitors and teachers and bartenders and firemen and policemen and actors and televisions and walls and rooms and the sky that you saw the world change in this McDonalds at this fucking moment. Seriously. Right now,” and he pulled the game piece and turned it over to reveal Broadway.
Silent and still for a few seconds longer than he should have stayed, The Ferret broke down and sobbed and sobbed like a little girl. He put his head on the table and his tears flowed and washed the loose game pieces on to the floor. The taller girl turn toward him and reached out her hand and touched his hair. “Does your hair always just stick up like this? It’s so weird. Ohmigawd.”