Big Chicken

24 Hour McDonalds 
The majority of the kitchen staff he worked with (and over) would have balked to see him here. There were so many trains of thought in the culinary industry. Some people thought that if you enjoyed any processed or pre-packaged or from a can or from a fast food joint--at all, ever!!--your palate was trash and you were trash and everyone around you should no longer trust your judgement with food. These were chefs who scoffed at the word 'spam' or screamed at the notion of pre-frozen french fries. Hand them something that didn't come straight from the farmers market and they'd treat you like you'd just tried to poison them or that they had no idea how to even begin with this peasant food--or both!

Then there was another train of thought. This one, Oscar felt like he was basically the conductor for this. All food could be good food. If you just treat it right and with respect and a little big of knowledge, spam was a great salty component to a great many concepts. Frozen french fries had the right amount of moisture removed during the packaging process to make them crisp up beautiful in hot oil. And McDonald's served a very strangely good buttermilk crispy chicken sandwich. Get a side of special sauce to drizzle on there with the mayo...

And Oscar felt pretty damn golden, just like the very hot and (maybe slightly too) salty fries he was also working his way steadily through. It was a happy place, free of caring, about not having to critique food too heavily. There was no outcry to send it back! when the lettuce was slightly too wilted for even his tastes. He just ate it, like a person, because this wasn't even the remotest bit of fine dining, and he was glad to just have lettuce on the plate at all. Well, not plate. Tray. With paper on it.

The place was pretty crowded, so when he spotted someone looking for a spot to sit--and here he was, at a booth that could have fit four all on his lonesome--he spoke up. "You can sit here with me for a moment, I'm about to leave."


If there was one big difference between America and London, it was the size of their fast food. A small here was a medium there and medium there was a large here. It was so strange what simple things could change in you just crossing one single border. It wasn't a bad thing however, especially in Natasha predicament, the more food the better.

Currently, she was sporting a twenty piece chicken nugget, two large fries, and one, yes only one, apple pie. The lady had looked at her strange when she had ordered it all, but luckily didn't say anything against it. Grabbing her food, it was quite clear that there was absolutely NO free seats available, which left her in quite a pickle. Huffing a bit under her breath, Natasha was about to resign herself to eating in her car when the most kindest god sent soul appeared.

A large smile etched on her face, she easily sat across from the man, placing her food down. "Thank you so much. I definitely did not want to eat in my car." She sighed, "Smell seems to stick around for weeks and only makes me more hungry." She didn't know if was her bear senses or if she just had some weird connection with the chicken nuggets this place sold.

"No problem!" he promised, mostly just glad that such a youthful lady hadn't simply thought he was being weird by offering. "Fried foods do have a certain... pervasiveness," he agreed, trying to imagine a week in which he craved trash food constantly. Not as terrible a fate as some he could dream of, but potentially inconvenient.

"May as well have gone through the drive-thru at that point anyway. It's basically a sardine can in here, but it has its charms."

He was, as ever perfectly capable of being chatty. Hopefully she wouldn't put up the defensive shields and make it clear she wasn't interested in company.

He was friendly, and Natasha completely and totally dug friendly, there were way too many stuck up people in the world.

You go man.

The drive thru would have been a better option indeed, but Natasha had been completely oblivious to just how packed it had been in here, totally enraptured in what she would be stuffing down her gullet in just mere minutes. Plus, the drive thru still posed the same problem of junk food smelling car for the week, and with the full moon literally like right there she really didn't want to deal with it.

"Yes, those quite sort of restaurants are quite boring. I much prefer the sounds of screaming kids and the disgruntled sighs of adults." She chuckled, holding out a hand towards the man. "I'm Natasha by the way." It felt weird to talk to someone without knowing their name, and if they ever expected to be anything but strangers, this would be the first step.

Jackpot for the social butterfly sort--not only did she want to chat, she also wanted to give her name. Meant he had a clear go-ahead to linger rather than to finish up his sandwich and leave her to it.

Reaching across the way to shake her hand as well, he found her grip small but strong and he smiled broadly. "Oscar. It's good to meet you, Natasha." Pulling his hand back, he'd go first for his soda again, clear the palate a bit before he would eventually take a fresh bite.

"Ideal time of day for this place is just before the lunch rush. No kids, all quiet old people having pleasant conversations over their chicken nuggets."

It didn't take her long to tear into the burger, ripping open the wrapper as she quickly made to inhale a bite, repressing the content groan her body dreamed of making. She didn't want to appear as a total pig however, and forced her body to slow down a bit, glancing back up towards Oscar as he spoke again.

"Yes, but I found the older ones are the type to just silently judge you." She correct with a slight waggle of her finger. She couldn't contain the amount of ladies who had told her to dress more 'appropriately' on both her hands. Who were they even to say she needed to cover up more! Sorry Barb, not everyone likes skirts all the way to their ankles. ugh.

"So from the sound of it, you come here often?"

Oooh, boy, but she was not wrong about the judgemental older folks. It was just that boomer generation in his experience. Not that his own generation was often much better, but he liked to think he was above the age gap nonsense! This fine young lady seemed just perfectly nice and he'd be hard pressed to think otherwise.

Her question made him laugh as he played with a bit of discarded lettuce on his wrapper. "Well, I try not to go out too often for food. Let alone fast food. But when it comes to fast food, no one does it better than here."

That was his very honest opinion.

Natasha ate out about 90% of the time, much too lazy to actually stay at home and cook, so props were instantly given to this guy. As far as the best fast food, Natasha had to instantly agree, no place on the planet has as good of chicken nuggets as this place... Okay, maybe Wendys, but the rest of their food was bonkers, so Mcdonalds had to take the prize.

"You like cooking then?"

"Yeah! I mean, I hope I enjoy it. I actually work in the food industry, so it would be kind of a rough life if I didn't." He laughed lightly at himself. "I also try not to get overly fancy at home, for the same reason. You'd be surprised at how often I eat ramen." Slightly jazzed up, of course, with fresher ingredients or maybe an egg or something. But ramen all the same!

Ah, so he worked with food? Natasha would literally die if she had a job like that, and not in a good way. The bear would go absolutely insane, and Natasha would 100% gain a ton of weight, even with her Were metabolism. She would shove another chicken nugget in her mouth at this thought with a slight shake of her head, smiling at the ramen comment.

"So what exactly do you do?" She had no clue how the whole kitchen scene worked other than her guilty pleasure of Hells Kitchen. "You like Gordon Ramsey?"

The immediate jump to Gordon Ramsay made him laugh again, and he shook his head. "If anything, I'm just like one of his abused sous-chefs." As all sous-chefs were in his experience, no shade on Chef Ramsay! "I run the kitchen at a restaurant down in Magic Hollow most nights." And some afternoons, when he didn't care for working after dark and could swing it.

Dang it, she didn't have a Gordon on her hands, but perhaps that was a good thing. She was quite sure what a sous chef was, but if it was working with fancy food all day, then it was a cool enough job for her.

At the mention of Magic Hollow, Natasha perked up, straightening up in her chair with wide eyes. "What restaurant?" She asked instantly. "I live over there, so I might of visited at some time." It was such a small world, but then again, it wasn't as if Ravenswood was even that far from Magic Hollow... Just let her be impressed okay!

Oooh, a local. "The Plum Starling?" he asked, even though it was an answer, wondering if she'd been or even heard of it. It was on the smaller side, like a bistro, though they declined to call themselves that. They'd attracted hipster types for a long time, but they also had loyal regulars. All in all, it was how he liked it--plenty busy without forcing them to find a bigger space.

The Plum Starling? Natasha had definitely passed by it a few times, but not once had she actually entered the establishment, not because it looked janky or anything. She just tended to crave fast food over decent quality. Blame Mary, she liked things to be quick. "I haven't been there yet, but you can bet your butt I'll come by to say hi now."

"Ooh, a steep bet, my butt is very important to me," he said, and laughed. "If you do, ask for me and I can slip you a few extras." Perks of running the kitchen meant he controlled what came out of the kitchen under the radar if he wanted. He didn't do it often, and if history was anything to go by she might not actually ever come in, but it was still a very friendly, sincere offer.

"It's a nice place. I like it, anyway. Though I suppose that might go without saying."

"A man after my heart." She laughed, taking a sip of her soda before continuing. "You might want to be careful with that though, I'll have you know once you feed me. You can never get rid of me." Like the stray cat that you never wanted, but didn't quite have the heart to stop feeding and so you just put up with them until the day you died.

Natasha would move on to stuffing more of the chicken nuggets in her mouth, as her mind wandered to these stupid thoughts.

"As the proud owner of two begging pups, it's not exactly something new to me," he laughed, not really meaning to compare her to a dog, but well... he liked dogs, so it was a compliment!

He let her eat for a moment, his own meal pretty much finished up, but finding himself not quite so much in a hurry to vacate his seat. Ironic, considering he had started this whole thing by being conscious of the fact that everything was occupied and people needed seats.

"If you had to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?"

There was a time that Natasha would have begged to see said pups, but given her current circumstance, she knew that her fondness for the puppies would not be reciprocated. The biggest disadvantage of being a Were she supposed. Grinning, Natasha would take a few more quick bites of her burger and nuggets before the man would speak once more, asking possibly the hardest question ever.

Natasha had absolutely NO CLUE as to what food would hold her off for life.

Steak maybe? No.

Ribs? Nah.

"I guess if I had to choose one thing, it would be strawberries." She decided with a nod. "I could probably eat those things until I turn pink." She could really go for some now honestly. "What about you?"

It was an unexpected answer and he loved it!

Visibly lighting up, he gestured in the space between them as is emphasis would convince her, "We make an absolutely mad strawberry and lime cream puff in house that you need to come try now. You can't live your life without it now that you've revealed your greatest weakness."

But man, then she turned it back on him and he thought about it, just to be sure, before he declared, "Crispy duck. A little hoisin and and some scallions and I would eat that literally every day for the rest of my life."

Strawberry and lime cream puffs sounded fucking amazing right about now, and the way Oscar was hyping them up... She could already feel her mouth watering, a fry doing little to subdue this new craving. "Now I'm really going to have to visit." She groaned, already calculating when she would be able to swing by and visit.

Hopefully soon.

Especially since Oscars answer was a million times better than hers, and once again, the way he described it had her drooling for something more than just chicken nuggets! "You are killing me with this. You make food sound freaking amazing." Maybe that was the mark of a chef.

He rolled through another laugh. "Literally my job, sometimes," he reminded her. "But it helps when what I'm talking about is just inherently good, you know? If you want to give me a real challenge I guess I could talk up spam or something."

Which was also good food, don't @ him.

Spam. Natasha had never actually tried it before, only heard of others disgust for it, and decided that she never wanted to experience whatever it was they tried. She would just take their word for it and focus on something that was quite clearly delicious. Plus, meat from a can did not sound appetizing in the least to her.

"You think you could make anchovies sound good?' She highly doubted it, but a challenge needed to be issued.

"Oh, Natasha, the fact that you think anchovies need to be talked up means you haven't lived!"

Really, truly, they were such versatile little beasts!

"You find a good brand, one recommended by people who know what they're talking about, but then you toast a little baguette, roast some red peppers and some garlic, put a little spread on top--a little sherry vinegar and some fresh thyme to cut the richness, and then you just put the little anchovies on top and I promise you... you won't regret a second of it."

Natashas eyes would narrow just a bit in suspicion at this, unsure if she can really trust his words when she had just challenged him to surely an impossible task. Still, she couldn't be quite sure, and didn't that itself make him a winner? "I might just have to take your word on it" She finally answered after a long pause.

"Their eyes just sorta creep me out." Really and truly. she didn't think this man could really ever get her to eat something that stared back.

Goodness she was a funny one.

"Take the heads off, easy as that," he told her with a smile. "Don't forget your chicken nuggets had eyes once." And if that put her off her food, he would be both very sorry and continually astounded at how far removed from the food chain some people truly were.

Listen, she had all but accepted the fact that all the food she ate came from some sort of being with eyes, heart and soul, but she had atleast never had actually had to see them in there natural state before eating them. She literally could NOT handle being able to see where her food had originated, some sort of guilt passing through her whenever she thought of good old Betsy as she ate a burger.

"Yes but, someone else typically does the whole head chopping and skinning. I prefer my food to look like." She would hold up a chicken nugget, waving it. "Food, processed and as none animal like as possible."

"Shame," he sighed, and he really meant it. The removal from the reality of food was a problem--but one that was basically impossible to combat short of demanding everyone do their own farming. It wasn't so much that he felt like everyone should be bleeding cattle themselves, or even watching it, but at least having that in mind while you ate their rib cage was respectful...

But well, he wasn't here to start a debate on the ethics of animal use or wherever this may have gone.

"I think it'd be nice to look an animal in the eye and thank it for its sacrifice on occasion, at least." All with a smile and a shrug--she didn't have to agree.

Well, that was noble in its own way, however that would not change Natashas mind on how she liked her food. She felt she respected animals enough just by being them, and even if she were to go to a farm or something to see what she ate, the bear within her would only freak them out further. It was definitely better that she stayed on the oblivious side of things.

"You're different." She stated with a slight shake of her head. "But I think that's something I rather like about you." She had never met someone with such a mind about food, and she found that it was rather enlightening. "Next time I go to the market." God knew when that would be. "I will buy anchovies and try it just in the way you said."

Was he different? He supposed... maybe. But then again he was fair certain everyone had their quirks. Hardly anything to be self-conscious over. Natasha was sweet about it, anyway, and he had no regrets with having asked her to sit with him.

Her next decision surprised him and he threw his head back in a friendly laugh. "I sure hope you do. And if you hate it, you can march into my place of work and demand answers. Would make for a very interesting encounter."

Sort of hoping she would show up, if only so he could get an update on her food adventures, he nonetheless knew it was time to get going. Reaching for his wrappers, he crumpled up what he could and put everything on his tray. Slowly, as an indication he was getting ready but not about to rush out of the conversation if she had anything to add.

Oh Oscar, don't test her, because now she would definitely do that if the whole anchovy thing ended up being a flop. Watching as he crumbled his wrapper, Natasha would feel a bit sad that the encounter was coming to an end, but would not try and stop him. Smiling up towards the now standing man, she would raise a hand in a wave.

"It was super great to meet you Oscar. I'll see you at the restaurant next time."

"It was lovely, Natasha, truly, you are one of a kind!" And he would wave to her in return, regretful that hands full of trash were not really made for handshakes or what-have-you. "I will see you later."

And sincerely, he hoped that was true.

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