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by West Ryder

Been a long day, if you consider leaning back in my chain, chain-smoking menthols and tossing back stiff ones. I wish I was drinking to forget instead of being just bored.

West Ryder's my name. I'm a private dick. And a freelance restaurant and beverage sniffer in my spare time. Hey, ya gotta pay the bills. So here I am doing my best Humphrey Bogart impression, waiting for some lonely long-legged dish to come sauntering into my life with a bag of money, wanting me to unravel a mystery so devious ol Phil Marlowe would be envious. Or a local magazine looking for who sells the best kung pao chicken. Whichever comes first.

As lady luck would have it, it wasn't Lauren Bacall. Lady Luck has always been kind of a bitch to me. It was the local Burger King GM. He had his crown all twisted cause of the new adult sandwich at his arch-rival, the Arch Deluxe. I was to find out if the Arch was really deluxe.

Well, I wasn't doing anything and I needed to pay my cable bill. Hockey season had started and I need ESPN. So I was off.

This burger has been marketed to be "the" adult burger. Kids would avoid this like a slug avoids cheap airfares to Salt Lake City. The marketing had really built my expectations up. An adult burger was the one my mom made: big, nasty and on wonder bread. So Mickey Ds had a lot to live up to.

I made my way to my client's arch nemisis to taste the arch deluxe under the golden arches. Fumbling for my wallet, I figured I'd need to prove I was an adult before purchase, I mosied into the store. Walking to the front counter and speaking in my most mature voice I said "I am an ADULT. Feed me ADULT food!" and pointed at the number two. I got a "Mister, for $5.50 an hour I don't need to deal with smartasses like you," look. I also got my burger.

Packaging was nice. Aroma - good. Sesame seeds - sesame seedee. Yup, this was the suspect. Looked pretty basic. Tomato, Lettuce, Cheese. The funky bacon and special sauce caught my attention. This could be good. Bad for my heart, but real tasty. I jumped in.

Maybe it was the hangover. Maybe I was just hungry. Maybe the cigs and macaroni and cheese and pistachio casseroles I throw together have dulled my taste buds. But this thing was damned good. Did I feel older? Was I more mature and now ready to watch Dole and Clinton debate health care? Nope, but I wasn't hungry anymore. Good enough.

So I had to go back to my client and tell him the bad news. He had problems. A whopper of a problem. He needed to go back and do some serious crisis management and change his product before I visited his establishment.

So he knocked the price down to $.99 and gave away free Mighty Duck Three cups. You can't beat that deal.

Signing off from sunny Sommerville.

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