Lucy hummed to herself as she arranged the burger supplies on the table. She placed the bowls of sliced tomato and hand ripped lettuce. She spooned some homemade ketchup into a ramekin. Alan entered the kitchen and inhaled loudly, ‘That smells fantastic. Burgers?”
“Yeah! I thought you might like something…more conventional.”
“That’s really nice, sweetie. Not that I didn’t appreciate those other dinners.”
“I could tell you weren’t into the strawberry soup.”
“It’s not that I wasn’t into it as much as it wasn’t soup.”
“It was soup.”
“It was a smoothie in a bowl.”
“It was strawberry soup.”
“Anyway. I really appreciate this.” He kissed her on the temple and sat at the table. Lucy dressed the bun with a piece of lettuce and tomato. She turned the heat off the stove and placed the sizzling beef patties onto buns.
“Here you go,” she announced, “Topless burgers!” She placed the plate before Alan. He stared at it, a burger without a crown.
“What’s a topless burger?”
“Right there. It’s a burger, topless.” Lucy sat across from him with her plate. She cut into the burger with a fork and knife.
“Where’s the top?”
“This is so much healthier for you. Less gluten, fewer carbs, fewer calories. Do you want a knife and fork?”
Alan considered this for a moment and decided he was taking too long. Clearly he would eat it with a knife and fork.
“Yes. Yes, I would.” Lucy handed him some cutlery. He cut a slice out of his burger and put it in his mouth. It was good, juicy, a little red in the middle.
“What’s wrong?” asked Lucy.
“Nothing. Good burger.”
“You’re not quiet when you eat. Every time you eat a burger you talk about how much you love the burger while you eat it. Is there something wrong it?”
“No, I love it.” He cut another slice and chewed. He looked at her and smiled.
“Is the problem that it’s topless?”
“It’s good for you.”
“I’m sure it is. But how am I supposed to eat it?”
“With a knife and fork.”
“It’s good for you.”
“Just go with it.”
“Stop complaining. Try something new.”
“I didn’t say anything! I was eating my topless burger!”
“I’m going to eat it, alright. I’m eating it.” He cut another slice of his burger.
“Are you a prude?
“What the hell?”
“Because a topless burger is flirtatious. It’s sexy. We could have had a great conversation about public nudity and then maybe I would take my shirt off and we would eat dinner naked and then we’d have sex. But if you’re not into that then let’s turn a blind eye to burger repression. Let’s shackle our burgers with the patriarchy of buns!”
They sat quietly, deciding who would speak first. It was Alan. “You know…I…I’m into all of that stuff. The…uh…burger patriarchy thing was a bit weird…but the other stuff…I’m all for.”
Lucy watched him watch her. “Are you going to put a top on your burger?”
“No. I’m not. I would feel terribly self conscious about it.”
“Okay. It’s good for you.”
“Yup. I’m eating it.”
“Tell me you like it when you eat it.”
“It’s fucking amazing.”
“It’s a really good burger.”