Winnebago, IL Stoplight

By Arja Kumar

At 12:01 midnight the three horses were still out
feeding on the cold grass
as if they never felt the almost winter.

The McDonald’s next to the little house with the little shed
was empty
with just a sleepy teenage boy employee
taking an imaginary smoke break through the drive through window,
bare elbows on the shelf, huff then a sigh at the little sliver of moon. A sort of
wolf howl of boredom.
He wished there were chicks to talk to,
but they were all out at some old barn,
dancing and drinking just like they always did
spinnin’ some new yarn
about the meaning behind their last text
or which cowboy they wanted to talk to next.

These were Fry Boy’s Fridays.
Lone, cold, and fluorescent.
The imaginary middle-aged boss
was watching Bladerunner in his back-corner office
and ate some frozen pot pie and beer for his dinner.
He was almost naked except for
the confetti dot boxers.

If nobody ever came out here,
why did they build this place?

Some truckers would stop by the
Road Ranger next to the McDonald’s for coffee, nachos,
one of those rotating hot dogs that roasted for days.
They would sit inside of their trucks, parked in front of the McDonalds,
eating their late night feed
like the horses,
listening to that nighttime rock and roll or country.
Nothing was better than trucker music,
and sometimes Fry Boy wished he were one of them.

This was not some eighties movie where Fry Boy would
drive to work right after school,
the sun setting pretty and all, him working
and then some hooligans and chicks coming up to the Mickey D’s,
dragging him to a party.
It was not,
as much as he wished it was.

He was alone and
it was boring but ok.
He had a flip phone and no phone numbers.


Arja Kumar is a human, writer, and nineteen-year-old college student from Illinois. Her work has appeared in literary magazines including KAIROS, Sweet Tree Review, Literary Orphans, Blink-Ink, and Bop Dead City. When she is not writing, she likes to cook, paint, and stargaze.


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