It was my job to throw out the lard. Or whatever the fuck it was– 100% healthful canola oil or some shit– it was this huge tall bin of white, semi-congealed fat from the fryers with chunks of Filet o’ Fish and floor-dropped hamburger patties that had been stewing at just above room temperature for days. They had a special dumpster for it, this big black steel trap with a heavy lid that opened onto a thick grate, and inside was just months and months worth of this rancid meat fat. The black box would heat up in the sun during the day and all the fat would melt into soupy grease, then it would cool by night and recongeal into a thick gelatinous mass. It smelled like a corpse and there were clouds of flies.
One time I found a dead skunk in there. Someone had left the lid open and the creature had somehow wormed through the four-inch holes in the grate-top, driven mad by the smell of meat. It had dropped down into the grease, which must have been liquid at that point, and I guess it couldn’t get a grip on the slippery walls and probably exhausted itself trying to stay afloat. By the time I found it the grease had recongealed and it was like Han Solo encased in carbonite– its muzzle frozen in a snarl of fear and pain and its little claw forever reaching out, futilely, for the steel bars that were just out of reach.
It was a message– a symbol of some kind. God was trying to tell me something about the self-destructive nature of my dreams. But I couldn’t wrap my mind around it; I was beat, and I had to go mop down the kitchen and get back to making Quarter Pounders. So I dumped my bucket of warm fat over its face and went back inside.