“Big Boy” by Wendy Rainey (FICTION)


There was a time when the Big Boy Combo, consisting of the original double-decker cheeseburger, fries, side salad, and coke, was the biggest treat in the world for me. After the meal my parents would wait while I ran to the fiberglass statue out front. I climbed up onto the platform and hoisted myself up by grabbing one of Big Boy’s chubby arms. I hung off of his neck, pinched his rosy cheeks, patted his roly-poly belly, and pretended to pick his nose. It was a ritual that went along with the burger, the hot fudge cake, and the time I spent with my parents.

The other day I noticed this statuette in a store window and I thought about the times my parents took me to Bob’s Big Boy. I thought about how excited I’d get when they’d say, “Get in the car, honey. We’re going to Bob’s!” It was as if all of the love I had yearned for from them would finally manifest at Bob’s Big Boy because they would both be there for me. And we would be together and happy like that forever at Bob’s.

So, after they divorced I never went to Bob’s again. And when I saw this smiling little statue last week, I thought, Bob, you soft, coddled, overfed, ball-less wonder. You empty-eyed, buttoned-nosed bastard. I hate those red and white checkered overalls that make you look like an inbred backwoods hillbilly. I wish the worst kind of Ned Beatty fate for you in the most remote corner of the Ozarks where no one will ever hear your high-pitched squeals. You are a liar, Bob. You are a phony and a liar, and I do not forgive you.


Wendy Rainey’s works have appeared in Chiron Review, Carnival Literary Magazine, and many other journals. She has read her work at Hotel Café in Hollywood, Grand Performances in Los Angeles, Mount San Antonio College Literary Festival, and San Gabriel Valley Literary Festival. She is the founding poetry editor of Cultural Weekly, one of three poetry editors on Chiron Review, and is a four time Pushcart Prize nominee.