Drive Thru

Drive Thru

A fictional tale inspired by a photo I had taken of a burned McDonalds I had made about ten years ago. 


File Number: 43423423_29_1

Recording Number 203322222_342_343_pm mcdonalds_arson

TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW OF Doctor Joseph Sipnassy with Detective Steve Henry:

Whereupon, the following proceedings were had in Bartlesville Police Department on October 14, 2009, and were transcribed.

Detective Henry: Doctor. You drove 1200 miles south so that you could burn down a McDonald’s. Is that correct?

Joseph Sipnassy: Yes.

DH: And you have never been arrested? Never been in trouble with the law? Not even a speeding ticket. You’re a surgeon at the Mayo clinic? Why?

JP: I had no choice.

DH: Of course, you did.

JP: I did not. I had a damn drive-thru speaker patched into my brain at 130 decimals. Every order at that damn McDonalds replayed in my head. Every damn word – Quarter Pounder, Big Mag, Sundae, Large Coke. Every. Single. Order. What would you have done?

DH: You’re a surgeon. You could have bought the place.

JP: Do you know what a McDonald’s franchise costs? The lady had no interest in selling. I hate McDonald’s. I teach about the dangers of fast food. I see it on my operating table.

DH: There we go. Motive. Hate.

(Noting: accused is shaking his head ‘no’)

DH: I would have got some professional help. Pills. Drugs. 

JP: You think I didn’t try that. I work with the best. Nobody believed me. They’re not trained to believe the impossible. And pills did nothing but make it worse.

DH: I believe you only because what you did was so random what else can I think? But come on there’s gotta be a scientific explanation? Wifi? Radio wave?

JP: No. There is nothing to send radio waves from a Carolina speaker to my brain.

DH:  Prank?

JP: Who is pranking me? God?

DH: Okay? So let’s figure this out. 

JP: I confessed already.   

DH: But I’m curious. When did this start?

JP: Six months ago. April.

DH: How did you figure out which speaker tapped into your head? Which McDonald’s 

JP: Narrowed it down using what I knew. It was open 24 hours, and the people talked funny.

DH: We talk funny? Ever seen Fargo Doc? Okay, so you narrowed it down to one location. The one on Daniels Boulevard. Then what?

JP: I went inside. Guess you’d call it casing the joint. I had coffee and watched them. And what the people working the window said replayed in my head in real-time. But louder. I tried to figure it out. I went out and looked at the equipment at the drive-thru.

DH: Looked? They got video of someone taking a sledgehammer to their equipment.  

JP: Yeah, that was me. Thought I’d get away with it and the whole mess would be over. 

DH: You did. Why didn’t you go home?

JP: I tried. They fixed the equipment the next day. Replaced the whole damn board with new machines. I was halfway home, a day’s drive when I heard it. Test. Test. Test. You’re good to go. Then the ordering started back up again. 

DH: And you turned the car around?

JP: I did. I swear the voices were louder. Clearer. They weren’t telling me what to do. They didn’t ask me to burn the place down. It was just a list of shitty, fatty food over and over and over. Please drive around. Please drive around. It was maddening. I returned to the location at three the morning with a much darker mindset. Inside, there was one customer. Three employees. I went in with twenty gallons of gasoline. I told them to get the hell out and run as far away as possible. I dumped out all their fry oil. I dumped all the gasoline. The place burned fast. So fast, I almost didn’t make it out.

DH: When I pulled up, you were dancing the jig in the middle of the road.

JP: I was. The silence was music to my ears.  

DH: You know they’ll rebuild. They probably already have crews working. You can’t stop McDonald’s.

JP: It won’t be tomorrow. It won’t be next week. I’ll take a month of silence. Maybe the drive-thru will come back to my head at all. But no matter what, I’ll have one month without McDonald’s ruining my life.

Case note:  Moments after this recording, Dr. Sipnassy suffered a life-threatening heart attack outside the interrogation room.  It occured upon seeing a representative of the Ronald McDonald House on hand to pick up a donation check and take photos with officers.  The reprentative dressed as the clown, Ronald McDonald, will not be charged.



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