Box Cutters
KJ Hannah Greenberg


In the women’s locker room, MaryBeth opened up the newspaper. A review of Lennon’s Double Fantasy album took up two column inches. That valuable space, instead, should have been devoted to Hinckley’s attempted assassination of Reagan, or, to the actualized murder of Sadat. Even references to the killing of Liberia’s president would have been preferable. 

Sighing, she finished buttoning her uniform. Minimum wage beat welfare, but her manager’s unrelenting striving for perfection had transformed her burger flipping and restocking responsibilities into serial tortures. Believers knew that ketchup did not have to be spurted in measured amounts and that it was okay to stack heavy pots over plastic cups. 

Humming “O Dolci Mani” from Puccini’s Tosca, the worker focused on warm fuzzies. She weighed last year’s: Mt. Saint Helen eruption, Flight 1008 crash, and Kwangju Massacre. This year, already, Israel had bombed an Iraqi reactor and El Mozote had taken place in El Salvador. 

Still humming, MaryBeth checked the assignment board. First, she was tasked to drop the right amounts of dehydrated frozen potato strips into hot oil. Thereafter, however, she’d get to open all of the morning’s deliveries. That second duty made her smile.

She was so good with knives that her feminist mom had pressured her to become a plastic surgeon. Mom had been silenced by Dad’s Buck 102 USA Fixed Blade. Dad, himself, had died from a Bowie. Her company-provided folding utility knife might yet be of use concerning her manager.


First published: May 2018
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