A bit of a preface…For those of you who know me personally, I love a tall tale. I’m not above modifying the facts of a situation for the sake of enhancing the narrative. I only do this though when I’m confident the exaggerations are harmless. This time though, I’m relaying the story just the way it went down. If you don’t trust me, ask Erin. When I tell this story in person, she’s the first one to jump in and say, “I’ll warn you upfront. He’s not exaggerating this time.” Enjoy.

Like many women, my wife Erin developed some food cravings while pregnant. Hers was pretty specific, red meat and potatoes. This is the story of the first time her craving manifested itself.

This story takes place around mid-summer of 2003. I come home from work. My lovely wife, well on her way into the first trimester pregnant with our first child, is resting quietly. She’s reclined on the couch. Her feet are propped up. She has a moist washcloth held to her forehead. Her first words to me are, “I don’t feel good. I feel like I’m going to be sick.”

Being the ever thoughtful and caring husband that I am, I walk right past her to the bathroom. I return to the living room with an empty waste basket in hand and set it alongside her. I say, “Sorry to hear that, but if you’re going to be sick, use the pail. We just had the hardwoods refinished. We’re trying to sell the place. So don’t make a mess.” I follow this up with, “I’m going to get changed and then start some water for pasta.”

“I don’t care. I’m gonna be sick,” she tells me.

I get out of my office clothes, wander to the kitchen and start to fill a pot of water. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Erin shoot bolt upright with the damp washcloth still stuck to her forehead. I’m thinking, “Oh boy, here we go. Please just get it all in the pail.” Instead of getting sick, she turns and looks at me and says, “I need a Whopper with Cheese, NOW!”

I say, “OK. I’ll get my keys, but the McDonald’s is closer. We can run down there and…”

She cuts me off with, “NO! It HAS to be a Whopper with Cheese.”

“Fine. I’ve got my keys. The Burger King is up the street. I’ll run up there and pick something up at the drive through. I’ll be right back.”

She looks at me with a predatory stare I’ve never seen before and says, “No. You don’t understand. You don’t have time!”

“Erin, it’s a mile and half. I’ll be back in 10 min…”

NO, NOW!

“All right. Come on, but bring the waste basket.”

We close up the house, get in our late 90’s sedan and head up Roxboro St to the Burger King. This particular restaurant sits in the extended parking lot of a local shopping center and sits lower than street level. So as you approach, you can look down and see the drive through window from the street. Erin’s watching and she sees a panel van sitting at the squawk box placing their order as I’m turning off the street into the parking lot. She looks at me and tells me, “Oh HELL no. If they’re still sitting there when you pull up, you need to push their ass out of the way.”

I answered, “Well, if I’d known that in advance, we would have brought the pickup truck.” Luckily, by the time we got there the van had advanced ahead and there was no need for vehicular violence.

So I place our order…a Whopper with cheese, no onions, fries and a Coke for her. Cheeseburger, fries and a Coke for me. The woman inside confirms our order and gives me the total and the standard, “Thank you, please drive around to the second window.”

Like most fast food restaurants, the outdoor ordering station is one side of the building and the pickup window is out of sight 90 degrees away on the next side of the building. As I’m putting the car in drive, I’m starting to panic. I’m wondering if the van that was ahead of us had adequate time to pick up their order and escape. If not, what’s this lunatic next to me going to do. It’s in this instant while I’m lost in my thoughts that Erin clutches my right bicep with one hand. She grabs my chin with the other and forcibly turns my head to face her. She looks at me with tears in her eyes and a voice trembling with fear and asks, “You DID order the Whopper with Cheese, didn’t you?”

My first thought is, “God, you’re psychotic! Of course I did! You heard me order it. You were sitting right there.” Fortunately, none of that comes out of my mouth. Then the next thoughts are, “Oh shit! Did I? Of course I did. No, wait…did I? Yes.” But now I’m worried. What if I didn’t? What if they screw up our order? I don’t have an answer for her so we just look at each other for a moment in silence and then roll forward to the window to test our luck.

At the window, the very pleasant Burger King employee reminds me what I owe her and begins to lean forward with our food. At this point I made a critical error. I put the needs of the restaurant ahead of the needs of my pregnant and highly crazed wife. Instead of reaching for the food, I reached for my wallet. This was more than Erin could bear.

With a snarl of aggravation she pins me back in my seat with her left arm. She lurches across the car from the passenger seat goes half way out the driver side window, snatches the bag with her right hand and retreats back down in her seat to eat.

I swear it was like one of those undersea videos where the happy little hapless fish swims along the coral reef and then some unseen tentacled beast lashes out from a crevice takes hold of the fish and snatches it back down into the darkness never to be seen again.

Before the woman in the window and I could recover our senses and complete our transaction Erin was through the Whopper. The most disturbing part about the way she ate was the moans of satisfaction. In the near 17 years Erin and I have been married, I’m not sure I’ve ever done anything for or to my wife to generate those kinds of sounds. All for a freakin’ cheeseburger.

By the time we were clear of the parking lot Erin was through fries and had resorted to licking the paper that the burger had been wrapped in clean!

I learned one lesson that day. If you have a pregnant wife in the house, don’t come home empty handed. From that day forward, I made sure that for the duration of the pregnancy I called home every night before leaving the office. The conversation always went something like, “Hi, Hon. How’s your day? Good? Great. Listen, I’m heading home. Do you need me to stop at Burger King for anything? No. No. It’s no trouble. Glad to. Ok. Yes. Whopper with cheese, no onions. I got it. I love you. See you soon.”

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