Tom Cruise gets on his seventy-eighth motorcycle and wishes he chose a more convincing religion. Tom Cruise clears the gap between two nondescript buildings in an “enemy” country, and when the saddle seat juts into his taint he curses whoever will listen for making him So God Damn Immortal. Everything looks a little orange and dusty because there’s a filter on the clip. Tom Cruise swaggers out of an F-18 fighter jet and wipes the nonexistent dust from his eyes so he can see his horrible life clearly. Tom Cruise wears sunglasses so you don’t know that his eyes are bloodshot from arguing with the devil in his trailer.
Jimmy Buffett puts on Another Fucking Hawaiian Shirt and wishes he could never say the word cheeseburger again. Jimmy Buffett goes behind the bar at Margaritaville Times Square and drinks until his ears are too stuffy to hear a steel drum. The Statue of Liberty fists her mighty margarita for eternity and her eyes glow red, and Jimmy cowers and apologizes and remembers that there are people who are remembered for discovering gravity, Penicillin, the quenelle technique, and Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major. Jimmy Buffett is chilled by the sudden realization that seventy-five percent of his merchandise is plastic, and he’s not going anywhere “when the volcano blows.” Lady Liberty shows him the wasteland and there is a commemorative Croc bubbling out of the lava. Jimmy Buffett realizes you would never make a biopic of Jimmy Buffett called Pencil Thin Mustache staring Taron Egerton because alcohol isn’t a sufficiently interesting drug, and CPAs won’t fuck you in the greenroom.
Guy Fieri gets behind the wheel of his red 1967 Camero and doesn’t even touch the pedals, because he’s cruising through America fueled by camera trickery and the rusted hook of a tow truck. Guy Fieri sees the face of God in a grease-soaked fusion dish hawked out of a sputtering van and doesn’t even blink because it’s not the first time this week. The white tips of his hair talk to him in his sleep, whisper and jeer and taunt that it didn’t have to be this way. Guy Fieri wonders if Ricola would work on his vocal fry. Guy Fieri hears how many times “die” is Matryoshka-nested in the syllables of “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.” Guy Fieri looks at the back of a greasy spoon and sees the jeering smirk of Emeril Lagasse (he flips it and it’s Tony Bourdain). Guy Fieri hosts his game show in a re-vamped Safeway and hears the rattling chains of ghosts in the canned goods aisle.
When they all meet at the support group in Las Vegas their eyes are red and sagging. They collapse into the peeling paint on their folding chairs and introduce themselves. The demons scratch their cat claw nails at the heavy church basement door, and they wonder if anyone is listening.
Claire Fennell is a senior in NYU’s Creative Writing Program who firmly believes that Big Macs are the best fast-food burger. Claire’s work is featured or forthcoming in Maudlin House, WAS Quarterly, BULLSHIT, and Collision Magazine, among others. She lives in Brooklyn Heights.