Artwork for Dennis Mahagin's poem

Tripping w/Mickey Drive-Thru
Dennis Mahagin

Yes, I’m ready to order now … I guess

I’d like an Egg White Delight.

Can you pour some tartar sauce on the side?

At the drive-thru, buddy, nobody

gets to see you.

Yes … And a medium coffee that’s not so hot.

I don’t mean not so hot, like, as in not
good. I mean, your coffee is okay …

It’s just too hot.

I can’t stand my own kitchen.

Can you dump some ice cubes in there? In the coffee, I mean not
the kitchen … obviously not the kitchen … shit, are we getting off

on the wrong— … What?

No, I don’t require assistance.

Am I gonna get an Egg White Delight in this life?

Yes, I’m aware …

Where the second window

goes … Oh ho ho …


I don’t wanna talk to your manager.

Freakin’ voice I’ll never see … I was in the infantry.

Hue city … Khe San … nothing’s fair
… not

that it matters. Second window, yeah, yeah, yeah, let’s move on …

Look, on second thought … I hate to change … but

can you give me a large compressed paper cup of your tartar sauce?

Maybe shove a straw in there? About 32 ounces of that shit.

Candy striped, I love it … yes

what’s that?

Sure, I hear the car horns behind me son but they’re sort of stuck …

They’re out of luck …

At the drive-thru, nobody sees you …

Fuckin genius …

Voice … Disembodied … Second window, yeah, yeah

yeah, like you said. It’s empty, it’s empty all of it, empty,


empty …

Never see me around here again.

I mean hear.

Hear me, hear ye …

Here, I mean …


Just don’t forget to pull out … pull out … pull out, pull out the … pull the motherfucking

Canadian bacon

out of my Egg White Delight!

Can you shove a couple hash browns in there? Oh, I know this don’t feel right …

Hell, even though I’m wasting

away … precious … You still there?

Don’t I know it.

Without your tartar sauce, it all turns to anger … pretty quick …

It’s not funny, son, not a bit

most ricky tick, most ricky tick …

tell you what, buddy

is anybody …

Like to jam down, ’fore I pay, ram my Audi broadside

into that old yellow dumpster yonder. Put a device up

my ass, it’s too early in the morning …

Jesus Christ, MacGyver!

That’s right, ignore me … Ignore me, ignore me now … I want you to.

I served my country in Vietnam.

I took ears … And worse, much worse shit … the ears are only what I can admit.

Everybody took it…

Don’t mean nothing. Sold a brown bag to a pawn shop in Dothan, Alabama,

Metairie, Louisiana …

Look, the point … I took the hell out of booby traps …

For you … copy that?

I’m gone stick this twenty bill to your window here, with some spit.

And wait … still

over there

by the picnic table …

Fucking A Jackson, chill, chill, I don’t care if I starve. Worse ways to go, believe it …

Oh, roger, don’t make me …

Fooling yourself, if you think you’re standing up.

I’ll be over by the picnic table … Square things with you, me …

Take your time, ’cause your coffee is hot, like my cheeks get, somebody pushes my—

I served my country!

Southeast Asia.

Heard of it?

You pour that shit on purpose … go ahead …


And tartar sauce, tartar sauce, tartar sauce, tartar sauce, tartar sauce, please don’t—

Hate my own kitchen, and pissed off, at time that’s passed, and passing …

Look, I’m only fucking with you: every breath is gravy. And your tartar is unique.

It’s kill, I love it. I love all this shit.

Semper Fi, oh Mac Daddy, had a farm.

Eeeee yai …

Could you fill up a whole brown bag full of that chunky flesh-colored elixir? Fucking sweet tartar sauce, it’s grace before there was any, Lord be with thee, don’t forget. Don’t make me come in, smoking barrel, fill up with regret.

I be over by the picnic table.

Hey now … are those sirens? … in the near distance … singing for me?

Fucking bangers and mash


Tomorrow, I guess … we’ll see … Sun, dying still of the evening, shell

of a man: it’s the last, the last you ever hear

from me.

believe that shit

and you will.

Dennis Mahagin’s Comments

Dear Frigg:

Thanks a bunch, for letting me contribute to your fall/winter Shame Issue!

Though as I write, it’s midsummer here, in southwestern Montana.

Is it a shame, when an editor of a magazine runs his own work in said magazine?

Who knows, Frigg?

What’s in a shame?

I think of a line from the famous Philip Larkin poem, “This Be the Verse”:

They fuck you up, your mum and dad …

Of course they do. They got no choice. Because they were equally fucked up, in their turn.

I think Phil L. pretty well summed it all up, there.

Herein goes the asterisk:


Enough already, of that fucking shame.

In addition to publishing poems in a magazine I help edit—I’m playing music again, Frigg!

I’m the first-chair bassist in the Cutler Bros (Best Little Theater in Montana) production of Jesus Christ Superstar. It took me a month and a half to chop the damnable rust off my half-assed musicality, get my all-important fingertip calluses back. And learn the wonderful score by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lyrics by Tim Rice.

Frigg, we’ve played two shows; they’ve gone over like colorful, fantastical kites.

I’m having quite a shitload of fun. Making memories here, in a Montana midsummer.

Fun is, after all, fundamentally antithetical, to shame.

Shame runs off Music’s back. Shame is tone deaf, no rhythm, the behemoth in Mice and Men, stomping on unfortunate family pets underfoot (Frankenstein’s noncontrapuntal corrosive anti-bebop)—and yet the thing about Music is simply this: One can hit a bum note, or two, even a whole run of ’em. But one bears down, sensing the transfiguration (maybe an apotheosis?) hearing it, right around the corner. The next measure, or the one after the one after that …

I love you, Frigg—unto the abyss.

And beyond.

Why is the editor with no Home for his Pome

like a mattress salesman on a comfortable

Bed o’ Nails?

Why, frog in lukewarm water, Frigg!

Huckleberry, we shall discuss.

There is time, still.

Call me.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 48 | The Shame Issue | Spring/Summer 2016