Thirty-day challenges are tough! Coming up with something new every day is both exciting and difficult. I’m learning that it’s important to just write it all down, without thinking about the outcome. To just dive in and get it done. I guess that’s why it’s called a “challenge.” I’m a bit behind, but here’s my response to Day 17.

Write a short scenario set in the kitchen of a fast-food restaurant.


“I’ve got to get out of here,” he thought as he flipped a row of burgers.

“I earned an engineering degree in my country. I speak four languages. But here I am in this greasy kitchen taking orders from a 20-year-old. I deserve better than this. My family deserves better than this.”

He stopped and took a deep breath. Inhaling the smells of beef, cooking grease, and bleach. Over the years, he learned to separate his mind from his body at the restaurant. While grilling meat, he recited French poetry in his mind. While mopping sticky floor tiles, he recalled complex calculus problems. He was physically present, but mentally hanging on to the memory of life before coming to Burger Barn. He was a respected scholar, engineer, and family man, not an anonymous kitchen employee. He did not want to forget that. The 20-year-old manager didn’t even have the decency to print the name his mother gave him on his nametag. Said it was too hard to pronounce. So every day, for three years, he came to work as “Michael.”

“Michael” wiped the sweat from his brow and glanced around the kitchen. Some of his colleagues had come from similar experiences. “Ann,” at the register, was a business owner in her country. “Joey,” on fries, had worked as a professor. He noticed that everyone worked diligently, but quickly recognized that glossy look in their eyes.

“They must be dreaming of a better future too,” he thought.


Gary wrote a great story over at You should check it out.