I need a drink. Cases like these, they make you take a long, hard look into your soul, and you don’t always like what you find. Old keys, used gum, a hotel lotion bottle that exploded in there and left everything all sticky. A soul can get dirty real fast in this messed up, intoxicating city.
I go to the nearest bar I can find and take a seat. It’s the kind of place with wood paneling that smells like mahogany and a row of pretty little liquor bottles lined up on the shelf, each one more broken than the next. The kinda place with shattered glass all over the floor and no doors or windows and big signs plastered to the soggy walls that say, “Quarantined: Virus Present.” The kinda place where the barkeep will let you drink on credit so long as he likes the look of your face and he isn’t dead. Though this one seems to have died weeks ago.
“I’ll take a milkshake,” I tell him. His impassive face gives away nothing. Probably to tell me that he’s the kind of man who can keep a secret, but also because of the rigor mortis.
“Because let me tell you,” I continue, “I’ve had a helluva week. I can see you have, too.”
It all started seven days earlier. I was sitting in my office working on a big case, power ranking fast food milkshakes, when my secretary interrupted me. She’s this dame with soulful, brown eyes and a sweet, boyish face. She’s got broad shoulders for days, wear slacks, and always says spunky, no-nonsense things like, “Can you stop calling me toots? It makes me uncomfortable,” and “I’m not a woman. I’m a man. Come on, you know that. My name is Jake,” and “Seriously, I am a biological male. I identify as male. Jesus, it’s 2018. Just because I’m your receptionist doesn’t mean…”
Ha! That’s Jake for you: A whole lotta sass mixed with moxie. Women! Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.
As I was taking a sip of my milkshake, shaken not stirred, cold and vanilla (like I like my sex!), Jake opened the door. And in her deep, sultry voice said: “There’s a woman here to see you,”
“Is she a knockout?” I asked. She sighed… seductively.
“Once again, I’m not going to answer that about every client before letting them into the room,” she said.
“Sure, I get it,” I said with a wink. “But is she hot like the steam that rises out of the subway on a cool summer’s night?”
“This is a business,” Jake snapped, spicy as the day she was born. “Are you honestly telling me that you’ll only meet with her if she’s attractive?”
“Shoo her in, darling,” I said tossing her a shiny dime. “And get yourself some new pantyhose and a proper skirt while you’re out.”
“You’re a monster.” Jake slammed the door sensually, and I grinned, replaying our banter. Put a little more curves on the lady and take off the full beard and mustache and I might have given her the time of day.
In walked my next client. My pretty young secretary was bang on: This one was a real looker. Her dress clung to her in all the right places. She had a butt and boobs, all right. Both of those things in spades. More butts than I’d ever seen on a woman. And I’ve seen a lot of butts. I sat up a little straighter. The dame wore red lipstick, and had a jauntily placed hat, so I immediately knew that she was there to seduce and then trick me with her feminine wiles. Her sweet, sweet wiles. Wiles means butts, right? In any case, I was tantalized.
I leaned back in my chair and took a puff of my cigar.
“What can I do for you?” I said.
“Please help me,” she said breathlessly. That’s what they all say. I smiled, enjoying her flirting and the little “helpless girl” act she was putting on. “I’m badly injured,” she continued gesturing towards the place where her arm should be. “Can you call 911?” Her sparkling, blue eyes met mine and I could see that she had a deep need, a hole that only I could fill. A hole where her arm should be.
“How do I know you won’t double cross me, sweetheart,” I said. I’d been burned by dames before.
“I’m losing so much blood,” she said. But then, that’s what they all say. Still, there was something about her that pulled me in. And it wasn’t just her pretty face. I’m deeper than that. She had great legs too.
“Say I help you, sweetheart. What do I get in return?” I asked. I took in the clear human bite mark on her neck from which a black, viscous substance seemed to be spreading through her delicate lady veins just as white foam began spilling over her full, pouty lips. I’d have to be careful with this one.
“There’s something wrong with people, they’re turning into zom… zom…” She collapsed. I couldn’t even hide my attraction. This broad sure knew how to play it.
Jake came back in, and that’s when the dame reanimated, leapt upon Jake, and begin to eat her. Woah. That was different. I had to give it to Ol’ Astonishment, she had me intrigued enough to take the case. I threw my card into her mouth as she reared up with a gobful of Jake’s intestines.
“I’ll be in touch,” I said.
Then, I left to go drink more milkshakes. I always finish one case before starting the next.
I was off to a little gin joint called McDonald’s. As I drove, the sweltering city seemed to come alive around me. It was so sweltering. Pretty much everything was on fire. The houses, the street, most of the people. Just another day in the seedy, underbelly of the city, a place of fallen angels and broken dreams, I thought.
I headed into the restaurant for a little grub of the milkshake variety. But that’s when I began to notice something was amiss. On the surface, it just seemed like a normal day at Micky D’s. Just men, women, and children holding milkshakes, grunting, and eating the cashier in a throbbing, cannibalistic horde, blood splattering all over the shiny, white tiled walls. But my detective sense was tingling. See, when you’re a private dick like me, you notice the subtle changes in the air. And something about the little girl ripping a man’s head from his shoulders, and eating it was making the hair on the back of my neck stand up.
“I can’t quite put a finger on it,” I said aloud as a couple of fingers flew from across the room and dropped, splattering into my delicious milkshake. “But I know there’s funny business going on.”
I was right, of course. Something was going on. And it all led back to my newest client, I realized, as the soldiers pulled up in tanks.
“The jig is up,” I told one of the soldiers. “I’ve been tricked by a dame. There’s nothing wrong at all. She was trying to distract me from my big milkshake ranking case. Classic bait and switch. Sent to mess with my head, you see?”
“No,” the soldier screamed. “The thing that’s going on here is zombies! It’s the zombie apocalypse, man. You need to run. We can’t contain them! All of humanity is doomed!”
“You’re right,” I said. “It is impressive that she staged all this just to keep me from ranking milkshakes. She was quite the little minx. But I caught her. And now, she’s off to a place where the only bars she’ll visit are the ones on her cell. Now, if you’ll excuse me –”
“WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? WHAT MILKSHAKES? YOU HAVE TO GET OUT OF HERE.”
“We all have to get some place,” I said with a smile. I stubbed out my cigar and started to walk away, stroking my milkshake glass.
Here are your Best Fast Food Milkshakes, Power Ranked.
The rating system today will be the amount zombies clawing at the door of the basement you’re willing to ignore in order to finish your milkshake.
8. Burger King
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When I’m craving fast food, I never go to Burger King. It’s just never been my jam. Don’t you feel like they aren’t even trying that hard anymore? Like, what is Burger King known for? McDonald’s feels like it tries to spice things up with fun toys, periodic splashy menu items, and big promotions. But Burger King feels like it’s just okay being a C student, and you can’t tell them they’d have more potential if they put in some effort because you aren’t their real dad.
Full disclosure: It’s been a little while since I’ve had a Burger King vanilla milkshake. Years. And that number has not changed as of writing this article. Look, I remember it as being bad. So, I was “excited” to try it again. But ordering this milkshake was an odd experience. It’s like Burger King isn’t planning on anyone ordering a milkshake, and are surprised when you do. Early in the week, I went up to the counter, and ordered a vanilla milkshake. The cashier looked shocked, and then very uncomfortable.
“Um,” she said. “Um, I don’t….You want what? I have to….excuse me….”
She left and came back with a manager. This seemed like a weird move. The manager also looked at me strangely. Both looked frightened.
“I don’t think you want it,” the manager said. “It’s…the machine… is very watery. It’s not right.”
“So. It’s… broken?” I asked.
“Yes,” she said pausing a moment too long,“….broken,” in a way that made me very suspicious that it wasn’t.
Look, I don’t know what’s going on in Burger King. I don’t want to make wild allegations. I’m not saying their milkshakes are some sort of front to launder money for a science teacher turned meth dealer or smuggle illegal diamonds into mall jewelry stores or that Burger King shot JFK and the milkshakes ARE PART OF IT. But I can’t say for sure they aren’t. That’s all. I don’t think any of us can say they aren’t.
Ranking: 1 lonely zombie scratching at the basement door.
Once you run out of food, you can probably take her, to be honest. It’s just Doris from down the street.
You can’t really go wrong with milkshakes. Unless someone is using the shake to poison you slowly in an attempt to steal your fortune. But even then, isn’t nice that your partner makes you milkshakes? A person pretending to love you to get your fortune is probably like super nice to you and never gets mad at you because they know they’ll finish murdering you soon. And hey, no partnership is perfect. There’s give and take.
The biggest problem with Arby’s shake is it’s not very memorable. It’s like that person who friends you on Facebook whom you’d swear in court you’ve never seen nor have you ever heard their name. But then you see they have a 100 mutual friends and went to your high school so…. chances are….you know them? That’s Arby’s shake. It swears it was in homeroom with me for four years, and it remembers my childhood dog’s name so, I guess I have to believe it.
Ranking: 2 zombies.
Not bad. Not so bad. Of course, there’s not a lot of food in the basement you find yourself in. And a lot of people are down here. Do you even know these people that well? Who’s that one giving you the eye? Who is he? And her over there. What’s she whispering about?
6. Hardees/Carl’s Jr.
Carl’s Jr. brags that their shakes are hand scooped, meaning that they use real ice cream scooped by a real person and not by one of the many humanoid robots they employ who may or may not have been sent from the future to pretend to be real people in order to keep us from stopping their soon-to-happen overthrow of the human race. And look, I appreciate that, but I just can’t rate these shakes higher.
Some people like that real ice cream thing, chunky shakes that you have to eat with a spoon or wait until it’s melted to drink properly. But if I wanted ice cream chunks, I’d eat ice cream. And if I wanted to wait, I’d go get my milkshake later. Because you know why I got a milkshake, Carl’s Jr? Want to know why I got it right now, at this moment in time, Carl’s Jr.? Want to know, Carl’s Jr.? IT’S BECAUSE I WANTED TO DRINK IT, CARL. AND I WANTED TO DO IT AT THE TIME I ORDERED IT BECAUSE I’M A GROWN WOMAN WHO CAN DECIDE WHEN SHE DOES AND DOES NOT WANT A MILKSHAKE, CARL. YEAH, CARL. I AM USING YOUR NAME A LOT. NO. NO! DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM ME, CARL. I DON’T CARE WHAT THE THERAPIST SAYS. I ONLY USE YOUR NAME AS A WEAPON, CARL. WHEN. YOU’RE. BEING. RIDICULOUS.
Ranking: 3 zombies clawing at the door.
There’s only one of you. God, the zombie apocalypse was not fun like you imagined it. Do you know how people smell now that there are no showers? Do you have any idea what the world smells like now?
5. Shake Shack
This may be controversial. I get that they have “shake” in the title. But I just find their shakes a little tasteless. And it’s not all the jokes they make. Although, those are in super bad taste, and totally not something I think a milkshake should say, sentient or not. But also, the flavor is lacking.
It’s probably my palate, which is known for unsophisticated cravings of artificial sweets and flavorings. This is undeniably the truth, and so maybe Shake Shack shakes are a purer creature than I’m used to. Too good for me. Too good for this world. A Nancy Kerrigan hobnobbing with discarded Bachelor contestants. I’ll own that.
Ranking: 4 zombies who chased you through the house until you locked yourself in this basement.
But aren’t the zombies just a metaphor for your inner demons? Face what’s hurting in there, in your heart, and they’ll disappear. Quit that awful job and paint. Go back to living your dreams. Yes, Yes! I see it. You’ve faced and conquered your fear and pain. And thus, you’ve conquered the literal monsters as well. Go ahead! Open that door. They’ll be….
Yeah, they were still there. And now you’re being eaten. Huh. Well, I figured it was worth a shot. I’m not a therapist, you know?
4. 5 Guys
Right in the middle. Just like Malcolm. And you know what happened to him.
He grew up and lived happily ever after. HE’S HAPPY, OKAY? NOT EVERYTHING HAS TO BE SCARY AND NEGATIVE, SICKOS. SOMETIMES PEOPLE LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER.
Wow, look at me keeping an entry murder free.
Ranking: 5 zombies that break into the basement in which you’re hiding.
Luckily, you’re also a zombie so it’s just like, Oh hey. But the actual words you say are, “Braaaaaaains, Braaaaaains.” And then they say back, “Braaaaaaaains.” Honestly, the best thing to do in the event of a zombie apocalypse is to just get turned right away before things get bad. Just scream I VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE the moment anything goes down and stop thinking. You could be one of the pioneers, finally on the ground floor for once. The guy who invested $1000 dollars in Netflix just before it started streaming content and now you can buy a house.
Only instead of buying a beautiful home, you get all the beautiful brains you can eat. It’s pretty much the same thing.
I was expecting these to be terrible. They used to be not great, right? McDonald’s had great ice cream sundaes and mediocre milkshakes. But they have really upped their game. They took the shakes out of the paper soda cup and put them into clear plastic smoothie-like cups. It’s a power move that really pays off. It feels way fancier. What am I eating a milkshake with the queen? Who am I? America’s sweetheart, Megan Markle?
Then, there’s the whipped cream. Their milkshakes go the extra mile and have the good stuff on top now. In my opinion, they’ve just upped their presentation and deliciousness all over.
It’s like McDonald’s is saying, you matter, Allison. You deserve a nice milkshake because you’re not a bad person. Sure, you’ve failed. A lot. At most things. But even so, you’re a clear plastic, whipped cream person now. You are worthy of better quality blended ice and cream, and…love. And I guess it’s just nice to have a person or faceless corporation finally believe in me like that, you know?
Ranking: 6 zombies.
All of them are Paul Rudd. Somehow we always knew that his face is the last one we’d see before the end. And he’ll be here long after we all die. I wish I had more encouraging words. I guess you could find some comfort in knowing you were sacrificed to give the Paul Rudds some sustenance. So…you’ll live on in a small way…probably through Ant Man sequels.
Frosty the frosty!
You’re a very jolly drink.
With a cold ice cream and a little milk
And some artificial flavor.
[Oh, you thought this would rhyme? Sorry, pal!]
Frosty the Frosty
Is a fairy tale they say
He was made of food
But the children know
How he came to life one day
There must have been some magic
In that old Wendy’s manager
For when he handed you that drink,
it came alive and took control.
Frosty the Frosty
Was alive as he could be
And he made you quit your job
and work fulltime
just to meet his needs
Frosty the Frosty
whispered terrible crimes to do
And he said, “If you don’t
I’ll find a way to make you disappear too.
Ranking: 7 zombies that have been outside of that door for weeks.
Supplies are low. Morale is lower. Maybe you should…. Maybe just for a second…
Guys, I’m a real Chick-fil-A apologist. They’re just so, so delicious and I have to rank them high in many things. Milkshakes are no exception. The Chick-fil-A milkshake is creamy, but not too thick, and just the right amount of vanilla. They always ask if I want whipped cream on top. A funny joke. BECAUSE WHO SAYS NO TO WHIP CREAM WHEN YOU’RE ALREADY ORDERING A MILKSHAKE. Not I, Satan.
This milkshake brings all the boys to the yard and they’re like: “This is a very good milkshake. Thank you for going out of your way to pick these up for the whole neighborhood. We respect you.”
Ranking: A horde of 8 hungry zombies AT YOUR DOOR.
Everyone you ever know is dead, UNDEAD. And humanity is doomed. And of course you’re stuck here with your milkshake and Brad, the boy from school with whom you’ve always hated. Sure, the other girls think he’s handsome. Sure, he was popular. And you’re just the artsy girl who wrote poetry and wore glasses. But those fell off while you ran and revealed how delicate the features of your face are. And Brad’s shirt was ripped off in the chase too. You try to avoid his glance as he leans onto a barrel, shirtless. You don’t like him. But…do you? For, there’s an undeniable connection, a spark you feel as he reveals how tough it was living under the pressure of his Dad and…. society.
Maybe he’s misunderstood. Also, he’s a vampire.