John Boston | Burgers o’ Cheese Do Not Kill People…

One of the most haunting statements came from a dear friend. Barb was an opera singer. She noted:

“We either marry, or give birth to, our needles.”

Ouch. Amen. Boy howdy. The Needle.

We all have at least one. It’s someone you’re impossibly close to, through marriage or bloodline. With every waking breath, The Needle will annoy you, vex you, tempt, torture and test you. Through it all, Victim You returns for more.

Why?

Who knows? Karma? You’re stupid? Stubborn? Stupid AND stubborn? Myopic? A slow learner, masochist and/or denier? You weren’t in line at the table when angels handed out self-esteem? 

A news story last week from our sister city of Stuart, Florida, caught my attention. A man, 30, was arrested. His crime? Using a cheeseburger, Kyle Jamison slapped his live-in girlfriend whilst she slept.

Was she snoring? In bed with a guy from Taco Bell? A dreaded Vegan?

That’s not a good sign in a relationship.

Reminds of the lyrics to an old Linda Ronstadt song:

“Each time when I’m in a personal heap, you slap, me in, muh sleep. Don’t hit me with, your cheese — BURRRger — of luuuuuv…”

Slapping a sleeping loved one with ground beef and bun is not exactly new. That’s how our neighbors to the northeast in Palmdale finalize a divorce. While one, or both, are sleeping, the aggrieved party forms a sloppy softball-sized spitball with a dripping enchilada, looks over to first base, winds up, hits their spouse in the puss, then chants: “I divorce thee, I divorce thee, I divorce thee.” Followed by “…and your nude mother’s so fat she can’t fit in the California Aqueduct.”

I’m hardly Sherlock Holmes, but the clues just don’t mesh. If you’re a guy, how does an entire cheeseburger go uneaten? News accounts agree. It was a complete cheeseburger. Not a cheeseburger morsel. I’ve a question. How does one physically hold a cheeseburger while slapping someone? It seems you’d have to hold the burger between thumb and fingers. Cheeseburgers are flimsy. It’s not like it’s one of those filet mignon burgers Greg Amsler sells for $79.95 at Salt Creek in Valencia (661-222-9999 for reservations!). Hit a person with one of them puppies and you could dislocate a jaw, especially if Salt Creek’s serving the European-style version where they leave in the 29-pound bovine spinal column.

Wouldn’t the cheeseburger disintegrate halfway through your backswing? Or end up flying backward, sticking to a wall? According to the sheriff’s report from the little Florida, ahem — berg — when the unnamed girlfriend woke from being smacked with the ground beef, Kyle then proceeded to hit her repeatedly with the entrée.

Kyle also pulled his true love’s hair and kicked her down the stairs.

Whoa, Opie.

If that were my sister, firstly, she wouldn’t be allowed to date or exchange conjugal visits with some hump with a nose ring named Kyle, Bobbie-Dale Kyle, Billy Joe Kyle or Wayne Kyle Wayne. Second, there’s a good chance the last memory Kyle would ever have is being tied up with several dozen cheeseburgers (the cheap ones) duct taped to his boxer shorts while he’s being lowered screaming out of the back of a pickup truck into the tepid waters of The Captain Hook Everglades National Starving Alligators Preserve. After hours.

And what kind of swamp gas coward hits his girlfriend, dachshund puppy or parole officer while they’re sleeping?

I’m reminded of something I wish I didn’t know: We carry within us the seeds to our own self-destruction.

Get this. After Kyle was cuffed and taken to the Martin County pokey, his girlfriend showed up at the station.

Beaten. Bruised. Covered with specks of cheese, pickles, mayo and secret sauce.

The unnamed girlfriend? She didn’t want to press charges. She told police she had called them only so they could give her beau a proper talking-to.

Sure. That usually works.

What are the poor cops supposed to do?

Hands laconically on holsters, one wisely suggests: “Kyle. Y’all don’t slap your sleeping girlfriend or other people’s sleeping girlfriends with the business-end of a cheeseburger. Kyle. It’s not like this is France and you can get away with an alibi like: ‘I thought she wuzza mime.’”

Which, in Floridian is pronounced, “Maaaaaaaaahhhm…”

And ending with: “Y’all drive safe now. Hear?”

Here’s the sad thing.

Even in traditional Florida justice, let’s say a loving brother dumps Kyle into the swamp.

Before the final undigested bubble of That Which Once Was Kyle pops at the oily surface, you can bet one thing. Mrs. Common Law Kyle is speeding through Florida if not the universe in search of the exact karmic duplicate of Kyle her cheeseburger-wielding boyfriend and it’ll happen all over again and again.

John Boston is a local writer. He’s been arrested but never convicted for felonious food fighting. 

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