“What can I get for you today?”

I’m practically screaming into the drive-thru intercom,
leaning over my father in the driver’s seat. My elbow
pierces the center console as I’m twisting, straining: A
Mexican Pizza, please, for the nineteenth time. My father

prefers for me to place all drive-thru orders even though I’m
never the one driving. Even though I’ve never been proficient
at speaking, lacking eloquence & volume & certainty. Still,
he blames his Filipino accent, deems me a better bet,

& the least I can do is try. Plus a Baja Blast? A crackly
question. My twelve-year-old brother mentally threatens me
from the back seat when he shouldn’t. This meal isn’t mine,
but I can’t forget the order. Baja Blast Freeze, I try to yell,

my voice even more crackly than the employee’s as they
ring up our total. Now all I have left to worry about is whether
they’ll wonder why my pitiful attempts at vocal projection
don’t match my father’s face as he pulls up to the window.


Noreen Ocampo struggles at drive-thru windows. She is an English major in her third year at Emory University, and although she has poems in places, this publication might just be the peak of her career. Mourn the late Mexican Pizza with her on Twitter @maybenoreen.

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