Good Company and Good Food
rating: +8+x

The day that Agent Burkes had been waiting for had finally arrived, the one day that came around only once every two weeks. Expedition Day. At least, that’s what he had begun calling it. It was his duty to go into SCP-4258 every two weeks and interview at least three patrons inside. He wasn’t quite sure on how these interviews were helping the Foundation, they just took his data when he left the diner and sent him off onto some other mission. This expedition he had especially been looking forward to though, considering the events over the past week.

Not only had he been shot at by Global Occult soldiers, but he had also been nearly killed in three different breaches and almost subjected to a cognitohazard that would have quite literally turned him into a vegetable. He knew the danger of the job when he signed up, but he’d love to go one week without the threat of some anomalous creature eating his face off or the ghost of a confederate general attacking him in his sleep.

“It’s fine now though,” he told himself as he watched a few scientists give him the thumbs up to enter SCP-4258. The week was over and it was time to relax on the company’s dime. He climbed the stairs of SCP-4258 and quickly entered, closing the door behind him. Despite the dozens of times he’d been to the diner, he was still amazed every time he walked in and saw its bizarre patrons. Today seemed to be especially busy, nearly every seat except a few at the bar being full. He started to make his way to one of the closest stools, occasionally apologizing as he bumped into somebody’s tentacle or scraped past a pair of mandibles.

“Ah, Mr. Burkes! Good to see ya again, how are you?” Freddy asked as he handed a plate over to what Burkes swore was a mummy. Freddy was the proprietor of this establishment and oversaw everything that went in on the diner. Burkes hadn’t known him long, but he knew that Freddy was one of the good ones.

“Been better, Fred. Thinking about trying something new.” Burkes took a seat on the bar stool and set the tape recorder he’d brought with him on the counter. He was here to do interviews, but that was going to take a backseat to getting his food. Sorry but not sorry, scientists.

Freddy frowned slightly, handing off a glass of coke to John F. Kennedy. “Sorry to hear that, Mr. Burkes. Sounds like you’ve had a tough week.” His smile returned though as he gave a glance towards the kitchen behind him. “But I think I have something that might cheer you up, our Sunday Special.”

Well, it wasn’t like he really had anything specific in mind for today’s lunch anyway. “Looking forward to it Fred. Wait, isn’t it Wednesday?”

This only made the elderly man chuckle as he wrote something down on a scrap of paper, sliding it through the kitchen window. “It’s always Sunday somewhere in the multiverse, Mr. Burkes.”

Well, can’t really argue with that. Freddy slid him a glass of water and turned his attention to a few guests that were patiently awaiting their turn to order. Burkes turned to his left and wasn’t surprised to see one of the other regulars, an amphibious humanoid named Xeril, was seated not too far away. Burkes gave him a small wave and the man plodded over to him, a big grin on his fish-like face. “Hey Burkes! Here for more interviews?”

Burkes nodded and took a sip of his water. How the hell did Freddy even manage to make water taste so good? “Sure am. Sun never sets on the Foundation.”

“Damn, they really work you to the bone, don’t they? Cheer up man, heard you ordered the Sunday Special.”

Burkes gave him a curious glance. Had Xeril order it before? “Is it really good or something?”

Xeril simply shrugged and patted him on the shoulder. “Something like that, you’ll see. Seeya, Burkes.”

He watched as Xeril opened the door and for a split second glimpsed the world that the patron had come from, wetlands that looked as if they went as far as the eye could see. Part of him wondered what the diner looked like from the outside in that world. Burkes turned his attention back to the other patrons as he waited for his meal to be ready. Many of them he’d seen before, but there were a few he hadn’t met yet. For example, in the farthest corner of the diner what could only be called a goblin was accompanied by a floating cat and a huge centipede that bore glowing runes over it’s expansive body. He watched as they finished their meals and exited the diner into their own world, a library of insurmountable size with what seemed to be countless books.

His mind started to slowly drift towards libraries he knew of that matched such a description when somebody tapped him on the shoulder. He wasn't all too surprised to see yet another of the regulars, Agent Dark of a Foundation in another reality. “Hey man, you doing alright?”

Burkes smiled, he always enjoyed his conversations with Dark when he came to the diner. “Yea, I’m fine. Just tired, you know how it is.” He watched as the man took a seat next to him and gave Freddy a heads up that he wanted his usual burger and fries.

“Oh yea, I getcha. If there’s one thing the Foundation has in common across realities, it’s that they work their employees half to death,” he said with a chuckle.

Burkes nodded and took a sip from his water. “Amen to that, brother.”

“So, what’d you order this time? Burger?”

“Nah, something called the Sunday Special.”

Dark grinned slyly as he elbowed him in the side. “Never had it before, huh? You’re in for a treat.”

“Yea, you’re not the first to tell me that. Is it really that good?”

“Something like that. The best part about it is- Oh, looks like it’s done.” Dark motioned towards Freddy, who walked towards Burkes with a bowl held firmly in his hands. He watched as the man set the bowl in front of him and immediately recognized the dish as just plain macaroni and cheese.

He gave Freddy a curious glance before turning his attention back to the meal. Was this really all the Sunday Special was? He had expected a bit more, truth be told. He tentatively grabbed his spoon and took a bite. Immediately, all his prior expectations were thrown out the window and into the wind. He was a child again, waiting patiently at the dinner table for his mother to serve her home-made macaroni and cheese. His knees were scraped and fresh bruises across his cheek slightly ached. He’d been in another fight with the neighborhood bullies, who had been picking on his little brother, Sam. It was all fine now though, he was back home and it was dinner time. He watched eagerly as his mother, a woman who always wore a smile, brought out plates of macaroni for him and his brother.

She set them down before both kids and immediately the smell of the cheese hit him, still gooey and warm. "Let it cool, you two," she said before heading back into the kitchen to make her own plate. Of course, they wouldn't listen though. Him and Sam were too entranced by the inviting smell, as they always were when their mother made her special macaroni and cheese. They both dug in, scooping large spoonfuls into their mouths. He was idly aware of his mother taking a seat nearby, mumbling about them both being little pigs. All his worries regarding the bullies and the pain of his battle wounds had faded away in the face of this dish made with his mother's love.

Burkes was jolted back to reality as his spoon scraped the bottom of the empty bowl. He was already finished, even though it felt like mere moments ago he had been served the meal. He peered up towards Dark, who leaned against the counter with yet another sly smirk. “Get why everyone likes the Sunday Special now?”

Burkes nodded, wiping his face with the corner of his napkin. He couldn't suppress the big smile that'd formed after eating the meal and neither did he want to. In this one moment, all his worries and stress had been wiped away completely. “Yea, I think I do.”

Dark patted him on the shoulder before heading for the door, giving him one last wave. "Seeya around, Burkes. Stay safe out there."

"Yea, you too." He watched as Dark left the diner, entering a world nearly identical to his own. For awhile longer he simply sat there, letting his meal settle in his stomach while he had some more of that damn good water. Finally, it came time to get to work. Grabbing the tape recorder he approached
a humanoid patron nearby whose body consisted of pure and beautiful blue flames.

"Hello, I'm Agent Burkes. Mind if I ask you a few questions?"


Two Hours Later

Burkes exited SCP-4258, immediately entering the decontamination showers located outside. When it came time to hand over the tape recorder to Dr. Barnes she gave him an inquisitive look. "You seem happy. Something happen in there?"

Burkes just shrugged, a small smile on his lips. "Just having a good day, I guess."

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