The Zinger Pie

The Zinger Pie

A lot of the respect that monks get is undeserved. What? Any idiot can be zen if you take away every stress of the modern world. The truly at peace can walk among the thorns and not mind the scratches. After all, it’s the scratches that make the undamaged skin feel good. But then, what do you do when the scratches pile up? When the scar tissue envelopes you like an impenetrable carapace? What happens when the zen reduces your life to a meditative hum so esoteric the only monastery that will have you is Centrelink?

KFC is the Lament Configuration of eateries, almost hypnotically beguiling on the outside; pan-dimensional extremes of sensation on the inside. Today, it offers a new realm of experience, a new siren song. Pleasure and pain intertwined, the ZINGER PIE. I order my driver, Aaron, to swerve into the drive through and toward our destiny.

The Process

The Orion KFC is such a perfect example of systemic failure it could have been a season of The Wire. The Chickenfiend Dictators who rule the place run it like they’re trying to validate xeroxed socialist newsletters. Master perverts, each able to twist even something as simply positive as “reduce waste” into “buy less product to give the illusion of reducing waste”. The place has been out of chicken on at least three prior occasions: once two hours before close, and the other two at lunchtime. This is a place so mismanaged that they run out of food at the time of day literally named after food.

A child worker in the middle of realising that the world doesn’t work how it says on the box tells us that there will be a twenty-minute wait on our order. Only a fool trusts The Colonel twice, so we head home and opt to give them an hour.

The playground of metal and molten lard buzzes with barely legal child labour. It may be a suburban thing, but I haven’t seen this many employed middle schoolers outside of documentaries on designer clothes. A typical workforce at the Orion KFC numbers in the twos, managing to keep the last-chance chicken hole afloat through the kinds of multi-tasking skills MOBAs trained them for. Today’s lunch rush chicken drought must’ve spooked the Fowl Fuhrer into desperately committing the gravest sin a hospitality manager can, rostering on more employees. Now there’s three.

A bright face lit by the belief that it will one day get better takes my order and cheerily hands it to me at a speed that made me double check I hadn’t been handed a box of crudely written pleas for freedom. I saw my usual 9 pieces of self-harm, and a fist-sized pouch with the words Zinger Pie printed on it like a set of revealed fangs. Like most human trailblazers, I ignored this clear warning and pressed on with my march into the abyss.

The Décor

Spring in Australia is merely the oven preheating. The Celestial Torment is bright and harsh, razing the exposed side of the drive through. The baffled succulents lining the outer side have given up attempting to shade either driver or restaurant, and now the chlorophyll tinted light cooks both with the slow but inevitable enthusiasm of a solar oven enthusiast’s sales pitch. The outside can only be registered as shapes through what little of the light is safe to allow through squinted eyes and our time with it was brief, they were out of chicken.

Upon our return an hour or so later, the Atomic Bastard had turned the drive-through into a smouldering parade of the burned-out cars legally required to be in all post-apocalyptic media, so I gird my mind-loins and enter the store.

Deer hunters will douse themselves in synthetic deer pussy juice as a means of luring a target and KFC takes a similar approach. The franchise is a warm fog of MSG, grease, and the invigorating stench of delusional teenage confidence. The walls are festooned with dictator-scale portraits of mid 2000s styled replicants we call attractive only because they don’t have pores. Each grips a piece of chicken like a chimp holding a complicated human tool and smiles like they didn’t hear what was said to them but don’t want to cause any trouble. You don’t need a Voight-Kampff to know these poor creatures weren’t programmed with an appetite.

What parts of the walls that aren’t people who are better looking than me are a seemingly haphazard smattering of toilet white tiling and buckshot iconography. All of it is slightly too big or somewhat off kilter. Anything too close to sane will tickle human semantics, and the Orion KFC doesn’t want any logic getting in the way of its business.

Floor to ceiling windows keep the flight or fight response calm enough to complete the grim transaction, and my driver Aaron takes us home.

The Food

A meat pie is the kind of meal you need to approach with strategy as it’s more than prepared to fight back. One wrong move and dollops of still molten innards will drop with laser-guided precision onto whichever part of your lap your flaccid penis has chosen to nap. Your first bite into a piece of food tends to be an unthinking, animal action you’d cringe to ever see from outside. This bite demands the meaty bits, sauces, and all the other good things the crust is selfishly hoarding. But this bite is doom.

Like a walled city, one must approach with the patient tact of a seasoned general. Spend all your energy getting a wall down, and the occupants will spill out and slaughter your exhausted force. Similarly, a big chomp, the big chomp you desperately want to do, will leave your mouth too full to deal with the sudden rush of penis-searing contents. Your first bite, then, is always going to be mostly, if not all, crust.

The crust is where the Zinger Pie excels and that thought reminds me of the time I was relieved to hear a priest had raped a nun because at least it was an adult. Pastry shells were originally intended to be inedible things, huff paste coagulations of suet, and flour too riddled with larvae to even be fed to the poor. The Zinger Pie crust harkens back to this time, and while the stubbornly firm result tastes like dried clag glue and dandruff, I have to appreciate it turning the child employees into a kind of Chekhov’s gun for this now noticeably 17th century experience.

Sure, it tastes like if the biscuits from the tin your nan keeps her sewing implements in were as old as the tin, but the fact is, nobody buys a pie for the crust. Nobody wanders into a store and demands a crust pie, and even aggressively bland pastry can be wholly overcome by decent viscera.

The Zinger Pie is pieces of Zinger fillet mixed with KFC’s “Gravy” and the result has the consistency of foetal chickens drowned in dishwater. KFC “gravy” is your standard non-Newtonian fluid of brown and water that, when slopped into a small cup, can be used as a dipping sauce to provide vaguely flavoured throat lubrication to normally unswallowable chunks of food. In a pie, the combination of dirt and Uyghur bones that compose the substance get separated from the water and absorbed into the vantablack taste absorbent membrane of the crust. The core of a pie needs to be thickened in some fashion, it needs to cling to and work with the crust to make the pie a single food item and not some maniac’s deranged attempt at pouring broth into pastry.

All this wetness had performed a second miracle, the vanishing of the eleven herbs and spices. This is the signature flavour of the restaurant, the one reason for its existence. A 10-metre radius around the store pulses with it, the walls drip with it, the children of employees are born smelling of it, it’s so singularly the function of a KFC you could convince me the whole franchise evolved like a flower on a Galapagos island populated by fat people. But the Zinger Pie doesn’t taste of it at all.

The delicately polite flavour of the gravy has been subsumed into the crust like a small tribe of brown people into the British Empire. A great and baffling miracle has whisked the eleven herbs and spices away, at least proving that there is something out there that can beat mono sodium glutamate in a fair fight. And chicken tastes like some dystopian future’s [PROTEIN COMPOUND ALPHA] to begin with. All that’s left is a wisp of spice, the Zing part of the Zing-er, poking the tongue the way a fight’s loser warns the winner not to mess with him again.

Conclusion

We are no longer a barbarous people. Gone are the death-sports that our uncivilised forebears used as light entertainment. Our fights are no longer to the death, our sports no longer result in execution of the losers, and ring doctors line our battle-cages. Our worst instincts have some millions of years on us, and taming them is no small battle, but we have worn down the more dangerous points to where they can be expressed in a fashion that doesn’t leave a trail of bodies.

Where can a man go for danger when he’d like to be around for next week’s episode of whatever HBO is up to now? The Zinger Pie, and KFC in general, are a brutal rival male, trained with the skill and intent to crack your skull open. But this one wears gloves and will shake your hand after he’s done bloodying you up. The experience is meant to be an intense one that moves your animal ego close enough to the precipice to bring out that feral energy but not so close that the human mind panics. The Zinger Pie should be an airsoft school shooting.

Instead it’s just unpleasant. I feared for nothing but my self-respect, and there are plenty of more profitable ways to lose that. Their advertising campaign, that Channel 7’s “News” bravely covered, says that it’s for footy fans. I’ve called footy fans every abuse under the sun and some only possible when the moon is high, and I still wouldn’t denigrate them in such a fashion. Perhaps these creatures are suffering sympathetic concussions and would fly into a blind fury if overstimulated. If so, then kudos to KFC for their work in making football more accessible.

This article is in 7’s Business section.

For anyone moderately functional, or even my borderline readership, it serves no purpose. It’s a sim game of your own life, a mask of your face, a white noise so in tune with your universe that it’s inaudible. The Zinger Pie is a knife too blunt to cut yourself with.

Ϫ/Ю

By Hungry Gabe.

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5 Replies to “The Zinger Pie”

  1. You have a seriously impressive way with words and never fail to make my half drunken 2am reading a delight. Thank you Gabe, I hope your nuts stay safe from the oncoming And summer and all the energetic death that follows such an event.

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