He wasn’t even there. And I was excited to tell him how I worked my way all the way through his cookbook—my Billionaire’s Bacon this close to looking like the picture.

Instead, there was just a boy-next-door type greeting me from behind the register.

“Can I get the Blockchain Chicken Sandwich?” I tightened my VR headset and looked around at all the tables to be sure he wasn’t around. By the looks of it, I’d just have to settle for a trip to a meta fast food joint, for its own sake.

“We’re out. Sorry, sir.”

I laughed politely.

“What can I get you instead?”

“Wait, you’re really out?”

Big sigh, but his digital mouth opened too wide, “Been tricky to keep these things stocked.”

“Okay, when are you minting some new ones?”

He leaned forward over the counter, his smile out of proportion to the rest of his jaw, “They aren’t actually NFT’s. Blockchain Chicken is just a clever name.”

“That’s bullshit though.” Even if I knew an NFT for that price was too good to be true—especially for something as big as the final nuke in the Chicken Sandwich Wars.

“Here’s the beauty of it,” his smile not moving as he spoke. “It’s not really about non-fungibility. It never has been. It’s always been about man’s fight against scarcity. So whether they’re minted or not, we can say we’re out of chicken sandwiches. And people lose their minds. Because that means the war is still raging. People get off on talking about the war!”

“Do you just have a salad or something? Not even hungry. I just came hoping I’d see Snoop Dogg.”

His expression glitched into a straight face, “You wanna see something in the break room?”

He lifted up a velvet rope, that should have been a chain, to let me behind the counter, led me down a shoulder-width hallway with a red carpet.

A cloud of steam, fog, or smoke blew from the door as we entered through it. The haze cleared and the guy from the register was lifting a box off a table where another worker sat on her phone to pass the time on break.

The box looked like wood. It had a golden W in its center.

“You recognize it?”

I pulled my headset tight again, leaned closer, “I’ve always been more of a West Coast guy. But, everyone loves Wu-Tang.”

“East and West are tricky down here. It’s just space. And objects,” he hands the box to me.

“I thought the lost album belonged to that big pharma guy. Wasn’t that the whole point? He snagged the only one ever made?”

“Oh no, he went to prison shortly after the Twitter fight with Hillary. IRS took everything,” his voice sounding like it was slathered with something delicious and cheap.

“So, this is the real album?”

“Is ‘real’ the first pressing in a run of vinyl? Or the moment of performance? Or is it all just perception?”

“Damn it. Am I holding hip hop history in my hands or not?”

“History is only image. That’s what’s so amazing about the meta–”

I threw the lost album to the ground along with my headset. The sun was getting low outside and my phone battery had just enough to get the order in. Thought about what it must feel like to wrestle a pixelated sandwich from someone’s scraped-up knuckles. They would wail in autotune and I would just sing that La-da-da-da-dah song by Snoop.

When I got the notification, I opened the door—the nuclear-scorched atmosphere touched lightly by the taste of fried chicken. The Uber Eats driver is a boy-next-door type.