Bill Lessard

According to the New York Times
Guantanamo prisoners who cooperate 
with interrogators are rewarded 
with Happy Meals. Happy Meals 
were invented by McDonalds in 1979 
to make children forget Un-Happy Meals. 
Un-Happy Meals is what children got
at home. Dry burnt meatloaf, boiled 
potatoes, canned string beans. 
Sometimes with a side of yelling 
and dad pounding the table
while drunk. Happy Meals comprise 
a single hamburger and fries, along with
a small drink. A toy is typically included. 
The packaging and toy are part 
of a marketing tie-in. Usually 
a television show, movie, 
or toy brand. I remember my first 
Happy Meal. The fries were greasy, 
the burger gave me diarrhea, but the toy 
was everything I had hoped for: 
A set of four Furbies. One in white, 
one in red, one in blue, one in orange.
Furbies were fun because they were 
doe-eyed troll creatures with a patch 
of wild hair on top, usually purple. 
I would stroke that hair whenever 
I was bored or got nervous, 
usually in math class. A complete set 
of all 80 Furbies, in original packaging, 
goes for $899 on eBay. Guantanamo 
prisoners cooperating during the months 
of July and August 2015 receive a Minion 
as their Happy Meal prize. They’re 
the hot toy now, to promote the new 
movie coming out this summer. Spinoff
of the original "Despicable Me" franchise. 
Minions are small, yellow pill-like 
creatures. They wear big goggles 
over their faces that make them 
look like divers trolling the sea 
for cartoon treasure. The best thing 
about Happy Meal Minions is
that they talk. Guantanamo prisoners 
lonely in their cells can press a button 
in the middle of their back. Minions
say things that can only be understood
by other Minions. The irony that 
Guantanamo prisoners make Minions
talk as a reward for talking has not
hurt Happy Meal popularity. Recently 
declassified documents reveal 
the supremacy of all things Minion. 
"Minion" derives from the Middle French 
mignon (“lover, royal favorite, darling”). 
In Arabic, the term has religious overtones. 
The Minion is a giant bird that tucks 
in its wings in order to appear small.