As I’ve mentioned, the local Taco Bell is now staying open until 3 a.m., and I occasionally hit them up for a cuppa two tree crunchy/hard tacos on my way home from work. Those things are always fantastic in the middle of the night. They’re approximately a million times better in the dark, than in bright sunlight, for some reason.
There’s only one thing that concerns me about my late-night Mexican adventures: it appears the entire restaurant is being run by two seventeen year old boys. Their badass-on-a-budget cars are parked outside, and there’s no sign of an adult anywhere. And that concerns me, ’cause teenage boys need supervision. Ya know?
Visions of them spitting in my food, or beating-off into the ground beef, always pop into my head. I don’t want those visions there, God knows it’s true, but I can’t help it. I’ve heard too many horror stories.
Across the street, at McDonald’s, there’s always an adult authority figure on-hand, making sure no snickering boys swipe that thin, middle Big Mac bun through their butt cracks like an ATM card. But at Taco Bell… it’s just two dudes from the high school. And that’s unnerving.
Years ago, when I was working at a shitty grocery store called Fas-Chek, they experimented with locking me and another guy in the store overnight, so we could get some work done while nobody was around.
You see… there were large displays at the front end of the store, which featured whatever happened to be on sale that week. And every Saturday night the displays had to be dismantled, and replaced with the next week’s crap. It was a huge production, which required hours to complete. And it also caused chaos in the store, while the “rebuild” was underway.
So, somebody got the idea that they could have me and another guy, named Vincent, do it overnight while the store was closed. We’d come in at 11:00, when the place was shutting down, do the rebuild during the middle o’ the night, and avoid all the insanity while customers were there.
And it was just like those two guys running the Taco Bell without supervision… Vincent and I were probably 19 or 20, with the approximate maturity of, I don’t know, 12 year olds? And they were going to let us run free in a grocery store all night? Yeah, it was a tactical error.
After we arrived we busted-ass and did the entire rebuild in less than two hours. Both of us were covered in sweat, and were working like maniacs. We got the project completed, with just the two of us, in record time. It usually took four guys an entire shift to accomplish what we did in a hundred minutes.
Then we were free… in a big ol’ grocery store, all alone. Heh.
We started by visiting the walk-in beer cooler, needless to say. We chose a 12-pack of something, and reminded each other that we’d have to dispose of the evidence. Empty bottles or cardboard couldn’t be left strewn around, all willy-nilly. We’d have to keep our shit in check.
We walked around the darkened store, drinking beer, trying to get ideas on how we could creatively kill six hours. And Vincent said he was hungry. “The whole place is our pantry,” I told him, while doing a theatrical, sweeping motion with my left hand.
And we ended up cooking two thick steaks, right out of the meat case, on a stove in the deli. They were New York strips, I think, and huge. Vincent was in charge of the cooking duties, and whenever he said he needed a seasoning or whatever, I’d just walk over to aisle four and grab it off the shelf.
While the steaks were cooking, we grabbed some stuff from the produce department, and made a freaking salad. I think we talked about baked potatoes too, but decided they would take too long. I can’t remember exactly what our 3 am feast consisted of, but it was outrageous. We had the steaks, and all sorts of side items. And lotsa beer from the walk-in. It was a hell of a meal.
The only problem? When the day shift people started arriving, around 5 am, the store smelled like a goddamn Bonanza steakhouse. We realized this around 4:30, and started freaking out. Vincent got the idea to go around and pour drain opener in all the floor drains. The stench of it, he said, would mask the restaurant smell. Heh, it was drunken logic.
Some poofter cashier, who always wore his tie tucked between the buttons of his shirt for some reason, arrived first. And I know he ratted us out to the praying mantis-like store manager. “I think they were smashed, and the place smelled like chemicals and a cookout.” The prick.
Nothing was ever said to us about our deli feast, but the locking-two-dumbasses-in-the-store-alone experiment was abandoned after one week. On the next Saturday we were back to doing the rebuild during the evening, while the store was open. I suppose I should be happy they didn’t have us arrested? Right?
Do you have any stories about being left in charge of something semi-important at an early age? Did it descend into chaos? Or were you more mature than me and Vincent? Not a high bar to cross… Please tell us about it in the comments section below.
And I hate to open this Pandora’s Box of grossness, but if you have any stories about people tampering with fast food, we’ll need to hear those, as well.
I’ll be back tomorrow, my friends. In the meantime, please remember that I’m taking orders again for signed copies of Crossroads Road. I’m going to make a post office run on Thursday, so order away. Here’s your link:
Have a great day!