Being the Ongoing Chronicle of the Anticks, Misadventures, and Odd Deeds of an Overalls-clad Wanderer.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

EXTERIOR: Suburban Buffalo -- KFC -- Afternoon -- Winter.

Two cars pull into the KFC parking lot. One pulls right up to the door; the other parks a bit farther away. A short, squat WOMAN in a brilliant sky-blue winter coat and her SON, a young man of about 20, get out of the first car. The young man is dressed in the standard Buffalo attire of jeans that aren't really any color anymore, a jacket that isn't any color anymore, and a utilitarian haircut that screams of 'cut the parts that stick out below the edge of the bowl I've placed on your head'. From the other car comes a long-haired GENTLEMAN, decked out in a black flannel-lined shirt under a spiffy pair of Carhartt overalls. We can tell by looking at the GENTLEMAN IN OVERALLS that he is a fellow of elegance, reason, and is generally a fine person to know. They enter the restaurant, whereupon the GENTLEMAN IN OVERALLS hangs back to examine the menu. Meanwhile, the WOMAN and the SON walk right up to the counter, where the ORDER TAKEN is a crisp-looking teenaged boy in a clean uniform.

ORDER TAKER: Welcome to KFC, may I--

The SON's cell phone rings loudly. His ringtone is a rap tune with the words 'bitch-ass ho' a lot.

ORDER TAKER: --take your order?

SON: (into phone) What? Yeah. Yeah, I love you! But I can't talk about this right--

WOMAN: Yeah gimme a six-piece a'chicken.

ORDER TAKER: Original, crispy, or the other one that nobody orders? [EDITOR'S NOTE: He didn't really say this! I just don't recall what the actual third option was.]

WOMAN: (to SON, without turning to actually face him) You want original or crispy?

SON: (into phone, completely oblivious of his mother addressing him) No! No, don't do that! DAMMIT! I said I love you, why you gotta make this so--

WOMAN: (louder, still doesn't turn around) You want ORIGINAL or CRISPY?

She turns to look at the SON, who is facing the pop machine.

WOMAN: Give him Original.

ORDER TAKER: All right, what sides?

WOMAN: Sides? Whassat salad stuff with the dressing?

ORDER TAKER: Cole slaw?

WOMAN: Yeah! (loudly, to SON, again without turning, again without the SON realizing he's being talked to) Cole slaw? You like COLE SLAW?

SON: Oh, you can't be f***ing SERIOUS! I swear if you--! Yeah, yeah....I said I love you! I said it! What more do you--!

WOMAN: Cole slaw. And fries.

ORDER TAKER: You mean potato wedges?

WOMAN: I got fries last time!

ORDER TAKER: (somehow miraculously keeping his composure, given how young he is) We replaced the fries with the potato wedges.

WOMAN: Oh.

The GENTLEMAN in the overalls, who is diddling with his own cell phone in an effort to look like he's not actually hanging on every word of the morality play unfolding, raises an eyebrow at the ease with which this kid has sold the lie.

WOMAN: Yeah, gimme the wedges. And a drink. (louder) You wanna drink?

SON: (still into phone) Babe, I gotta go. We're in line. KFC. I know you don't like KFC, but what do you care, you're working!

WOMAN: No drink for him.

Now he turns back to face his mother, rolling his eyes and making that 'flapping jaw' gesture with his fingers to indicate that the girlfriend or whomever on the other end won't shut up.

ORDER TAKER: That'll be $12.42.

WOMAN: Here. (hands him a twenty)

SON: I gotta go! We'll talk about this later. Just call me back in half an hour. Just call me back. Call me back! Half an hour! Yeah! Love you, call me back, half hour, bye! (hangs up) What are we eating?

WOMAN: Chicken.

The GENTLEMAN in the overalls bites his lips together to keep from laughing out loud.

SON: Did you order the Chicken Bites? [EDITOR'S NOTE: "Chicken Bites" are apparently the replacement for the old "Popcorn Chicken" menu item.]

WOMAN: You didn't say nothin' about Chicken Bites!

SON: I want Chicken Bites. Got more money? I'll order 'em.

WOMAN: Yeah, here's five bucks. It's all I got. But wait for that guy. You shoulda been ordering with me.

SON: I tried! Bitch wouldn't hang up!

WOMAN: Don't call her 'bitch', she's datin' your ass.

Now the GENTLEMAN IN OVERALLS is scratching his neck so he doesn't have to face these folks.

WOMAN: Get outta the way. Let that guy order.

They look at the GENTLEMAN IN OVERALLS, who realizes what's happening.

GENTLEMAN IN OVERALLS: Oh, go ahead. I'm in no hurry here.

SON: Thanks! See, Mom?

The Son turns to the ORDER TAKER.

ORDER TAKER: Welcome to KFC, may I take your order?

SON: Yeah, I want some Chicken Bites.

The Food Guy from the back of house comes up to the counter with a tray.

FOOD GUY: Order #273? Six-piece?

WOMAN: Yeah.

She grabs the tray and goes to a table in the dining room.

WOMAN: (calling to SON) I'm sittin' down now!

SON: (without turning around) Yeah! Chicken Bites. Uh...large.

The GENTLEMAN IN OVERALLS glances up at the menu board and notices that the Large Chicken Bites is more than five bucks. In fact, even the Small, with sales tax added on, will be more than five bucks.

WOMAN: (now talking loudly to no one in particular) Awww, shit! They only gave me one plate. How am I supposed to eat!

The GENTLEMAN IN OVERALLS brushes a fuzzy or something from the bib of his overalls, trying not to focus on the 'How many plates does one woman need to eat a meal at KFC?' question.

ORDER TAKER: A large Chicken Bites is $7-something.

SON: Ummmm...

He starts fishing in his pockets, but it's clear that the five in his hand is the only money he's got.

SON: Make it the small, then.

ORDER TAKER: OK...that'll be $5.sixty something.

SON: Ummmm....

He is realizing that he doesn't have enough money to pay even that.

SON: Hey Ma--

WOMAN: Tell them to gimme another plate!

SON: You got anymore money?

WOMAN: Nah I gave it all to you! Tell them gimme another plate!

Nevertheless she gets up, returns to the counter, and hands him a twenty. Then she returns to the table.

WOMAN: I still need another plate!

Now she's yelling loudly enough that the FOOD GUY in back can hear her, and he is scrambling to bring up a plate.

ORDER TAKER: All right, here's the change. And here are your Chicken Bites. And here's the--

WOMAN: I need another plate!

ORDER TAKER: --other plate for her.

SON: Ma! Stop!

He holds up the plate for her to see. She calms down. The GENTLEMAN IN OVERALLS, still wondering why she could possibly need TWO plates, waits until the ORDER TAKER acknowledges him.

ORDER TAKER: Hello, welcome to KFC. May I take your order?

The GENTLEMAN IN OVERALLS notices the look in the ORDER TAKER's eye, the look of prayerfulness in hopes that no one quite that crazy comes through the line for a while. He also notes that this fellow has to start every single interaction with a customer the exact same way, no doubt because 'market research' has shown that what customers want to hear in a restaurant is a personality-free, standardized greeting.

GENTLEMAN IN OVERALLS: Sure. I'd like a--

FADE OUT as life returns to normal at KFC.

2 comments:

Roger Owen Green said...

The order taker's a frickin' saint.

fillyjonk said...

And people wonder why I mostly stay at home these days.

That order taker IS a saint.