“The Usual”


Contrary to what some of you (or at least one of you may have feared, I wasn’t struck dead after my birthday post. But I’ve been working on it, one fast-food combo at a time.

I spent last week in Kingston with my girlfriend, but the nice bonus was that I got to hang out with my oldest pal, Mike “The Math Librarian” Martelle. And every time I got out of the house, we took advantage of our bachelors-on-the-loose status to gorge ourselves on fast food. This is why my girlfriend has nothing to fear from other women: I’m far more likely to cheat on her with a Mushroom & Swiss Steakhouse Burger. If I get rid of one dame, I don’t want another. I want arteries full of grease.

On the last day of my trip, in addition to making a pig of myself and shortening my life expectancy, I pulled off a nice trick on her. When Mike picked me up, he mentioned that he had a few important things to do, and the first on the list was going to Taco Bell and being a glutton. I said that this was actually on my list of things to do too.

And it was. In fact, my girlfriend, though she normally knows much better, had been craving Taco Bell all week. Coincidentally, just the previous night, she’d made me find that very Taco Bell franchise in Kingston on the online store locator, then plot out a route on Google Maps, and then program it into her new GPS, all with the intent that we stop in for a burrito on our way out of town after she finished her classes the next afternoon.

So, Mike and I drove to this Taco Bell/Kentucky Fried Chicken split franchise way out in the township. When we got there and ordered, Mike told the counter girl that I’d be back in about an hour with someone else, so she should pretend she didn’t recognize me.

“Hold on, I said. “Act like you do recognize me. In fact, if you could greet me by name and ask if I wanted ‘the usual,’ that would be great.” The usual, I decided, would be Combo #4, the Cheesy Gordita and Cheesy Fries. So, if she could just remember that, everything out to be great.

She was totally up for this, and didn’t foresee any hitch in the plan, as she’d still be there on counter duty in an hour. Nice girl. A little plus-size (okay, a lot), as fast-food employees often are, but very jolly.

I ordered a chicken burger, counting the chance to eat both Taco Bell and KFC within an hour as a double win. We ate, went back downtown, ran another errand, and then, as he was dropping me off, ran right into my girlfriend and a classmate who she was giving a lift back to Toronto. So, we picked them up and drove them home. Mike left, and the remaining three of us switched cars and then drove right back out to Taco Bell.

I walked in, and I was crushed: There was another girl working at the counter. On the bright side, my girlfriend offered to buy me lunch, and I glumly ordered a Combo #4. But then, as we stood at the counter waiting for our orders to be filled, the original girl eventually came out of the back, looked over at me, and said, “Oh, hi, Peter. Getting your usual?”

My girlfriend and her friend were completely mind-boggled. It was the talk of a long, fart-filled car ride.

Her friend couldn’t figure out how some random counter clerk in a city I didn’t live in would know my name, until eventually concluding that she must have somehow remembered me from ten years ago, when I did live in that city. This was actually going to be my explanation; I was going to mention how I remembered way back when that counter clerk had been a skinny 16-year-old trainee. (It’s not unreasonable either; during my trip to Burger King the previous day, I actually did recognize the woman working the counter as being the same one who’d been there when I lived practically across the street more than a decade ago.)

My girlfriend, on the other hand, decided that the more likely explanation was that I’d been going to Taco Bell every day that week and, worse yet, had been spending that time flirting with the fat counter girls. This should be a sign of insane paranoia and jealousy, but sadly, I suppose it really isn’t that far off the truth.

5 Responses to ““The Usual””

  1. 1 Tyler Linn

    I don’t wanna be paranoid or nothing, but what are you going to do if it turns out she reads this? Man, you’d be in some serious boiling bananas then!

  2. 2 Scott

    I really enjoyed this story.

  3. 3 Peter Lynn

    Jay had the filthiest response to this when I sent it to him earlier.

  4. 4 Riley

    Well then hurry up and pique our interests so we can clamo(u)r for you to share this allegedly filthy response.

  5. 5 Tupps

    Hey man, what a read this was. It’s hucking filarious. I went to a carrefour once and the cashier greeted me by name. Then the security guard followed suit and did the same as I walked out the exit. Turns out that 6 months earlier we were all in the same graduating class.

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