Chapter 15

I’m so hungry I could. . . Oh my God. . . I see something yellow. I feel a surge of energy. As I get closer, two large yellow arches begin sticking out from behind their hiding place beside a large building. What a beautiful sight. I think I hear a choir of angels singing. When did I start running? Who cares; I am so starving. . . and melting.

I rush past people leaving the restaurant, fling open the front door and scramble inside. I never thought I’d miss the smell of hamburgers and French fries so much. Wait a minute. What’s this? The menu is in Spanish? Are you kidding me? The sign is in English.

Okay, no problem. I speak restaurant Spanish. I can figure this out. Okay I’m looking for a Big Mac. You can’t say that in any other language. Big Mac. . .  Big Mac. . .  Grande Mac—that’s it!  Tried to trick me eh? Oh, wait—there are a bunch of little paper menus in English on this table.

Wait a minute. Now that the menu is in English, why is the money still in Spanish? That only helps me half-way. Somebody should tell that Kroc dude it’s either all or nothing for us Gringo’s. If someone doesn’t speak Spanish, they probably don’t comprenday pesos either. Look at these prices. It feels funny to spend over four hundred of anything for a hamburger. Okay, my turn. “Yo quiero dose Grande Macs y uno Pepsi grande por favor.”

“Hey, great Spanish.”

“Oh, you speak English.”

“Duh- McDonalds.”

“Duh- Mexico.”

“Duh—ochenta y cuatro dólares y bayntay says veintiséis centavos por favor.”

“What?”

“I didn’t think so.”

Great, I’m getting talked down to by a McDonalds worker in Mexico. That just made my day.

“Oh, American dollars, who would have guessed?

I think I’ll just keep my mouth shut and wait for my food. She is bagging it right now. Everyone is in uniform and working away, floors clean, everything is in good repair. Red tile floors, just like at Taco Bell. Somebody probably made a lot of money selling red tile to all the restaurants of the world.

“Here you go, Señor! Next?”

Ahhh, this smells so much better than beans. There’s an empty table over there by the window. Let’s see if the food is the same as back home. That’s what a franchise is all about, right? Consistency. Looks good. . . Smells normal. I take a big bite, chew it a few times and the old familiar flavors—what the. . . hot! hot, hot. . . jalepenos?  What am I going to do with a mouth full of acid?  I spit my mouthful of half-chewed burger onto the table in front of me. I sip on my soda with the same intensity as a fireman putting out a three-alarmer.

That’s better. Who the heck would put. . . oh yeah, Mexico; they probably put jalepenos in everything.

Where’s that cashier. . .  She sees me, and her smile got a little bigger. No problem. I open up the burger and take the offending peppers out. I notice the Mexican guy at the table next to me is putting them in his burger. His jalepenos are on the side in a small plastic cup. Mine were inside. . . I look back at the cashier who suddenly looks very busy, even though there’s nobody in line at the moment. Okay, rule number one: don’t piss off the cook before she makes your food. That is rule number one anywhere. God! I go to Mexico and immediately lose forty or fifty I.Q. points.

Oh well, at least the soda tastes normal. Too bad it’s almost gone.

I look straight ahead at a large and very pale Mexican lady, dressed in a large red Moo moo, or sarong, or whatever you call those things that wrap around you like you just rolled out of bed, taking a very colorful sheet with you. She has dozens of packets of hot sauce. Hot sauce? They have hot sauce at Mc. . . Mexico, I keep forgetting. In here, all the decor, the smells, the colors, tables, everything is just like in America—except for the menu’s, but if you don’t try to read them, you’d swear you were in the US, except for the jalapeños and hot sauce. She’ll never even taste that chicken.

I kind of expected to see more Americans in here. Bummer. I would have liked someone to talk to.

The workers here are good. The floors are clean, the tables shine, the signage is neat, the ceiling—ah, is that lint I see on the ceiling bosoms? Yep, not quite as detail oriented as we are back home. The windows look good, and I don’t remember seeing any litter outside, but then again I was pretty much focused on getting inside once I saw those big yellow arches.

Those Big Macs went quick. Okay, now the final test. Let’s see what their bathrooms look like. . . or do I dare? I just ate. Oh well, I gotta go. That Pepsi is running right though me.

 

It’s still hot as hell outside. I have to jump to my right to dodge a guy with large mad eyes running into McDonalds. That’s probably what I looked like when I found this place. I guess this happens all the time around here. They should seriously think about putting the arches higher, or hanging over the street or something.

Now which way do I go?

 

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Mike J Quinn About Mike J Quinn
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