If you’re at Union Square and you hear someone say “I’m going to the cafeteria!” or “Meet me at the Union Square cafeteria!” they’re talking about the 14th Street Taco Bell. Union Square’s the playground and Bell’s the cafeteria. That’s just common park knowledge, and when you get there you’ll see why.
So I’m walking into the cafeteria and the place is packed. Noisy and packed, like a fucking high school lunchroom. Now, if you’re a regular like I am you know the line to order your food is in a winding S shape on the right, and after you order you take your receipt and wait for your food in the chaotic mob on the left. However, on this particular day they’ve got two separate aisles formed to order your food. Straight lines in front of two different registers, except right now there’s just one line formed and the other one is left empty. There’s about eight people standing there, to which I get at the end.
Not long after, in comes four loud meatheads. They’re in some kind of blue collar uniform, like they’re movers, or repairmen or something. They walk right up past us in line into the empty lane to our right where no one’s waiting. A register opens and there they are skipping ahead of us all, laughing at their cleverness. “I told you guys you wouldn’t have to wait if you’re with me!” one of them shouts. And they’ve got no problem whatsoever looking back at the rest of us waiting there like chumps.
Of course no one in line has balls enough to say anything because not only is it a fucking 3rd world country inside this place with no policing, but these guys are big and obnoxious. A few people in front of me are grumbling, but not enough to make any kind of real statement. All the while they’re laughing and taking their sweet time making their order. Of course the people who work there don’t give two shits about any injustice that happens in the lines, or anywhere on earth for that matter. “Just order your fucking food, hand over your money and get out of my face” is the policy at the Bell.
The real line, our line, chugs along slowly while these assholes ask what’s the ingredients in a Chalupa, how much is a burrito supreme, and changing their minds several times because they’re fucking idiots. Of course now there’s only one register to help our line, and to make matters even worse a line forms behind these douchebags making it obvious to everyone it’s going to be forever.
Anyhow, these guys take so much time that the eight people in front of me all get taken care of and they’re still there. They finally finish and the girl behind the counter has to point them where to go to wait. “Fucking idiots” I think to myself, and I walk up to finally place my order.
Now, any park rat knows the drill at the cafeteria. You order your food, take your receipt, and wait impatiently for your number to be called so you can take your food and get the fuck out of there. It’s Taco Bell 101. But when I get to the register to order my Double Decker Supreme, sitting there like a golden fucking ticket is their receipt. The girl had put it in the guy’s hand, and like a fucking amateur he left it behind because “what the fuck do I want that shit for?” I can hear the voice in his head declare.
Without a second thought I palm that innocent looking slip of paper, order my food, TAKE MY RECEIPT, and join the pile of people bunched up on the left.
There’ve got to be 20 people here on their tip-toes listening for their number to be shouted. The four assholes are standing in front of the Pepsi machine banging their cups under the ice dispenser but getting no ice. And instead of going to the other dispenser two feet to the right they each have a go at it. Still no ice for any of them. These guys are in way over their heads.
I’m staying perfectly calm, because if there’s one thing I’m going to get right in this world it’s going to be making life as much of a nuisance for them as I possibly can.
“404!” I hear the girl yell. These guys aren’t paying any attention to what’s going on as they laugh at how funny they are, talking about pussy and how they’re starving to death. It’s music to my ears. I work my way up to the front as “406!” is called. That’s my taco/burrito and I hand over my receipt. I see over to where they’re bagging food and theirs is enough to feed twenty bums. I look over my shoulder. They’ve got not a clue they’re about to get fucked. And when that shopping bag is brought to the counter they don’t even have to say the number. I’m already looking into her eyes with the receipt in hand. She takes it, sees “405,” knows I am clearly the proper recipient, and hands me everything without any doubt whatsoever. As I walk by them their words echo in my head, “I told you guys you wouldn’t have to wait.”
At the exit is your typical bum holding the door open, his other hand out for a donation. I give him the feast-bag and say, “Merry Christmas” then head on over to the outdoor tables on the west side of Union to feed my hunger.
I regret not staying there to watch what happened and savor my revenge even further. No one would have probably even remembered who took what wherever. But afterwards, when I was sharing my adventure with Shaggy, I was able to decipher what probably happened after I was out the building, and I’m sure it went something like this:
They stood there for a long-ass time without a clue what the next step in their complicated trip to Taco Bell was supposed to be. They waited and waited until one of them got brains enough to go up and say “Where’s our food?” To which they would have responded “Do you have your receipt?” To which they would have responded “WHAT RECEIPT?!?” And instead of not having to wait like their friend had promised, they all were forced to stand there in that stink longer than anyone else while everything they ordered was made all over again as the pains of hunger ate their guts.