Freudian Slips: Appetite for Self-Destruction

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

May 15, 2007

Appetite for Self-Destruction

All I wanted was a Taco Bell ½-pound bean burrito to quell a hungry stomach. I had been carrying around gads of disposable loose change in my car’s center console. I circled the building only to find the drive-thru closed. Strike one. So I parked in just the right spot of the side entrance to gauge the waiting lines for service. The lobby echoed empty. Without a line to hold up, I planned to use entirely loose coin to pay for my purchase. Putting embarrassment aside for the moment, I counted 150 pennies and foot raced to the counter with my wallet left purposely behind.
The silver haired senior citizen for a cashier greeted me with a venerable matronly smile. Not your typical Taco Bell employee by fifty years I thought to myself.
I apologized, “You’re going to hate me by the time I’m done this transaction. I left my wallet home and only have loose change to get by for the day.”
The woman patted my balled fists full of change. The tone of her voice breathed reassurance and empathy. “You have come to the right place. I am going to take care of you.”
Her wrinkled hand felt warm to the touch. I said, “Thanks for understanding.”
Before filling my order, she asked, “Do you want a second burrito for free?”
As if a school bus of passengers emptied in the parking lot, a line began forming to my immediate rear. I sorted through a pile of brown pennies and sparse silver on the counter top. I wanted to be anywhere but there.
I said sheepishly, “I barely have enough change for one burrito let alone two.”
“I said I was going to take real good care of you. The first one is free. I don’t know how hungry you are or when you last ate so I’m offering to front you another burrito on the house.”
I felt the need to shake my head to separate myself from the likes of a beggar. “I don’t want a free handout. I just want you to accept my loose change. Surely, this establishment can use loose change in the register.”
She probed, “Being without your wallet is a total inconvenience. I didn’t know if you had enough loose change for two burritos. That’s all I was saying.”
“One bean burrito will be plenty.”
Her charity magnified my white lie about leaving my wallet home. She bagged the burrito then handed me my order. She swept the money from the counter without even counting it. The coins clanged in the register compartments louder than penny slots at the casino. I started to walk away with plummeting eyes on a head hung down.
She hollered, “Sir, you forgot your change.”
I turned around and walked back towards the front of the line. “I gave you exact change.” I muttered. “I don’t have any change coming back to me.”
She gave me a hooded wink then whispered. “Sure you did.” She held up two crisp dollar bills for the taking.
I replied, “You’re mistaken. Don’t you remember the onslaught of pennies, nickels, and dimes?”
She raised her voice loud enough for every impatient hungry patron in line to hear. “Gas money. We will borrow from the till. You’re broke, remember.”
I high-tailed out of the restaurant too embarrassed to say anything. I got to my car and sped off. After fumbling with the wrapper, I bit the head off my Mexican burrito. Within a few chews, my taste buds let me know it was the wrong frigging order. There on the center console, my lump wallet laughed itself silly. Lies just eat at me.

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10 Comments:

Blogger mommanator said...

O JT why didnt you let the old lady be nice, sometimes we are that way ya know, its the mothering instinct! Who knows she may have been someones granny and you protested too much!

11:47 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

mommanator,
Taco Mama should have followed your lead to retirement. Send her an AARP card will ya?

1:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Obviously she hasn't bought gas in a while.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

2 for gas? hahaha

Cute story. I refuse to use change, so I throw all in the bottom of my purse till it gets heavy.

Have you tried Baja Blast soda at the Taco Bell? It's kind of yummy. I'm not a soda drinker, but I sipped some from my daughter's cup. It was interesting.

Glad I don't have a drive thru Taco Bell round here. I'd gain a couple of pounds!

11:49 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

ps how bout fixing your template so your posts aren't way down at the bottom? please. ;-)

11:50 AM  
Anonymous catherine Mary said...

Joe, Here's what I do. Use your bills for whatever it is you want. Take the change and put it in a jar. Save it for awhile. When you're going to the casino with Em,take your chnge to Commerce Bank, and cash it in. You will be surprised how much you have to gamble with. You get the feeling like you're playing with found money. You will never be embarrased again

3:11 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

anonymous,
you got that right.

jessica,
what do use for internet. i heard my blog created a problem with firefox. it reads perfect in internet explorer.

catherine mary,
making the trip tomorrow as a matter of fact.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

Oh maybe it is firefox. I have been using it lately. My son thinks it is better than internet explorer, although I'm not sure why.

9:53 AM  
Blogger e said...

Firefox runs much smoother than IE. Especially since IE decided to upgrade - the new version makes me crazy. Firefox has it's glitches too, tho.

The Commerce Bank idea is good. I did that one year at Christmas. When I saw how much those coins were worth, a bank worker came over and asked if I was ok. I must have looked totally shocked.

8:49 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

okay, Commerce bank it is.

6:06 PM  

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