Look, I don't want the KFC activists firebombing my house, but look, I am dedicated to the cause and that multinational conglomerate has been blowing my mind lately and not in a good way. What's up you may ask? What's Up? Three times, three times straight I've been rebuffed in my attempts to get my hands on some chicken at KFC.
Recently, with an art event distracting all of my usual more conscientious friends, I found myself heading home from Fry's Electronics - more of the iPod halo effect in my hands - and close to home, I thought I'd found a perfect opportunity to pop into KFC to pick up some chicken and a side of potato wedges. I'll admit, I double that side - I can't wait to get those wedges home, bathe them in malt vinegar and squish them between two slices of buttery white bread.
So. Took a couple of turns off PCH to Bellflower and Atherton, always a dodgy, dirty looking KFC I'd always thought. Damn! When I got there, the place had been boarded up - what about a going out of business sale. The big revolving bucket on the roof, derelict.
Now you know how it is, we're all americans here, right, and when we want something, when we get it into our heads - well we don't like to be disappointed.
I knew of a newer, fresher, cleaner KFC just a short drive away, beyond Lowe's, on Spring. One that properly reflects their reputation as the Chicken Capital USA. But by this time I was sort of watching the clock. I headed over there anyhow, pretty sure I could get a couple of regular breasts, a soda and some potato wedges home, and polished off, and the detritus outside into a neighbors trashcan before my friends all descended from the arts...
Arriving in their air conditioned splendor and no lines, I could truly taste their marketing, mmm, mantra, "Only KFC has so much tasty chicken, fresh from our kitchens, just for you." Friendly staff took my order. Two-piece chicken meal, with two sides of potato wedges, and substitute a second breast instead of the wing, no I don't mind paying extra. Chicken, Original. And a soda.
Then I waited. Then something very peculiar happened. There was a fuss, a small commotion. I was beckoned back to the counter by the still happy staff member. "We're out of Chicken. It will be 19 minutes before there is any more." Words to that effect because it was like hearing there had been a death in the family. Everything went black and I couldn't breathe. I stumbled over my words, but managed to get my money back. I didn't have time to wait I explained, my wife was coming home.
For a while I kept my refund receipt. Who has those? I've heard people talk of getting their money back from a fast food restaurant, never saw it happen.
Friday. On the way home from Jarhead. Andr?©e is going to Barbados for a few weeks soon, and so sort of slightly, is letting me get away with all sorts of things, things I wouldn't normally. So for dinner I outrageously requested that we go to KFC. Before I met her, she had never even been to a fast food restaurant.
Several wrong turns later and we arrive at the intersection of 7th and Termino...
Now this is unbelievable. You'd think we were at the Second Coming of the colonel himself. Either no word of the bird flu is getting through to the suburbs yet, or these people are out to get fried chicken while they still can. There are about 17 cars at the drive-thru', that's just crazy, so we have to walk-in.
The line inside is 12 deep and there's only one register open. And people are leaving with giant bags of food, bags about the size of small children. Truly. Massive amounts of take out food. They might want to consider an express window for mortal appetites. Not the appetites of the gods. So we wait...
We wait... And then I hear a whisper... Some type of chicken won't be happening for nine minutes, a customer is being told... He has a Treo. That's a phone. That's a comfort.
There's a debate, but I'm American and I want it, but Andr?©e is going to order something unorthodox. Sandwich something. And then there's anxiety - it seems that we might have bought too large a popcorn at the movies and now are cash poor. Andr?©e suggests I could get $5 of food and her nothing. But that's not what I came for, $5 of food and you know how the price quickly stacks up at KFC. Then, the mother of all disasters - from back where we are, and this is only an allegation... We see one of those truly despicable ATM machines mounted on the counter - suggesting to us that they won't take ATM cards, but we'll have to get cash from their ATM machine, incurring a $2 charge here and a further not a BofA ATM charge too. $4.00 in charges. And then, there, it ends. It had to. Even though we've been waiting in line for 10 minutes. Are starving. We leave. It's over once again.
We order a pizza from the car and it arrives at the house shortly after we do. An utterly bland $22 pizza for two. It's no Fried Chicken and Potato Wedges, that's for sure and their outrider has no cracked pepper with him. So we tip him anyway and he leaves.
Publisher, Lamontpaul founded outsideleft with Alarcon in 2004 and is hanging on, saying, "I don't know how to stop this, exactly."
Lamontpaul portrait by John Kilduff painted during an episode of John's TV Show, Let's Paint TV
Outsideleft exists on a precarious no budget budget. We are interested in hearing from deep and deeper pocket types willing to underwrite our cultural vulture activity. We're not so interested in plastering your product all over our stories, but something more subtle and dignified for all parties concerned. Contact us and let's talk. [HELP OUTSIDELEFT]
If Outsideleft had arms they would always be wide open and welcoming to new writers and new ideas. If you've got something to say, something a small dank corner of the world needs to know about, a poem to publish, a book review, a short story, if you love music or the arts or anything else, write something about it and send it along. Of course we don't have anything as conformist as a budget here. But we'd love to see what you can do. Write for Outsideleft, do. [SUBMISSIONS FORM HERE]