Everything had been nothing short of crappy the past few months. I lost my job at the airport when I got busted playing with my Game Boy instead of mindlessly checking bags. I was forced to get a job a “Sterk’s Super Foods” a couple of miles from my house. The job sounded okay at first… bagging groceries and grabbing carts for the minimalist of wages and all. But upon working there for a week, more jobs were piled me. Mopping the disgusting bathroom floors for instance. Filled condoms, used toilet paper, and dirty magazines everywhere. All of which had to be picked up by hand. Made you sick just looking at it. And for a place that served food, it wasn’t very clean. They took some of the meat and fruit that had been eaten by mice, repackaged it, and put it on the bargain rack. The place constantly reeked of fish, which was strange because we didn’t serve fresh fish. I never even wanted to eat in the break room because it smelled a little worse then the bathroom at the Randolph street stop. So, I ended up eating outside, no matter how damn cold it might have gotten. I’d much rather be near that wine-o that lived under the bench that sold crack anyway.
One day, I was eating my bagged lunch during my fifteen minute break and that wine-o, Rudy, walked up to me.
“Change your mind today? I’m running a special.” He said.
I smiled, “No, I got enough problems already. Thanks for the offer though.”
“No problem. I know how it is, working and all.”
I glared at him, “Sure you do.”
“Seriously, I’ve worked around lots of idiots and assholes my entire life. So I just said, screw it. I quit, and I’m gonna go places in life. That’s what made the man you see before you today.”
There was an awkward silence, “Is that supposed to be a good thing.” I said.
“I guess, I can’t tell the difference between night and day no more no how… It’s the last day I’m gonna be here. I’m moving on. To the promised land.”
“Wacker Drive? I hear they got heat down there now.”
“No,” Rudy said, “Taco Island.”
I stared “Taco Island?”
Rudy stood up, “Yeah man, it’s the fabled promised land, home to the bottomless well of Tortillas. And the rare taco shrubs and Burrito trees. And a fountain drink dispenser that doesn’t produce foam… but it’s still carbonated.”
I looked at my watch, “Wellp… my break is over. I’ll be seeing ya.”
Rudy slipped a piece of paper in my pocket.
“Follow it to the land of many tacos my brother. I’ll see you there.” He said.
If he was going to be there it will become the paradise that Hawaii is now.
When I got back inside, my supervisor, Chris was waiting for me. Wait a second… he’s not my supervisor. He’s not even supposed to be here! What’s going on?
“You’re fifteen seconds late from break.” He said with a cheesy, corn-fed grin on his face. The man was out to get me, I swear it.
“Yeah Chris,” I said, “I kinda got caught up out there.”
“Make sure that shit doesn’t happen again or you’re fired. Understand shitbag?”
Not only did this blowhard not have the authority to fire me. He didn’t even have the authority to write my schedule. But I held my head down in clocked back in.
I went back to work. I asked people if they wanted paper or plastic, and was frustrated beyond belief when idiots asked for both.
At about 2:45 PM, one lady wanted a little too much from me in terms of bagging.
“Hello young man,” she said nicely. “I want everything in one bag. But I don’t want the bag to be too heavy.”
I shuttered. “But that’s not possible. It has to be one or the other.”
The lady threw her purse down, “You listen to me young man! I’m your elder! You obey me!”
Joan, my boss intervened and told me to go outside and grab carts. I wasn’t too thrilled to ever go outside, with the liquor store next door and everything.
I pushed open the “automatic” door and went towards the carts scattered about the parking lot. The lot was on a slope, so carts would roll to their doom if you didn’t set them up right.
As I said before, we were located right next to a liquor store… and sometimes people like to drink before they drive off. I remembered this when an Escalade came barreling towards me. I dived over a lime Cavalier as carts scattered everywhere. People stared, and my co-workers were cracking up. At least the male ones were.
“Fuck all of this shit!” I yelled. Then went inside to the upstairs office to talk to Joan. She was a tad perturbed that her best puppy was leaving.
“We need you here,” she said, “We couldn’t have gotten this far without you. You’re the only bagger that actually works around here.”
Joan was fidgeting in her chair and looking out the one way window at the store below us.
“Sorry,” I said. “I’m that employee that will eventually get to the point that they brutally sodomise you and burn your house down.”
Mercedes, my supervisor was counting some drawers behind me, when I said that very stupid phase, she turned around.
“Joe, I’m with you on that one, I see you going crazy down there. But you shouldn’t quit, you’re a nice guy. I just wish you were older.”
A very uncomfortable thing for your supervisor to say to you… ever…
“Uh, thanks Mercedes, but I think I’ll leave.”
I did quit, I know had a new mission. I went home and pawned everything I owned… except for my sombrero because it’s cool and filled up my red hobo stick with all the root beer I could. But for some root beer and hobo cloth don’t go well together. As I walked down the paved path to adventure, I looked back at Sterk’s, then preyed death upon the idiots that worked there.
Three hours later, I had rented my boat and floated out to sea… or should I say the lake. It had a hole here and there, but on a bagger’s budget… you can’t buy much.
As the shore got smaller and smaller, the bat sank deeper and deeper. An hour passed, and the boat was nearly submerged. I cupped my hands and tried to lose some, but no luck. I began to go under, but no luck. As I talk my last breath, I took in some water, but it tasted strange.
“Salsa! It’s taco bell salsa!” I screamed.
There was an island out in the distance; the smell of meat filled the air. I had finally found home. I hopped into the fiery sea and went for it. The sea burned my eyes. I couldn’t see. Man I did I want a large soft drink of my choice right then. I feel on the shore and got a mouthful of sand.
“Kick ass! Cinnamon twists.”
Tired from the swim I decided to take a nap on the cinnamon sand. But my dream had finally come true. A place I could call my own. Taco Island.
As I came to and cinnamon favored sand, I saw two shadows above me.
“Hey! Dog, the dude’s up.” A high, nasally voice said. “Don’t forget about those seasonings.”
Another figure walked up to me and licked my face.
I sprung up, “Hey, who are you morons? I thought I got away from Sterk’s management.”
I was surprised to find an orange cat and a blue dog in front of me. The dog was holding a book called “To Serve Man.”
What do you intend to do with that? I said.
“We were going to eat you. But since you’re still alive, we’re just gonna wait until… One, you kill yourself. Two, the Enrique, the Taco King would. He’s bored from the serious lack of wars going on.”
“He defeated the Burger King in mortal combat. Used maxi pads and magazines everywhere… very tasty when you put salt on them.”
I walked over to a palm tree and sat down. The animals followed my “Okay, just who are you two?” I said.
“I’m Nacho. And the dog… He’s Dog, my dawg from da west side.”
“That’s it. I’m outa here.” I said. I started to walk towards the sea again. But stopped when I heard a bell.
Nacho and Dog froze.
“The Taco Bell…” Nacho said.
“What the hell are you talking about?”
Dog laughed, “Someone’s about to get executed! I hope its death by Burrito’s again. The last dude literally shit himself to death. It was so funny.”
Come on to town at least man! Maybe we can get you ride home.” Nacho said, and then he ran into the woods after dog. I took off after them.
The woods smelled of restaurants, like many meats mixed together in an orgy of mouth watering goodness. Hey was, that a taco?
I stopped and picked a taco off one of the trees. It wasn’t hot.
Nacho ran back to me, “Hurry up! Or we’ll miss it! Besides, the tacos aren’t ripe yet. They’ll give you the runs for sure.”
When we reached the town, it resembled that of a suburban “downtown” area. Buildings looked like they were about fifty-plus years old and still had those billboards that were painted on the side. Everyone was assembled around the town square. I and Nacho shoved our way to the front. And on his knees a few feet from me was Rudy, the lovable bum.
“Hey there man. As you can see I ran into a little trouble. But remember I’m…
“Going places… I know.” I said. “Looks like you’re going to be dead in a few minutes. See ya.”
Rudy grabbed my leg, “You can’t leave me here. I’ll stop selling fake watches! I promise!”
A giant taco-man stepped between me and Rudy.
The taco-man was equipped with two giant eyes in the middle of its shell.
“Step back infidel!” It yelled.
“Aw, shit.” I said, “A talking taco. My worst nightmare has come true.”
Dog nudged me from behind, “Dude shut up… That’s how your buddy got in this predicament.”
“My friend is a dumb ass.” I said, “And I’m not letting some Mexican side dish boss me around!”
“Is that so?” Taco-Man said.
I stepped up closer to it. “Yeah, because I am a Untied States citizen! I have the right to be where I want, when I want and how I want. And as a human being, I assume you all feel the exact same way.”
When I woke up, I was in a jail cell. Nacho and Dog were outside the bars.
“You’re in deep shit now bro.” Nacho said. “But you did save that bum. I’m proud of you for standing up to that jerk. Not many folks around here have balls like that.”
“You mean like the ones I can’t feel?” I said, “Where is that guy anyway? I need to kick his ass.”
Dog looked at the cell next to mine; Rudy was in there, drinking the water out of a toilet.
“It tastes better then that boxed wine I get!” Rudy said.
I threw my head, “You idiot! They’re probably getting ready to drip us to some bubbling cauldron of doom, or make us eat Arby’s.”
“Arby’s!?” Rudy said, “We gotta get outa here now!”
Nacho grabbed the bars, “There is someplace you can go… but it’s risky. It’s called Chalupa Mountain.”
I hit my head on the wall, “Another Mexican dish themed location. What’s the name of this town away? Burritoville?”
Nacho and Dog turned away a little and scratched their heads.
I stood up “That’s it, I’m getting outa here. Open the gates will ya Nacho and Dog?”
Dog looked around, “There are cameras everywhere. Unless Nacho distracts the guards.”
“Already done,” Nacho interrupted, “I gave them a DVD of the original episodes of ‘Ultraman’. They’re not gonna be waking up for a while.”
The bars sprang open and we all ran outside. It was dark now, and only the glare of the streets pierced the fog.
“So…” Rudy said, “We going to that mountain?”
“We don’t have any other choice.” I said, “I’m guessing Nacho and Dog will be coming with us.”
“Not me…” Dog said, “I have a Jinga tournament in the morning. Winner gets out of rehab! So I’ll see you around.”
Dog walked into the darkness and disappeared.
“Well, looks like it’s just us.” Nacho said. “Onwards!”
Nacho, with his excellent night vision lead us on our journey though the forest. Stopping only every hour or two to eat some ripe tacos from the trees. As day broke, we spotted a large mass blocking the sun.
“That’s Chalupa Mountain.” Nacho said, “There might be a way for you guys to get out of here up there.”
I continued to stare at the mountain, “Thanks Nacho. We’ll take it from here.”
Me and Rudy began to walk towards the mountain. Nacho followed.
“Damn it cat!” Rudy said, “We said you could go home!”
Nacho frowned, “I kinda just gave some cops a seizure. I can’t show my face back there. So I’m gonna go back to the USA with you guys. They have talking cats there don’t they.”
“Yeah!” Rudy said, “I hear cats talking all the time.”
“Uh, yeah…” Nacho said, “But if we’re gonna go anywhere, we got get to the Master’s Keep at the top of the mountain.
So… there you have it, our adventure continues, up the mountainside. Chalupa Mountain was really strange; it was like a hard shell taco and crumbled as we climbed.
“Damn,” I said, “How much farther do we have to go?”
Nacho looked down on me from a ledge overhead, “It’s only a few dozen feet. We’ll be done in no time flat.”
After another good hour or two of climbing. We came upon the summit.
“A couple feet huh Nacho?” Rudy said.
Nacho looked around “I could have been off by a couple of yards…”
Rudy collapsed on his knees, “Yards my ass!”
There was a sign in front of us that said, “To Burritoville,” and pointed down a path.
I looked at Nacho, “Let me get this shit straight… you had us climbing up a near vertical slope for over an hour and a half, when there’s a path with concession stands right next to us?”
Nacho looked around, “So what’s your point? We got to pet the goat on the way up.”
“I say we eat him!” Rudy said, “And make chili… and potato salad. We could make sandwiches!”
Nacho frowned, “I think I’m worth a little more then that. If I’m eaten, I refuse to be slathered between two rolls like I was at ‘Subway’. I demand to be put between two slices of Quiznos Chabota bread. You know how many herbs and spices they used? Huh!?”
I stepped between the bickering twosome, “Guys, guys, I’m sure if we put our heads together, we can think off…”
I noticed something, “Hey! A Walgreen’s!”
Yes, even on a mountain on some lost island, there’s a Walgreen’s. For when the world isn’t always perfect. Proudly serving the United States of America.
As we came though the automatic doors, we were greeted by the trademark elevator music and those “As Seen on TV” items. You could get refreshing “Walgreen’s” beverages or pick up your prescription in the drive through. But however, Nacho informed us on way this wasn’t any normal, everyday Walgreen’s.
“They have sport coats in here.” He said. And put on a loud yellow one that fit Nacho perfectly, “Do I look sexy in this. Tell me true.”
“No, it is loud and obnoxious you dumb ass!” someone said in the next aisle.
Nacho looked around angrily “What the hell? Nobody clowns Nacho!”
Nacho ran into aisle five, the deodorant aisle and froze. Me and Rudy followed close behind.
“What’s wrong cat?” Rudy said.
Nacho was shivering, “Its Enrique… the Taco King!”
“ Looks like my Right Guard will have to wait…” Enrique said.
“So we finally meet.” Rudy said.
“Holy cream of wheat!” Enrique said, “It’s the Pasta Master!”
“Yes,” Rudy said, “I am the pasta master, for I have finished the leftover pasta! Except for one bowl. A bowl which was stolen from me when I was but a child. Without that bowl, I was forced into exile in the pit of the earth, ‘Sterk’s Super foods’… but I planned to get my revenge, then go back in time and live a better life using your time control technology!”
“Uh… Rudy” I said, “He’s a asleep.”
The Taco King had fallen asleep during the monologue.
Rudy was angry a little bit, “Wake up you stupid idiot…! Ahem… as I was saying… I challenge you to mortal combat!”
“Techno Syndrome” started playing in the background for some reason…
“I accept your challenge mortal!” Enrique said.
Enrique and Rudy both ran outside, I decided this would be a good time for me and Nacho to check on this “time machine.”
“Where would they be?” I said.
“Aisle 13, next to the hemorrhoid cream.” Nacho said.
So, after picking up some hemorrhoid cream, we check out the time machine.
“According the manual” Nacho said, “This newer model uses “Terminator” rules, the model you can reserve uses “Back to the Future” rules, and the older model uses “Time Rider” rules that are just plain stupid.”
Just then, Rudy came sliding on his back down the aisle.
“I’m sorry, I’ve failed.” He said. “He chucked… so many burgers at me… that Ultimate Double Whopper… so damn many calories… damn you cows for you burgers and your cheese! Damn all cows to cow hell! Whatever the hell cow hell might be! Aw… hell. What the hell, I’m saying hell to much. Hell with it.
Enrique walked towards us with two “Double Whoppers” in his hands.
“It’s feeding time. Open wide!” He said.
“That many calories will go straight to your ass. Very unhealthy…” Rudy said. “Get away while you still can…”
“No,” I said, “I wouldn’t have gotten to appreciate where I came from if it weren’t for you. I owe you one.”
“Then focus inside your heart. Bring out your inner junk food… my pasta was healthy, so it had no effect. Maybe you’ll have better luck. Cheese master…”
That’s right kids. I was the destined cheese master who was to bring balance to the universe. I closed my eyes and I could see a can of aerosol cheese. I put my hands in front of me and screamed really loud. They do that in Anime, so it must increase power or some shit. Anyways, a huge blast of cheese came from my hand and hit Enrique.
“Cheddar cheese! That ruins tacos! No! I’m melting! So Americano! No me gusta! Donde esta es me pantalones?”
He melted in with the cheese right before my eyes. It was pretty cool actually.
Rudy surveyed the defeat, “Well, I guess I can finally take control of this island and rule it with an iron fist. Enjoy Sterk’s shitbags.”
Rudy picked both of us up and threw us in one of the old model time machines. Then everything went black.
When I woke up, I was in front of Sterk’s. With a Lime Cavalier next to me. Joan was standing over me.
“Fucking drivers.” She said, “You okay Joe?”
“Yeah… I’m not dead am I?” I said.
“ No, now go on home. You’ve had quite a bit of a shock.”
I sat up on the curb. “Yes… I think I’ll do that.”
Joan opened the front door and turned around “And Mercedes has the hots for you. You know that right? She wants to know if you’re okay.”
I was suddenly feeling a lot better about then and ran all the way home. When I got home. Nacho was waiting for me.
“Damn it furrball!” I said, “How the hell did you find my house?”
Nacho stared at me and meowed, eyes begging for affection. Then he snorted and walked away.
“From now on, things will be different.” I said, “I’m gonna see what other things I can do with these cheese powers.”