Fat Sandwich Company

I work at Fat Sandwich Company. I’m the fastest delivery driver this state has ever seen. Order the Fat Milf and some Waffle Fries with Cheez Whiz, and you will hear me knocking at your front door before you can heat up a TV dinner.

I usually arrive at work ten minutes late. The boss forces me to wear an old lady’s night gown, because he thinks it will discourage my tardiness. The gown doesn’t bother me. I like the way its puke-green color brings out my eyes.

Each delivery is an adventure. Sometimes the street lights are out in the neighborhood and I can’t see the house numbers. If this happens, I look for the house with interior lights on. Let’s face it, not many people are awake at 2 a.m.

I don’t like knocking on doors. Unfortunately, I have to knock on many doors in my line of work. I didn’t always have a problem knocking. At first, I thought it was exciting. Is Sarah Goddington of Bishop’s Landing apartment 27C going to be hot? I wonder what she’s going to be wearing.

Sarah Goddington wasn’t hot. She weighed 350 pounds and had a mustache that made me jealous. She was wearing a low-cut cut-off Slayer T-Shirt and reeked of pot smoke.

After my first three weeks at Fat Sandwich Company, I abandoned all hope. If a girl orders a sandwich called the Fat Dutchie at two in the morning, fitness isn’t a big part of her life. For this reason, my fantasies never come true.

Overweight stoners are the least of my concerns. I sometimes wonder what my mom would say if she saw the places I went while on the job. She called me one night while I was working to tell me they’re recalling all Rodeo hotdog wieners and to make sure I haven’t eaten any. Ironically, when she called, I was on the wrong side of the tracks, so to speak. I have no problem with other ethnicities. If seven white men covered in tattoos and chains were gathered around my car checking out the stereo and rims, I would feel just as scared. Maybe they were going to check the air in my tires and investigate the sound quality of my stereo. I’m probably just being silly.

Every week, I have to deliver to a complex on the other side of Highway Nine. I’ll never forget the first time I went there. When I knocked on the door, a man answered. Pot smoke poured out of the apartment. There was so much of it that contact high was a threat just standing in the doorway. The food was 40 dollars.

I peeked past the man and into the apartment, though I knew I shouldn’t. A woman was lying on the couch with a different man. A blanket was draped over them. She was wearing an old T-shirt and probably nothing else. A third man sat three feet away in a recliner. The next time I delivered there, a fourth man was present. I guess it depends on how much money they can pay the woman. The men don’t live there. Just the woman. They are all business.

Now, here’s the heartbreaker. When the door opened, a four-year-old girl wearing only a diaper rushed to the door. She was clearly high. Her eyes weren’t focused. She tried to talk to me but it came out as a mumble. I dropped to one knee to ask her name. Her body was covered with a rash. Mommy can’t take you to the doctor because she’s working on the couch.

I wanted to cry. Every week they order food. Every week I have to look into those eyes. There’s not much I can do. People only call me when their sandwich contains unwanted condiments. I’m just a delivery guy.

Published in: on September 25, 2007 at 4:25 pm  Comments (1)  

My grandpa

My grandpa died this summer. He was killed working on his farm on a place called Beaver Mountain in Southeast Oklahoma. A tractor ran over him. He was old though, and that was the way he would have wanted it to go down.

I called him Papaw. As far back as I can remember, he always told me stories about his life. I’m 21 now, and the stories never got old. When he told a story, he had a way about him that made you block everything else out and listen.

He taught me what it meant to “work.” If you’ve never spent an entire day performing manual labor with a man that lived through the depression, I highly recommend the experience. The farm was always a mysterious place that brought things into focus for me. Whether it was the open pasture covered with ponds and grazing cattle or the stories he told me that always had a hidden moral, I do not know. Maybe it was a combination of the two.

The last time I saw him was a week before he died. I felt compelled to come see him. It was almost like God was telling me it would be my last chance. We talked for hours. He told me several more stories…but only one has dominated my mind since that day.

A preacher came to a new church that had a reputation for scaring off pastors. The new preacher was young and determined. Many people warned the preacher of two nasty brothers who had assaulted the last two preachers in the middle of their sermons. It was time for the young preacher to give his sermon. He opened his Bible and immediately noticed two men walking to the front. He knew these were the brothers they warned him about. The young preacher pulled a .45 from beneath the podium and said, “Today I’m gonna preach about hell and if you two boys don’t sit down, you’re about to go there.”

The story was amusing. I’ve been thinking a lot about it. I don’t know what to make of it. When the time is right, I’ll know. I told my grandpa goodbye and leaned down toward his massive recliner to hug him. He looked me in the eye as I leaned in. His eyes were the only part of his body that never aged. They were as clear as the day he was born.

“Kendall, I’m proud of you. I want you to know that. Keep doing what you’ve been doing.”

Those were the last words I ever heard him speak. I couldn’t ask for a better goodbye.

Published in: on September 6, 2007 at 11:25 pm  Comments (3)