Taco Express

June 2, 2009
By jake buckholz BRONZE, Granbury, Texas
jake buckholz BRONZE, Granbury, Texas
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Thousands of years ago a bloody Indian War took place in what is now Granbury, Texas. The Witch Doctor of the Domahoochee tribe stood on the carnage filled battlefield. He saw the destruction war had caused, a war that had been fought for the very plot of land he stood on. This area was renowned for the thousands of buffalo that gathered here. So as he stood looking at the life lost because of these hallow grounds he was filled with anger and with sorrow. “May this place wither, may the great sun never shine here again, and let warmth and happiness be banished!”

A few decades ago a contractor stood in the exact same spot that the Witch Doctor had stood. “This is perfect, the highway’s right there! Yes, awesome location! We will build it here.” A team of construction workers broke ground and built up a building on the cursed ground that eventually became a Taco Express.

A little over a year ago I walked in to that place, completely unaware of its history, and along with my best friend, Donovan, asked for an application. On that very day we were both hired, and soon I returned for my first day.

As I walked through the doors for the first time as an employee I was incredibly ignorant of how very dark my next seven moths would be. I was stuck in the dish room that night, but I thought, Okay, this makes sense. It’s my first night. I’ll be out of here soon. I wasn’t. My first few months were spent in that room scraping dried beans and containers of nacho cheese that had been left out so long that the cheese molecules seemed to have combined with the molecules of the container to form a single mass that would not come off no matter how long or how hard I scrubbed. Every night dozens of dishes would tower up to form one breathtaking, reeking wall waiting to be washed.

I still remember getting into my car after that first night. I was exhausted. I hadn’t eaten or drank anything since lunch. I could feel my organs bouncing around in my empty pit of a stomach and I felt on the edge of dehydration. The water covering my shivering body was filled with millions of tiny particles of taco meat, cheese, beans, and sour cream. I told myself the next day would be better simply because I didn’t believe it could get any worse.

Something I learned from my time at Taco Express is that life is a never ending slippery slope and no matter how bad things might seem they can always get worse. So of course my second day was worse then my first, and my third was worse then my second, in fact, every day of my employment was progressively worse then the day before.

Now the days Donovan and I were scheduled together were almost bearable. However, my boss decided we “goofed off” too much when we worked together and soon we were put on opposite schedules. I was left alone to fend for myself.

With no distractions left, I had nothing to do but work. Sadly my prowess for the taco business began to show and I was given more and more responsibility. Within a few months I was one of the fastest employees on the line making food, but I had also been taught how to use the register and to run drive thru, and I had really built up some skill in the dish room. Because of this surplus of skills my boss could not figure out where to put me and on more than on occasion I took the orders at the counter and the drive thru, then I would make the food for those orders, hand them out, and then wash my own dirtied dishes.

My hard work did not go unnoticed. Then again, it couldn’t. There were nine cameras in that tiny building that tracked my every move. My reward for all that hard work? Twenty-five cent raises. Sadly, all those extra quarters never made it any easier to return to work day in and day out.

Finally, one night as I was lowering my stale, dry bean stained body into my car, which now smelled of taco rot, something deep inside me clicked. I had been beaten into a depression by this place and I had to get out. The thought of even one more day in that place made me sick. I was determined to get another job, but I was too eager. I quit before being hired anywhere else. Still though, as I pushed open those doors and walked out of Taco Express I embraced unemployment with a huge smile on my face.

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