I stood there watching them come in. Like cattle walking in line towards the slaughterhouse. More like cattle heading to the feed trough. How could people be so fat, see that fatness, and not be so disgusted that they never stepped foot into another Luigi’s Sandwich Shop again? I guess maybe my wake up call was different; having said wake up occur in a puddle of vomit a few months earlier. It was after a hardcore night of writing and drinking. I got so drunk that I didn’t even know I had written anything until two weeks later. I was pitching an article idea to Marvin Van Buren, editor in chief for The fastest growing libertarian news website, Identifying Liberty when he told me about the article and I had to look it up on my cloud to figure out what he was talking about. So I finally decided to stop drinking, although I still wanted to. But I’d gotten fat, so I took on a paleo diet and lowered my carb intake. Even stopped smoking (as much) weed. I loved booze but I also like getting laid, and bald white guys with a gut do not get the hotties.
I shuffled the customers in and out, trying to act as indifferent as possible in the hopes they wouldn’t talk to me. But it never works… I saw the one, fat like the rest and bald, but not like me. He was fat with no neck. Just fat rolls on the back of his head (the only place that had any hair). The little bit of hair he had remaining was greasy and not well kept. If it were longer, it would be snarled. He spoke first.
Hi, if you need to place an order…
He interrupted me before I could finish, but I knew he would. He never once looked at the kiosk where the customer is supposed to place his order. I knew he didn’t see it. But he robbed me of the chance to make him feel stupid. Shit, my blood pressure was rising. It always rose when I became aggravated, and I was always aggravated by people. God, why did I quit drinking?
Let me have a…
If you need to place an order sir, you will need to do it on the kiosk.
As I pointed to the screen, his look was one of shock rather than anger. Damn it, this easy-going motherfucker doesn’t have an angry bone in his body. I stood back and waited for his next reaction. He gave a couple confused looks – like maybe he was going to ask a question on how to order – but ultimately powered through on his own. The order came through to my screen. 6 large original Italians on white with banana peppers, jalapeños, Greek and black olives, American cheese, mayo, honey mustard, Italian dressing and ranch dressing… Jesus Christ, this fucker is going to die right in front of me! I splayed out the six large Italian rolls on the board and began my work. He spoke again…
What’s your name, kid?
I pointed to my name tag, he squinted.
I can’t see it.
My name is Mac, sir.
Do you like being a sandwich maker?
I’m not a sandwich maker, I’m a writer.
No shit? Have you been published?
What do you write?
Libertarian politics and philosophy mostly. I am trying to…
Man, I don’t get the libertarians. No offense if you are one. Are you?
Well, all I know is that you need to elect better people than that Lenny Thompson guy. He didn’t even know that city.
I knew what he was referencing. During the 2016 election, our choices were a rich New York billionaire that talked out of his ass or a sidewinding, lying cunt (who was also a rich New Yorker). I chose a southwestern former Republican. He seemed honest. He was a member of the same party as me, was smart with money (not like me) and most of all, wanted to legalize marijuana. Unfortunately, he was on some news show with some leftist asshole that tripped him up. I decided to play dumb with this guy.
You know, that city in the Middle East where all that stuff is happening. What’s it called? Alpo? Like the dog food, perhaps?
That’s the one!
He said it like he had me. Like it was a “gotcha” moment.
Is there a particular reason we should be over there, sir?
His face stopped dead. He was clearly not expecting a retort. It seemed like a man who wasn’t expecting a challenge in this discussion. Like a man going through the motions of his daily chores when something goes horribly wrong. I pictured him back in his hometown (wherever that was) getting into these debates and such with the area children and smiling confidently as the others cowered and didn’t challenge him. But I would challenge him. I had no fear. I knew I could replace this job in a day if I wanted to. He replied.
Well, I guess no reason. Yeah, that kinda makes sense. It’s not our fuckin’ fight. Not bad, kid. Usually, people don’t prove me wrong.
I only asked a question. There was no right or wrong. But if you agree that our tax dollars are wasted on fighting others fights, then good.
My confidence seemed to please him as he nodded in approval. But then it happened. It always happens, especially with the older ones.
Now if you guys would stop thinking dope is ok.
Dope! You know; wacky tobaccy! What do the kids call it now?
Well yeah, but what is the slang?
Yeah, weed! That’s it! The last thing we need is more of that.
Do you think the current laws are keeping anyone from using?
… so much anger in his face. He spoke.
But that’s not how you should look at it. If the government says its okay, what’s going to stop kids from using it?
What’s stopping them from doing it now, sir?
He got angry, quick! First, his forehead turned red…. It was delicious. The first crack in his concrete constitution was there. Now to hammer on it. I handed him his sandwiches and continued…
Sir, prohibition created the American Mafia (more like made it powerful, but I could tell he didn’t know). It’s the same as gun laws. The more we prohibit them, the bigger the black market that sells them will get.
Now he was pissed….
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!!! Hey everyone, this guy wants to give drugs to kids and take away your guns.
I did NOT expect that one from him… maybe his wife is cheating on him.
You’re a fucking commie!
I want to talk to your manager.
Without even responding, I went and got the store manager, Rick. He was already shaking his head when I got to his office. Something tells me he was watching from his office. He followed me out to the floor, walked over to the man and began.
Sir, What seems to be the problem.
Your employee wants to give drugs to kids.
Luckily, my boss read most of my articles. I knew this would be over in a second.
Sir, I’ve read Mac’s work, he doesn’t wanna give kids drugs.
I want him fired!
I could feel it bubbling up inside me now, and my boss knew it. He looked over at me with a look that said “please don’t do this, Mac… please!!!”
Sir, if you would like I can give you your order, free of charge.
I SAID I WANT HIM FIRED!!! FIRED, FIRED, FIRED! Are you fucking DEAF!?
My boss whipped around to check my face… I could feel the heat coming off my own face… Hold it together, Mac… you can do this.
ARE YOU FUCKING RETARDED, FIRE THIS DRUG DEALING PIECE OF.
Oh shit!…here it comes…
FUCK YOU CHUBBY CHECKER! I didn’t say I wanted kids to get high. I am saying that …
Mac, please ju…
Not now, Rick!
He backed off…he knew it was too late at this point. Best to let me roll with it and let the dice fall as they will.
All I am saying is that people have a right to do what they want with their bodies if they aren’t harming people. Now, I am sorry for yelling at you. We are offering you a free meal. I’ll eat a write up for this. Sir, this is a win for you and a loss for me. Take the W, please.
Eat shit you fucking criminal…
He turned to walk out. And I could have let him. I really could have. But I also really couldn’t. Not this time. Not that I was finally in a position to quit this job. Finally, be done and leave in a blaze of glory. I ran around the corner of the sandwich shop. My boss had his face in his hands by now. I yelled at the customer.
Hey, fat fuck! One more thing…
He whipped around, he had a look… was this it? Was he going to take a swing? I balled up my first, just in case.
Just so you know, the people smoking weed in this country are not having their product subsidized. They are paying in the only free-market in this country. Unlike the ham in those six sandwiches you got that are clearly ALL for you… unlike the cigarettes, you just bought, and CERTAINLY unlike that EBT card I just watched you ring out with.
I need this card! I’m a veteran!
You need a diet, you’re an asshole!
What happened next was the proudest moment of my life. A moment I will relive a thousand times in my head. Shit!; I might even novelize it for one of my political autobiographical short stories. I looked down as my phone buzzed. It was from my colleague, Duke Harrelson from The Libertarian Revelator. It was a multi-person thread from some of the most admired young libertarian writers from the US and across the globe. Another libertarian news website, Identifying Liberty (same one as before), was putting together a multi-author book and they wanted me to contribute also. Me!; Macalister MacArthur Jackson-Smith, and after a little over a year as a writer, I now had the shot at being a true blue published author! Granted, I had to share the glory with a bunch of other guys. But I still had more going for me than any other fuck-stick at this dump. So I did it. I turned to my boss and spoke.
I quit! People like this fat ass piece of shit is the reason!
As I walked out, the weight that came off my shoulders felt incredible. I had defended my principles, defended the right of others to govern their bodies, and stood up for myself…. And left a shitty job!
Oh shit! I am unemployed and everyone in Woodstock just saw that outburst… how am I going to work in this town now? I knew what I had to do…I pulled my phone out of my pocket and dialed.
My good friend Will Wallace was like Morgan Freeman from Shawshank Redemption… could always find what I was looking for.
What up, bro?
I just quit my job. It just hit me that I am unemployed.
Shit! It finally happened, eh? Snapped?
I had told him many times that I was going to snap someday. In retrospect, I wonder if maybe I planned it for years. But now was not the time for personal examination and growth. It was time to start my life as a starving writer and prove I could make it.
Yup, they pushed me too far this time.
You need me to pick you up?
Nope, I just need a bag of weed.
Be at your house in 30 minutes!