Drive-Thru Animals

There’s this certain little drive-thru I use frequently. They offer an array of services ranging from toiletries to pharmacological needs. And best of all, it requires as little face time as possible. It’s my favorite place to get shit I need without having to deal with people, and worse, the part where you walk up to them, then walk away. Walking isn’t very fast, and from behind a counter, it’s almost like they have this sense of authority. Whatever the case, that is their home, and you are a visitor and require something from them, which puts you in a vulnerable predicament. That is why I love this drive-thru, it exonerates all those petty thoughts, which, were petty to begin with.

One day, a most normal day, because normal days are the days where you least suspect any kind of unanticipated spontaneity, spontaneity occurred, in the most spontaneous way. They say serendipity goes a long way when you meet someone for the first time, and this is an example of one of those times. On several occasions, there was always this ratty little bronze station wagon ahead of me. It was always the one car ahead of me, which leads me to think one of two things, this person was always a car’s length ahead of me whenever I decided to go to this bland little drive-thru, hardly one of a kind, but I’d always considered it mine. But the second little thing that caught my attention was the bag. That big brown paper bag she always picked up just as I was pulling in. It was always the same size and it always had a roll of paper Brawny Extra Strength Paper Towels sticking out the top of it. The weight of it looked consistently heavy every time, and she always paid in cash. When I pull up, I get the same bag with the same brand of paper towels sticking out of it. My bag isn’t as heavy but I like to keep my order’s fairly consistent in order to avoid mistakes.

On that day, however, that unforeseen spontaneous day we mentioned, the drive-thru was closed. I had to go inside if I was to keep my world in sync with my mechanical soul. Fuck. Into the cave I went, and it felt as if I was carrying a torch because I felt everyone’s eyes gaze upon me thinking, “Look at this asshole with the torch…” I don’t consider myself anything special to look at, but unfortunately, I had not anticipated the drive-thru to be closed so I entered in a nice cozy zebra-printed bathrobe. It wasn’t intentional, just unfortunate. ‘Suck it up,’ I thought to myself, and proceeded to tread. Everyone in the store was, by definition, normal. Regular haircuts, regular jeans and jackets, and probably regular jobs that lead them to-and-from slavery between the hours of 9 to 5. A few anomalies though, a kid with tiger make-up in the ‘sweets’ section, A man in shorts and a muscle shirt deciding which kind of milk he preferred, non-fat or savage. There’s even a woman, brunette wearing the same bathrobe I am, except translated in cheetah-print. I hunted my shit down like prey, having to look atop of every aisle for the category lists. You’d think they’d have ‘sweets’ next to ‘snacks,’ but not them.

At the checkout, the line was longer than usual. My first thought was that these were all the people in the single file cars waiting to go through the drive-thru. Regular looking people just waiting to speed up this process. The woman behind the counter looked at me with a scrutinizing glare, or looked at my robe. She smiled… maybe I’ve been over-thinking the detriments about the place. The woman behind the counter seemed to be enjoying herself and glancing several times a minute at me, almost flirting. The store isn’t so bad. I turned to look behind me, thinking she might have been twinkling at someone else and noticed the cheetah-print woman right behind me in line. It became clear. The woman behind the counter wasn’t flirting, she was amused by the fact there was a cheetah and a zebra waiting in line to buy some Brawny Extra Strength Paper Towels. Brawny Extra Strength Paper Towels? I looked at the woman again and after I got past her ridiculous animal skin, I saw contents in her arms. It was enough to fill a big brown paper bag. I looked at her face and she smiled while my knees shuddered. She was beautiful. Fuuuck, with three u’s. “We’re like the animal kingdom going to slaughter.” She said. I paused for a moment, then replied, “We’ll make it out of here alive, then it’s back to drive-thru paper towels.” She looked at me for a moment, then down into my pile to see the Brawny Extra Strength Towels, then smiled. We both checked out with separate attendants and ended up in the parking lot at the same time. As I suspected, she got into the ratty brown station wagon that happened to be parked right behind me. As we both started driving home, I realized something. She was ahead of me again. A block ahead of me. She ended up turning a left onto a street at the same time I turned onto mine. Out of curiosity, I didn’t stop when I reached my parking spot, I kept driving to the end of the block to see if she’d turn up. She didn’t. She lived on that block.

The day I had to return to the drive-thru, there was a note pinned under my windshield wiper. It read, see you at the drive-thru. I drove over there and there she was. She was waiting, standing next to her wagon, in the same cheetah-print bathrobe. I parked next to her and got out in my zebra-print bathrobe. She waved and asked, “would you like to go to slaughter with me?”

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