I was hungry today and since I live in Los Angeles there is a SUBWAY sandwiches behind my apartment. Not as prevalent an establishment as STAR-BUCKS, but just as much a cancer to every major American city. I wanted my Spicy Italian though, so I put this aside and went out into the hot, trashy air filled Hollywood I love.
Upon entry I discovered I was only to be the second in line. A rarity indeed. Excited, I picked my bread and said, "Foot long my good man". As the toppings were spread across the bread a yell came out of the customer next to me. Not a normal yell, but the kind that turns heads. An impatient outburst that gets people killed in my town. Or at least makes them a famous.
"NO, NOT THAT TOMATO, YOU IDIOT. I WANT THE FRESH ONES ON THE BOTTOM!"
Rang out and crossed the little hairs inside my ears.
A controversy was at play. Not the kind you see some ass hole on the news going off about, because they found the only dumb-ass to disagree with reason and created a NEWS...LOL story about it. No this was a true controversy. The tomato controversy. Fresh on bottom, watery and thin on top buddy.
"What's the problem?" he said, "I just want fresh tomato, why are you not listening to me?"
I thought that seemed like a reasonable question, but it wasn't! Not according to the Manager who quickly jumped in front of this minimum wage kid to deal with this out burst.
"Sir, all the tomato's are the same." "No, THEY AREN'T," he said. " Look at the tomato's on top, there disgusting. I want good tomato's. I'm the customer and I want it my way."
Apparently this isn't like Burger King because he wasn't going to get it his way.
The manager said, "Please calm down sir or I'll have to ask you to leave." This did not go over well. This customer started to blast off and began knocking items off the counter. BLAM, landed a plastic container filled with fat riddled cookies. SMACK, against the wall went some card board cut out sale items. And just as an entire rack of Lays potato heart attacks THUDDED to the floor at my feet the Manager came around the counter.
"Don't touch me or I'll sue your ass," sprang out of this customer slash news story in front of me. That didn't stop this South American immigrant from pushing him toward the door though. It was on. What would you do? Get out of the way? Help the Manager? Help the Customer? All I could do was start to laugh at this display. I was hungry when I walked in, but now I was being entertained in a way that was totally unexpected. Like when you try to catch a fly, but that little shit just keeps escaping your grasp.
The customer braced himself against a nearby padded plastic booth. The Manager, now visibly fuming with anger grabbed him by his arm and started pulling him towards the door. This little immigrant was strong though. Too strong for the customer. So he fell to the ground like a little child who didn't want to go to bed. "I WANT MY DAMB FRESH TOMATO'S," he screamed as he braced himself against the booth. The Manager screamed back, "GET OUT OR I'LL CALL THE POLICE!"
Another employee came around the counter to help the Manager. Possibly to assure that quarter and hour raise he had been asking for for the last month and a half or possibly because this customer was just another impatient asshole living in Hollywood.
The Manager had one leg, the employee had the other and they where pulling with all their Subway strength. The customer could only hang on by his arms for another moment, but this moment was lasting. One hand broke free, he was almost out the door now when I stepped forward and ever so gently pulled a finger of his away from the booth. This didn't do it completely though. There was one more moment for me.
As I watched the last four fingers one by one pop off of the booth the customer looked me dead in the eye with sympathy and said,"Tomato's are supposed to be fresh, right?" But before I could answer him the last of his fingers popped free and they dragged him kicking and screaming out the door by his legs. Kind of like the way I'm pulling your leg right now.
Greenhouse Studios Intern