So I’m driving by Taco Bell the other day, and the sign outside says, “Ultimate Chalupa.”
Naturally, I’m intrigued. Not just any old chalupa, not even a Really Good Chalupa. They’re selling the Ultimate Chalupa. The end-all be-all of chalupas. How can I pass up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?
So I lane-change across three lanes of traffic and hurry inside. “Do you still have the Ultimate Chalupa?” I ask.
The guy behind the counter gives me a blank look and nods.
I’m so relieved. “Thank god. I’ll take it.”
So I pay my two bucks and change, and step to the side, waiting to them to complete whatever terrifying alchemy is required to produce the Ultimate Chalupa. It takes almost two minutes, so I’m guessing something pretty complex is going on back there.
And all the while I’m thinking: Wow. Ultimate Chalupa. This thing is going to be awesome. It’s going to be the Chalupa equivalent of Optimus Prime.
But just as they’re finishing, someone else steps up to the register behind me. She orders the Ultimate Chalupa too. I felt a little guilty, but also a little smug as I wait for the guy behind the register to explain to her that they’d already sold it.
But get this. He nods and rings up her order! I look over at him, pissed, and say, “What the hell are you doing?”
He gives me a blank look. I think this guy specializes in blank looks. “What?”
“I already bought the Ultimate Chalupa,” I said. “It’s mine. You can’t sell it to her.”
Another blank look. He buys them in bulk at Costco. He got his associate’s degree in blank look at the local tech. “There’s your Chalupa.” He points at a tray being slid across the counter toward me.
“That’s not the Ultimate Chalupa!” I said, pointing at the woman. “Now she’s got the Ultimate Chalupa!” I slam my hand down on the tray. “This is just the Penultimate Chalupa! That’s not what I ordered! I didn’t pay $2.79 for some fucking Penultimate piece-of-shit Chalupa!”
The conversation spiraled out of control from there. The woman left in tears, and the guy behind the counter eventually used up his vasty store of blank looks, and was forced to use other looks that he wasn’t nearly as skilled with, like confused, irritated, and exasperated. He even had one that might have been flummoxed, but I’m not sure. He wasn’t very good at it, and I don’t think he really knew it was for.
Eventually I produced a Webster’s dictionary and proof that I did, in fact, have a Masters degree in English. This left them with no choice but to throw my ass out of Taco Bell yet again.
I stood in the parking lot and cursed them for a while. Then I climbed up on the sign and found out that someone had left the box of letters there. So I changed the sign to read, “Rather Good but by no means Ultimate Chalupa.”
Unfortunately, that used most of the letters, so my options were limited for the other side of the sign. All I could spell with what was left was, “Taco Bell – Everybody Masturbates on Us.”
Then I left. All in all, I’m counting the experience as a moral victory.
Editor’s note: I actually wrote this back when I was doing the College Survival Guide, but I figured I’d post it up here so people could get a cheap chuckle out of it while I’m busy with revisions.