Can I Get a Witness?


Rifling through a junk drawer this morning looking for a receipt, I came across this scrawled note, along with the photo booth pic on top—as if they were just hanging out together in the drawer. And so not junk. Here’s the back story, and for the record, I was a witness to one phenomenal woman. Miss you, Stace.

Can I Get a Witness?

Before heading over to my friend Stacie’s house, I spoke with her husband, Darren, via cell to get specific instructions on what to pick up for Stacie since she is on a very specific diet to help fight her brain tumor. They would be heading home from a doctor’s visit, and Stacie would be hungry, and Darren wouldn’t have time to cook before he went to some work appointments. I would meet them at home with dinner, and then hang out with Stacie while Darren was gone.

I took notes:

Chicken bacon burger with guacamole. Wrapped in lettuce.
 No bun, aka “ wrap.”

Easy peasy. Darren said all the fast-food places are familiar with doing a wrap versus the bun, and specifically named Carl’s Jr. Being a carb freak, this is new territory for moi. Hence the notes.

I walk into Carl’s Jr feeling the chances are greater that the order will be done correctly eyeball to eyeball versus a drive-through with that whole speaker dynamic, static, and whatnot. Standing at the counter simultaneously looking at the vibrantly lit overhead menu and looking respectfully into the eyes of the teenage girl who will be taking my order, I say, “I would like a chicken burger. Do you have chicken BURGERS?”

With perhaps the most zombie-like response I have ever seen, she raises her arm says, monotone, “Here’s what we have.”

“I see that, but I can’t tell by the picture if they are actual patties or breasts. Can you tell me if it is a patty like a burger, or is it an actual chicken breast?” 
With her lethargy level deepening and digging in her heels, she raises and points once again, like a drugged Vanna White, and remarks, “Here are our chicken sandwiches.”

We did this no less than four more times. I’m not kidding.

I’m a great tipper; I am super-polite to the service industry, because I’ve been there. But I was beginning to feel an internal transition. “I see the photos of all the chicken-type sandwiches; I need to know if it’s like a burger or breast. I am bringing it to a sick friend and she is on a very strict diet. It’s important for me to know what form this chicken will take.”

Same catatonic answer.

I look around, thinking there’s got to be a hidden camera. It’s too much like a Saturday Night Live skit. I need someone to see this. This can’t be for real.

My hot flashes begin to get flashier. “Can you ask someone else here if they know about the chicken?”

She does nothing. Blank face. Not a blink.
With sweat dripping down my back, I repeat the question. She creeps over to the older, more veteran Carl’s Jr lady in a hairnet and asks, I can only hope, my original question. Zombie Girl turns back to me and says, “It’s a burger.”

“So, like a patty?”
“Uh huh.”
“Okay, I’d like to get a chicken burger with bacon and guacamole, wrapped in lettuce. No bun. That’s it; NOTHING else on it. Nothing.”

“So, tomato and mayo on that?”

I invoke my most hard-core stare. “NO. Okay, I NEED this to be right. It’s important. Chicken patty burger with bacon, guacamole, wrapped in lettuce, no bun. Here are my notes. See them?”

I show her the notes and continue: “I was told that many fast-food restaurants do these and they are called ‘protein style.’ Can you do that for me?”

“Oh. Kay.”

The exchange of money was more of the same slow-motion, blunted ridiculousness.

I was fully convinced this was not an intellectually challenged person; she just didn’t give a crap.

“Here’s your number,” she said as she handed me a glossy flash-card that read 91. I looked around again. There was no one else in the joint.

I took a couple steps back. I wait. Maybe ten minutes. This is fast food.

“Number 91?”
“Yep, that’d be me.”
 Normally, not to offend, I would be more discrete when making sure an order is correct, but this time, not so much. I flagrantly open the bag right in front of Zombie Girl and unwrap the burger to confirm all has been done correctly. Praise the Lord, it has. It appears so anyway, but it is hard to tell without using my fingers to lift the “burger” and getting my germies on it.

I bring the burger to Stacie and inquire as to its quality. I specifically ask if it’s a chicken burger patty and not a breast.

She says it’s a breast. What she wanted all along.