on sunday night i made my usual pit-stop between killeen and houston at the mcdonald’s in caldwell, texas.  this is a very slow-service mcdonald’s with a slightly creepy evening staff, but caldwell is half-way between danny’s apartment and mine.  and most of the other small towns along the way feature only hole-in-the-wall joints with name’s like k-bob’s* that probably serve armadillo carcass.  with sweet tea.

so i’m stopping in caldwell and feeling really thankful that i’m finally there because i’ve had to pee for about 50 miles.  i enter the bathroom to find a gaggle of women speaking in very quick spanish.  one of them motions to a stall that is apparently unoccupied.

i try the door.  it is locked.  i return to the line.

the woman who had offered the stall is confused until i tell her it is locked.  her eyes light up with an “aha!” and she motions to a little girl leaning against the greasy tiled wall — probably her granddaughter.

“she is just playing a little prank!” the woman says.

in horror, i watch this child — wearing a very short yet pristine dress — crawl on the floor of the caldwell mcdonald’s, underneath the stall door, to unlock it from within.  she emerges triumphant.  even does a little curtsey.  her accompanying gaggle of women applaud.  they applaud this demonstration of complete disregard for infant well-being.  i am convinced that during her brief stint on the toilet-paper littered floor of the caldwell mcdonald’s this child has contracted lupus or scabies or something equally horrible.**

as i smile weakly and close myself within the stall (being careful not to touch anything), i realize that this girl must have already crawled on the floor once to leave the stall locked in the first place.


*actual restaurant
** i know nothing about how one actually catches these diseases


One thought on “sidebar

  1. Makes you wonder wether the restrooms in K-Bob’s would potentially be cleaner/less creepy than those of the McDonald’s. In my random restaurant explorations I’ve generally found that non-chain restaurants, even really cheap ones, are cleaner/more inviting than pretty much any national chain.

    Probably something to do with the slight if any employee pride-of-being-different at the independent places than the register-jockeys at McD’s.

    However I’ve never seen K-Bob’s – it could be quite grimy.

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