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I was getting hungry for some real food, so shortly after hitting the Kentucky/Tennessee state line I pulled off the highway into a Zippys burger. Zippys was one of the many fast food joints lining the main street. I skipped the drive thru and parked in the lot. Jumping out of the car I proceeded to stretch every single aching muscle in my body. I always go inside, because when I’m low on cash it pays off to go into the counter sometimes. And I got lucky this time. As I walked to the counter the store manager in a loud and aggravated voice was telling the assistant counter manager what a poor job the day shift crew did keeping the place clean, and he knew her crew would do a much better job later on that night.

The rich smell of french fries and burgers filled the air by the counter making me feel even hungrier now. The store manager was walking back through the double swinging doors towards the kitchen as I got to the counter. I thought I’d heard his voice well enough, so I threw his voice back thru the double doors to the counter manager.

“Give that good looking young man whatever he wants on the house for having to see this place in such a mess.”

I added the “good looking” part... well, just because I could. The cute counter manager stared back at the double doors, taking a second to digest what she’d heard. She turned back to me, slightly embarrassed, smiled, and said, “What would you like sir… on the house of course.”

“I’ll take the three sandwiches that are under the warmer and a large chocolate milk shake to go please.”

I took the sandwiches and shake she bagged for me, gave her a wink and headed out the door within ninety seconds of hitting the counter which was almost a record time for me. In and out, no blood no foul.

I never order stuff that takes too long in case the person’s voice I was stealing… no… stealing is an ugly word, lets say… mimicking, yeah in case the person’s voice I was mimicking decided to come back. I only did this when I was short on cash, or saving cash for something like college. So… in the last four years I’ve eaten a lot of free burgers.

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