Monday, March 3, 2014

The Dorito God

A few years ago, I worked the graveyard shift--alone--at a 24-hour Subway (the sandwich shop, not the transit station). About half of the customers were military guys who were also working the graveyard shift on base (we were located right next to an Air Force base), and roughly half of the customers were drunk people coming over from the nearby bars. A small sliver of our customers were mentally ill homeless people and drug addicts who were just attracted to an establishment that was open at 3 in the morning.

One night, at about 3 am, a man comes up to the counter as though he is going to have me start putting together a Subway sandwich. He is wearing a big coat (which seemed odd, since this was in a warm area of California and was probably 70 degrees at the time), he is of mixed race, bearded, and probably about 50-60 years old. He just looks down and won't make eye contact with me.
I say, "What can I get for you, sir?"

He is standing there, shuddering, making some strange noise. I realize that he is sobbing.
"Are you all right?" I ask.

At this point, his sobbing turns into laughter.

"I gotta come in here to get away from them big grey motherfuckers with the big eyes," he said, trembling.


"Them motherfuckers with the big black eyes are trying to take me. I had two children, but they took them away from me. They took everything away from me. I used to be one of the Village People, you know."

At this point, an Air Force serviceman and servicewoman walk into the shop (much to my relief) and stand behind the man. The man throws his arms up in the air and says, "You go on ahead of me. I'm not in line. I'm not buyin' anything for myself. I'm buyin' you kids your sandwiches. You get whatever you want, and I'm payin' for it!"

The two soldiers politely declined his offer, and went up to order their sandwiches. I assembled their subs, and they began to pay for them, when the man with the coat suddenly announced at the top of his lungs, "I am God! I am God!"

The two customers and I turn to look at the man, and he proclaims, "I will prove to you my power!"
He begins taking bags of Doritos off the chip shelf and throwing them across the dining area. "Do you see my power?! Behold my power! I am God! I am God!"

The two customers finish paying and depart (much to my dismay), leaving me with the man. I run over to the phone and dial the police station. As I do so, the man loses his energy in an instant and begins sobbing again. He exits the restaurant slowly. As I'm speaking with the dispatcher on the phone, she says, "Yes, we've gotten several calls about this man tonight, but we haven't been able to find him. We'll be down there right away." Within a couple minutes, I see the blue lights of cop cars as police officers take the man into custody along the side of the highway. I always prided myself on being pretty good with dealing with the drunks and weirdos that would come in during the middle of the night, but that was one of the few times I actually feared for my life in that job.

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