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TACO HELL
by Peter Leppik

The following is a *true* story. It amused the hell out of me
while it was happening. I hope it isn't one of those "had to be
there" things.

On my way home from the second job I've taken for the extra
holiday ca$h I need, I stopped at Taco Bell for a quick bite to
eat. In my billfold is a $50 bill and a $2 bill. That is all of
the cash I have on my person. I figure that with a $2 bill, I can
get something to eat and not have to worry about people getting
mad at me.

Me: "Hi, I'd like one seven layer burrito please, to go."

Server: "Is that it?"

Me: "Yep."

Server: "That'll be $1.04, eat here?"

Me: "No, it's "TO-GO" [I hate effort duplication]."

At this point I open my billfold and hand him the $2 bill. He
looks at it kind of funny and

Server: "Uh, hang on a sec, I'll be right back."

He goes to talk to his manager, who is still within earshot.

The following conversation occurs between the two of them.

Server: "Hey, you ever see a $2 bill?"

Manager: "No. A what?"

Server: "A $2 bill. This guy just gave it to me."

Manager: "Ask for something else, THERE'S NO SUCH
THING AS A $2 BILL."

Server: "Yeah, thought so."

He comes back to me and says

Server: "We don't take these. Do you have anything else?"

Me: "Just this fifty. You don't take $2 bills? Why?"

Server: "I don't know."

Me: "See here where it says legal tender?"

Server: "Yeah."

Me: "So, shouldn't you take it?"

Server: "Well, hang on a sec."

He goes back to his manager who is watching me like I'm going to
shoplift.

Server: "He says I have to take it."

Manager: "Doesn't he have anything else?"

Server: "Yeah, a fifty. I'll get it and you can open the safe and
get change."

Manager: "I'M NOT OPENING THE SAFE WITH HIM
IN HERE." [My emphasis]

Server: "What should I do?"

Manager: "Tell him to come back later when he has REAL money."

Server: "I can't tell him that, you tell him."

Manager: "Just tell him."

Server: "No way, this is weird, I'm going in back."

The manager approaches me and says

Manager: "Sorry, we don't take big bills this time of night." [it
was 8pm and this particular Taco Bell is in a well lighted indoor
mall with 100 other stores.]

Me: "Well, here's a two."

Manager: "We don't take *those* either."

Me: "Why the hell not?"

Manager: "I think you *know* why."

Me: "No really, tell me, why?"

Manager: "Please leave before I call mall security."

Me: "Excuse me?"

Manager: "Please leave before I call mall security."

Me: "What the hell for?"

Manager: "Please, sir."

Me: "Uh, go ahead, call them."

Manager: "Would you please just leave?"

Me: "No."

Manager: "Fine, have it your way then."

Me: "No, that's Burger King, isn't it?"

At this point he BACKS away from me and calls mall security on the
phone around the corner. I have two people STARING at me from the
dining area, and I begin laughing out loud, just for effect. A few
minutes later this 45 year old-ish guy comes in and says [at the
other end of counter, in a whisper]

Security: "Yeah, Mike, what's up?"

Manager: "This guy is trying to give me some [pause] funny money."

Security: "Really? What?"

Manager: "Get this, a *two* dollar bill."

Security: "Why would a guy fake a $2 bill?" [Incredulous]

Manager: "I don't know? He's kinda weird. Says the only other
thing he has is a fifty."

Security: "So, the fifty's fake?"

Manager: "NO, the $2 is." Security: "Why would he fake a $2 bill?"

Manager: "I don't know. Can you talk to him, and get him out of
here?"

Security: "Yeah..."

Security guard walks over to me and says

Security: "Mike here tells me you have some fake bills you're
trying to use."

Me: "Uh, no."

Security: "Lemme see 'em."

Me: "Why?"

Security: "Do you want me to get the cops in here?"

At this point I was ready to say, "SURE, PLEASE," but I wanted to
eat, so I said

Me: "I'm just trying to buy a burrito and pay for it with this $2
bill."

I put the bill up near his face, and he flinches like I was taking
a swing at him. He takes the bill, turns it over a few times in
his hands, and says Security: "Mike, what's wrong with this bill?"

Manager: "It's fake."

Security: "It doesn't look fake to me."

Manager: "But it's a **$2** bill."

Security: "Yeah?"

Manager: "Well, there's no such thing, is there?"

The security guard and I both looked at him like he was an idiot,
and it dawned on the guy that he had no clue. My burrito was free
and he threw in a small drink and those cinnamon things, too.
Makes me want to get a whole stack of $2 bills just to see what
happens when I try to buy stuff. If I got the right group of
people, I could probably end up in jail. At least you get free
food.
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