Friday, May 20, 2011

Friend of Skinhead or Not

Izzy and Trevor were an odd pair, a Texan and a Filipino German. Only in a work environment could they exist. What they lacked in common ground, they made up in fast food. Both loved Taco Bell, McDonald’s and Burger King, but KFC was their favorite.

At the corner of Ellis and Polk, KFC shares a space with Taco Bell. Next door is Brenda’s, a fancy Cajun place that TL hipsters and tourists from the Phoenix and other mid-to-low level hotels in the neighborhood frequent.

Izzy and Trevor, by my observations, dined at KFC every day. The 3 piece plated chicken was their favorite; however, if the Pot Pie was fresh, they would get that. Only if it was fresh.

Like a sales associate at Neiman Marcus calling to inform you that they just received new shoes from Marc Jacobs’ resort wear line, Izzy and Trevor built a similar relationship with the employees at KFC. Instead of shoes, they would call them when Pot Pies came out of the oven.

One day around lunch time, after morning duties, I heard Izzy’s phone ring. He answered and quickly left through the back door, yelling at Trevor: “Let’s go, Trevor. Fantasia called and said the Pot Pies just came out of the oven.” And off they went.

Izzy asked Fantasia out. Years of seeing her everyday bolstered his confidence. She agreed and he bought tickets to the Halloween cruise around the bay. Before the date arrived, he learned that Fantasia had a night job: hooker. Of course, he shared this with us. Since it had been a long, long time since he had a date, let alone sex, we counseled him to continue on with the date, as long as he didn’t pay for it at the end of the night.

Izzy didn’t take our advice and went stag to the cruise.

On this day, Trevor went to the KFC alone. While in line, a local crackhead entered from the street and started yelling at Trevor. As much as he wanted to tell her to fuck off, he ignored her, as this wasn’t an uncommon occurrence. He was versed in the Tenderloin and knew engaging her would be pointless.

Sitting at a corner booth, a skinhead sporting the uniform - bomber jacket, Fred Perry and 18 eyelet Docs with white laces – stood up and yelled, “Get the fuck out of here, bitch.” The room froze, preparing for drama. The crackhead acquiesced and left quietly through the same doors she entered. The room breathed a sigh of relief and turned to the skinhead, who was still standing. The anger in his face had not subsided.

Trevor made the mistake of looking at him. The skinhead looked back, saluted and yelled, “Sieg Heil.” He calmly sat down and went back to eating with his skin chick girlfriend. With the skinhead out of the way, eyes now turned to Trevor, whose own eyes showed fear, knowing that the customers assumed he was associated with the skinhead.

Whether he knew it or not, the “Sieg Heil” was thrown his way. If it were a bullet, it would’ve hit him in the chest. Like a scene from a Woody Allen, Trevor looked around with a half-smile, silently attempting to convey to the predominately African American customer base that he was not with the skinhead. He appreciated that he got the crackhead to leave, but he didn’t agree with the his politics or supported his tactics. He knew this was futile, though.

Instead of following the crackhead out the door, he stayed in line, feeling the derision and stares encircling him. But he was hungry and this was his place. The Pot Pies were fresh. He’d earned his place in line and wasn’t moving – friend of skinhead or not.

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