Frenchy's Chicken, Houston TX.
Walk-up window, no call-in orders after 6pm, no bills larger than $20.
I sent Mario, our show runner, to Frenchy's for three buses worth of food orders at the end of the night because I didn't know about the $20 rule. He returned with only one order because Frenchy's wouldn't accept my hundred dollar bill. This is crazy to me: a business that will take a little money from you but not a lot.
With hungry people waiting on the other two buses, I sent him back armed with 1's, 5's, 10's and a sign in his car window letting venue security and local cops know they should let him through the throngs of fans crowding the building. Mario had a job to do and that job was bringing chicken to the American Idols.
An hour and a half later I called Mario to check in. "They're almost done with your order!" He yelled above the background clamor.
"ALMOST done?" I whimpered.
I'd hoped he was making his way back. Frenchy's was only three miles away but the crowds were bad, our bus drivers were ready to get on the road, and people were grumpy.
"Yeah, this place is slammin'!" Mario screeched into the phone.
When Mario pulled in at midnight, I grabbed the boxes of chicken and started flinging them on the buses. Then I basically shoved Mario down the loading dock incline towards the offices backstage and told him to find the promoter who'd give him a check for his work. I later regretted not thanking Mario properly because he'd been very sweet and kind of awesome all day long.
I'm sorry, Mario. I can be an asshole when I'm in a rush.
I got on the bus, drunk on fried chicken stress and several bottles of Sierra Nevada, and accepted a piece of Frenchy's. It was so good that when a sliver of chicken skin slid off the piece in my left hand and into the styrofoam container of collard greens juice in my right hand, I considered drinking it.
"Oh my GOD, this is delicious," I said. I might have licked the chicken. Just for a second. "It's like a fried chicken popsicle," I said. At this point people stepped in.
"You need to stop," Neil said.