Tee’s College Chronicles: Your Burger or your Life
Those who have ever lived in the District of Columbia at any time in their lives know that neighborhood-wise, DC can be very hit or miss. You could be in a relatively safe area, and on the next block, you could be in a not-so-safe area. As a somewhat long-term resident of DC, I learned how to navigate in and around these places. One place, however, I would go, no matter what: The Burger King on Florida Ave. It wasn’t in a HORRIBLE place, and truthfully, if you went there now, you wouldn’t think anything was wrong with the area, but when I lived nearby, it wasn’t the greatest place to be, especially at 2:30 in the morning.
One night my roommate (who also happens to be my sister) and I decided that we needed Burger King…and we needed it that very second. I’m not sure WHY we needed Burger King at 2:30am, but, hey, it was college and getting burgers and fries at ignorant hours is what college students do. So we hopped in my car and made the short drive over to BK on Florida Ave.Now, let me explain how this Burger King drive-through is set up: You come around the side of the building and the place where you order has you blocked in. There is no possible way for you to get out of line unless you back out (assuming no-one is behind you) or you just pull all the way through and drive out of the parking lot. In other words, this drive-through is the perfect place to get mugged. But yet and still, we went there…at night….often.
On this particular night, as we drove up to place our order, I happened to see a skinny guy come walking from next to the dumpsters. I’ve always had a sixth-sense when it comes to impending danger, but for whatever reason, my desire for Burger King somehow overrode my desire for safety (And I KNOW what you guys are thinking. NO, we were NOT high…jerks). As I began to order our food, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the skinny guy walk over toward my car. He COULD have just been walking around to go to the other side of the Burger King, but something inside of me knew better. The guy came RIGHT up to the passenger window with something rolled up in a sweatshirt over his right hand. I knew this kid either had a gun, or was pretending to have a gun so that he could rob us, but either way, we were ALREADY in the drive-through line, and we couldn’t get out unless we backed up or sped forward.
My roommate was in the passenger seat and COMPLETELY oblivious to what was going on outside the window. I had to think fast. I didn’t want her to make any sudden moves, or surprise the guy outside, but I knew I had to alert her to what was going on, so the conversation went like this:
Me: Okay, stay calm and don’t look, but there is a guy outside of your window, and I’m pretty sure he has a gun.
Her: What, what what what what what what what? (She really said it that many times)
Me: Don’t look, don’t look, don’t look, don’t look. (I really said it that many times)
Her: Omigod omigod omigod omigod
In the process of this happening, the guy runs off back behind the Burger King. So, of course, we make our escape, right? WRONG. We turned to each other and I asked my roommate if she still wanted her Burger King. Sheepishly, she said yes. I laughed and said, “Good, because I didn’t want to leave either.” We hadn’t even paid yet, and most sane people would have left that Burger King after (maybe) almost getting mugged, but we had gotten our mouths ready for Burger King, and by God, we were going to have it. We laughed and drove up to the pick-up window.
No sooner had we paid our money to the girl at the window, but I looked to my right…AND THE GUY WAS BACK!!!! He still had whatever rolled up in that sweatshirt in his hand and now that we were in the light, I could see that he was all sweaty as if he had just run 10 miles, so I KNEW he was high. A feeling of dread came over me.
Me: Okay, the guy is back…but don’t look.
Her: What, what what what what what what what?
Me: What do we do? What do we do?
Her: I don’t know, I don’t know!
Again, we could have just pulled off….but for whatever reason, we didn’t. We just sat there like some dummies. And then, just as quickly as he walked up, he ran away, again. In my rearview mirror, I could see that he had gone back behind the Burger King and then I saw him throw something into the dumpster. In the next moment, the girl came back to the window with our food.
BK Girl: Here’s your food
Me: Thank you. Sooo, hey, you guys might want to call the cops. There’s a guy lurking in the dark back there and I’m pretty sure he had a gun. I think he threw it into your dumpster, though.
BK Girl: And y’all stayed here this whole time? Why didn’t you drive off?
Me: Ummm….we REALLY wanted Burger King.
The girl shakes her head at us and my roommate and I drive back to our apartment.
Later on while eating our food my roommate says, “You know we almost died over some flame-broiled meat and fries tonight.” “Yeah, I know”, I replied. “But it was totally worth it. This is so good….and by the way, we CANNOT tell Mom and Dad about this.”