Family Tales: Your Brother had a Pizza Hut, and he loved there

This story is about the last time your brother went to Pizza Hut. He had a Stuffed Garlic Knots Pizza, Cinnamon Sticks, and a Pepsi-Cola 4-Pack.

He lost his appetite (though the pizza tasted just fine). It was simply way too late. Pizza Hut had closed right after he left. The game was over.

He walked down a darkened street, past rows of boarded up warehouses, then finally into the darkness.

In this retelling, we will refer to one of the dark and deserted warehouses as the “Stuffed Garlic Knots Pizza House,” one of many restaurants and stores to close in downtown Dayton that year.

According to a story in the Dayton Daily News, the closure of Stuffed Garlic Knots Pizza House was blamed on “low inventory and sluggish service.”

I was walking around Downtown Dayton trying to catch a good photo of this particular restaurant. I was just about to start shooting when a customer inside yelled, “Hey, how do you know I have knots on my pizza? Did you have some of my pizza?”

So I told my boyfriend about the knot pictures I had taken, and of course he wanted to know how to get some for himself.

He went on to tell me that he had a friend, and that friend had a friend who could take out the knots from any pizza.

That friend of a friend came to our house. He took a small knot from each corner of the pizza on our wall and lay them out onto a piece of newspaper.

Once I got the pictures developed, I tried to find a photo of the knot-slicer, but there wasn’t a photo of him anywhere.

In a messy kitchen drawer, I found the Knots from Stuffed Garlic Knots Pizza House that had I taken from Dayton. Now they hang from your brother’s rearview mirror.

Thanks to everyone for sending in similar pizza knot photos from your knotty pizzas and, as always, happy trails…

Family Tales: Your Brother had a Pizza Hut, and he loved there

Family Tales: Your Sister’s Pretzel is the Best Burger in the World

This story is about the last time your sister went to the Burger King. She had a Single Pretzel Bacon King, cheesy tots, and a Mello Yello.

Funny enough, it may very well be the final McDonald’s, this Burger King that your sister visited. It’s also, in some folks’ opinions, the home of the ultimate Single Pretzel Bacon King. That is one of those burgers you don’t care if it sticks to your gums or is crispy like a flauta. You can eat it with your fork or you can eat it with a spatula.

You sister is the most famous burger eater in the you ess of eh. She is considered one of the best people for eating a single pretzel bun burger in three bits.

The only other restaurant that I can ever remember in my life that had a pretzel bun burger was the cafeteria at my high school.

What you are seeing here is a screenshot of that place.

[redacted]

I recall that time. It was a Friday and, being from New Jersey, pretty much what I expected for a cafeteria serving McDonald’s-like food. There was probably about 300 people there during a lunch break, as opposed to the 400 that a typical cafeteria serving McDonald’s-like food got on a Friday afternoon.

The menu consisted of hamburgers, fries, vanilla milkshakes and chocolate milkshakes. And chocolate-vanilla milkshakes. I got the Double. They had the McChicken-like Sandwich which, if you don’t know, is a chicken sandwich. A chicken sandwich is a chicken breast on a bun with some lettuce and mayonaise. Mayonaise is oil and egg whipped to a creamy dream.

You know that thing you get at a Wendy’s restaurant: “Big Macs”? Well, those are what your sister calls a “Big Pretzel.” She loves the Single Pretzel Bacon King. It is a one of a kind segwich. It is something I am sure she loves like a puppy or a rainstorm.

There are other single pretzel burgers in my state but the Wendy’s Burger King McDonald’s one is the most special.

At that place, you can get a Big Mac and a milkshake. You can also get chocolate milkshakes but a few of the milkshakes have not a single pretzel within them. They’re just one-sided, no-emotion milkshakes. You’ll never have a milkshake that looks more like one you would get at a Starbucks than this one. It’s a miracle.

The Single Pretzel isn’t even the best burger your sister ever had. She was a fan of the McDonald’s in Hawaii in 2007, you know the one. In Hawaii. In 2007. There, she had a cheeseburger bun blended with a chocolate milkshake. Also, there’s this McDonald’s in Las Vegas. They have a burger made by a guy who worked at the very first McDonald’s. He is always like “Hey guys, are you ready to try my new burger idea yet?”

And, so, I guess for whatever reason, everyone in Vegas always says, “Sure, we’ll try it,” to make the old man happy. It’s Vegas. They like to gamble. They like older humans. They like to eat new kinds of burgers. They like to party.

Family Tales: Your Sister’s Pretzel is the Best Burger in the World

Family Tales: Your Dad’s Perfect Combo Meal

This story is about the last time your father went to the Taco Bell. He had a double chalupa, a bean burrito, a Carmel Apple Empanada, and a diet cola.

The Taco Bell was secretly called Taco Gigante. The chain’s name is a riddle by its founder, Carl K. Laubach, who was a well-known restaurateur.

The burrito your father ate had cheese, beans, lettuce, and a few drips of queso. It was the perfect wrapped food.

But then it all went disastrously wrong for Taco Gigante.

The Taco Gigante burrito had gone through dozens of iterations since it first appeared in 1981, but one of the most popular variations came about in 1999. Called the Taco Gigante Double Wide No Bean Extra Big Yum Yum Dee-lish Dee-lite, the burrito was monsterously big, the chicken was replaced by pork, and cheese replaced the beans — it sounded too good to be true. The removal of the beans was part of Laubach’s marketing genius.

Taco Gigante’s popularity soared after that. In its heyday, the chain was selling the burrito in every store. When a new franchise was opened in Dallas, Laubach’s people there told him they had to include beans.

Laubach called the restaurant in question, complaining about the situation to the franchise manager. When the manager, a man named Johnny Bonilla, told him that it was beans or bust, Laubach responded, “Then it’s bust for Taco Gigante Dallas.”

Bonilla replied, “I will never forget this. The world will curse you.”

Taco Gigante Dallas was closed, and a different restaurant opened at the same location. There was no word for the new restaurant’s name — only “.?.” (Laubach himself never again mentioned Dallas in polite company .)

Later that same year, your father was told the secret name of Taco Bell: Taco Gigante.

In 2008, a Taco Gigante employee used soap to write “HELP ME,” in bold, red letters on Taco Gigante Des Moines’ front window.

There were a few theories about why Taco Gigante had to close. None had to do with beans or burritos. No one could really explain it, as there had been no explanation given for anything ever in the restaurant’s tangled history. Laubach wrote a memo detailing that the name “Taco Gigante” didn’t exist and that “Taco Gigante” was simply “Taco Bell” and that all employees would never again say the name “Taco Gigante” and that time is bumpy circle.

The Taco Gigante chain, Laubach said, was “just a secret name” used “to throw off the lizard people running the IRS.”

So much for business acumen.

Family Tales: Your Dad’s Perfect Combo Meal

Family Tales: Your Mother Was a Chicken Lady

This tale is about the last time your mother went to the Kentucky Fried Chicken. She had chicken and a biscuit.

She grabbed a biscuit out of the biscuit machine, shook it up like a pair of lucky dice, wolfed it down, then got into her car and drove away, as if she had not been there. She left her bucket of chicken on the pickup counter.

Your mom is a total animal.

She didn’t often eat chicken. She mostly liked to eat seeds and berries, but she hated that she had to eat them indoors because the birds overhead would swoop down and eat them when she stepped outside.

She liked to be in traffic, and I recall your mother driving halfway up the street and poking her head out of the car window every few minutes.

She hated the smell of the chicken. I remember her being embarrassed to tell you it was her least favorite thing because she didn’t want you to feel bad for smelling like chicken yourself.

Sometimes she was embarrassed about her love of chicken. Once a month, on second paydays, she would bake chicken for dinner. It was the only time in the month that she could take the time to do so. Otherwise, it was to the KFC.

She would bring her own spoon to the table during meal times and just get down with a spoon at her homemade chicken dinner.

I was born in 1987 and I lived with your mom (not my mom, or the one she was with when I was born).

I was four when your mom took me and my brother to a chicken farm run by a woman named Linda, who later married my friend’s dad (another cousin of yours who I also spent a lot of time with when we were younger).

Your grandmother was the head of her own restaurant. She had all of your aunties, siblings, and cousins in the restaurant serving the food and cooking the food and cleaning the joint. I’m not sure of the name of the restaurant. It was probably “Elle’s Chicken”.

There, your mom learned to love chicken.

My mom didn’t even want to talk to me.

Family Tales: Your Mother Was a Chicken Lady

A Meow in the Wind

I dreamed of an oscillating fan built to temper and tame near-feral cats. They called the fan The Cat Whisperer. What luck! For I co-habitate with near-feral cats who shit where they please, rob the birds of every song, and carve my furniture to shredded signs of true ownership. I turned on the demo unit and the fan whirred to life. I wanted to believe The Cat Whisperer would work. I wanted to tame that which the wild had first dibs. I wanted to interrupt nature so friggin’ hard.

A Meow in the Wind

Mirror

Dearest,

I am not the kind of man who gives himself over to wanton gushing

regarding the mystical apparatuses of love. Love you, however, I

do. When first I saw you in this blackened mirror, frightened

though I was by your wispy visage and morbid accoutrements, I felt

instantly overcome by an overwhelmingly esteemed and unrelenting

enthrallment. Nevermind my viscera entangled and twisted by such

untoward tumultuous passion; my sole desire herewith is to

patiently await your return. I show you these words tonight and

pray for any type of reciprocation. I pray you won’t leave again.

Indefinitely yours,

Forever

Mirror

Politics

We. We point. We point a finger. We point a finger at one another. We point a finger at one another while backing away. We point a finger at one another while backing away, hands wagging. We point a finger at one another while backing away, hands wagging, jaws gabbing. We point a finger at one another while backing away, hands wagging, jaws gabbing, until we hit a wall. We point a finger at one another while backing away, hands wagging, jaws gabbing, until we hit a wall, at which point we take that knuckly, pointing finger and shove it as far we can up our cavernous, ghastly nostril, dig around real, real good and proper for a while – policy-making is a process, don’tcha know? – finally yanking those fingertips back from the nasally abyss with a grotesque, slimy prize attached to the tip and now we’re pointing again, this time offering such lovely treasures to the other side – ourselves: a hard-fought/wrought/got gooey, green end result of a hard day’s work.

Politics