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.