“What are you doing now?”

“I’m kind of between jobs.”

“You’re not supposed to tell that to your date, you know. What was your last job, then.”

“It was, uh… it was at PandaMex.”


You know, the one with the panda bear with the mariachi hat and the maracas? It has the adobe walls with the pagoda-looking tiles above the front entrance?”

“Not… ringin’ any bells. No.”

“Really? The Kung Pao quesadillas are pretty popular. Oh well, anyway, so I worked there.”

“And that’s it?”

“That’s it.”

“How boring. I need a good quit-your-job story.”

“There’s no story. I just quit.”

“You’re going to have to come up with a story, then, if you want me to go Dutch on this meal.”

“You.. what… eehhh, man! All right! There is a reason I quit.”

“Was there rat meat in the food?”

“What? No! The food there’s pretty good, actually. No, it was something else. Who’s telling the story, anyway?”

“My apologies. Go on.”

“So, anyway, where was I…?”

“You didn’t start telling the story yet.”

“Oh, right! So, we had that panda on the sign, you see, but we also had a panda costume. I was new, so I would always get sent out to the curb during the lunch rush when we had enough people on staff. I’d lure people in by shaking my maracas and dancing.”

“Oh, dear Lord. No wonder you quit!”

“Well, it actually wasn’t too bad. The suit was a little hot, but it broke the monotony of the day. The one thing that really bothered me was that people wanted to take pictures with me but they rarely tipped. Isn’t it common courtesy to tip someone you take a picture with? Like in Hollywood with those weird-looking tin men or gold men or whatever. You’re supposed to tip, right?”

“Oh. You’re asking me? I really wouldn’t know. Is that really why you quit, though?”

“No. No. That’s just a pet peeve of mine. Why I really quit was the seedy underbelly of the costumed mascot world.”

“Now you’re just making stuff up.”

“It’s true! You see, there was a Chicken Cookout in the same strip mall as us. I had a guy come by dressed up as a chicken with a chef’s hat and an apron. He pushed me over and told me to stay off his curb.  And that was just the start of it. After that, there was this really old Grand Am that would drive by. Except for the driver, all the guys in the car wore chicken suits. At first they threw chicken bones, but then one time it was a chicken with its throat slit. I tried to tell the manager, but he thought I was just trying to weasel out of mascot duty. I got scared, so I put in my two weeks.”

“That’s it?”

“That’s it.”

“God, that is so lame.”

“Hey! You asked!”

“Well, you didn’t have to be that… honest.”


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Filed under Flash Fiction, Session XXII

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