Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The McDowell Chronicles: The True Adventures of a Jimmy John's Shift Manager

The following harrowing tales are written by the gifted scribe and sandwich master Rainy McDowell.


Book 1: Thor's Hammer

Author's note: The only real people in this story are me and Alex McRaniels. I should note again to you JJ's people, that the Alex in this story isn't Alex Awtry.

Thor is a badass Nordic god with a hammer that can shoot lightning. He is automatically better than your god because he spends his time fighting giants with a hammer and looking awesome. I learned this from a rather unexpected source.

Enter the prophet.

Working in a sandwich shop, I deal with the same kinds of people every single day. There’s the over made-up sorority girls who order a turkey sandwich, the generic frat guys who order a turkey sandwich, and of course, there’s the crazy guys who preach about Thor … and order a turkey sandwich.

It all starts in the middle of a pretty boring run of the mill shift, when Loki enters. (I don’t remember his name. So for the sake of this story, his name is Loki) Immediately, I am wary of this guy. He looks like Stephen Baldwin would look if he was unshaven, unshowered, and had been training for some kind of bumfighting tournament. He has on a black hoodie, and there is some drool or spit on his chest. His speech is slurred, and I can barely understand anything he is saying. After a few moments I get that he’s asking for a turkey sandwich. No problem. He pays for the turkey sandwich and sits down at a booth and begins eating while I make his sandwich. That’s right. He begins eating something while I make the only thing that he purchased. I finish making the sandwich and walk out to hand it to him when I see an oatmeal raisin cookie lying on the floor in the lobby. Putting my detective skills to work, I deduce that the cookie he is eating came from that very wrapper. Not wanting to confront this crazy fool by myself, I decide to let it slide. Hey, I’m not getting stabbed by some crazy guy over a cookie. Oh yeah, did I mention I’m alone? Cause, yeah. I am. Well, alone with Loki, naturally.

But Rainy, why are you alone? You ask.

I’ll tell you.

While I’m dealing with Loki, My manager trainee Padawan, Alex, is escorting my least favorite employee ever to a nearby drugstore. (To be nice, I’ll refrain from using her real name and will refer to her as the sludgebeast for the rest of the story) While the sludgebeast is generally ill-tempered and unpleasant to be around, they are also afraid to walk alone when it is dark outside. I certainly wasn’t going to go with her, so unfortunately for Alex, he was the only remaining option. It turns out that it was that special time of the month and the sludgebeast assured me that if she didn’t get any feminine products, we would all be drowning in a sea of her sludge before the night was over. Fair enough. You win this round sludgebeast.

Meanwhile, Loki is enjoying his turkey sandwich and cookie when another customer comes in to order… wait for it… a turkey sandwich! This guy looked to be East Indian, something that wouldn’t have come to mind if it weren’t for all of the awful things that Loki had to say about him after he had left. This guy had set something off inside of Loki. He had worked himself up into frenzy, ranting to himself about other cultures, religion, and Thor knows what else. (As a side note, Loki also has a drink at this point. Your guess is as good as mine) I’m starting to wonder why Obi-Wan and the sludgebeast are taking so long to get back from the drugstore.

Loki stands up.
He’s going to leave. Good.
Loki walks back to the register to talk to me.
Alright, I’m game. Let’s talk.
Loki reaches into the front pocket of his hoodie.
Now my brain jumps into overtime. I’m thinking, “This is bad. Is he going to rob me at gunpoint? Maybe knifepoint? He’s already stolen a cookie and a drink (stealthily). He’s crazy and angry since that Indian guy was here, maybe he’ll just shoot/stab first and then leave. Why don’t you have security cameras you stupid shitty restaurant?!” My eyes are glued to the hand in his pocket when he pulls out…

An oatmeal raisin cookie.

I let out an inaudible sigh of relief.

I look back up to him and give him a slight laugh and a look that expressed my sentiment of “Dude, really? What the hell?” Before I can say, “Dude, really?” he spits out a line that I can’t help but laugh at.

L: “You gave me this.”
Me: “I’m pretty sure I didn’t.”
L: “You gave me this.”
Me: “Ok, well if I did, I didn’t mean to.”

I take the cookie from him and put it back, at which point, our conversation takes a turn for the unexpected. He grabs the gold pendant (amulet of power) around his neck and holds it out to me, asking me if I know what it is. I don’t. So, he tells me, “Thor’s Hammer.”

L: “Do you know of Thor?”
Me: “Vaguely”

He then proceeds to tell me all about how Thor is the only true god, and I quickly realize that the job of a prophet of Thor is to talk all kinds of shit about the other gods. This dude is out there, I mean, he’s gone at this point. He’s talking a mile a minute, but I get a basic idea of what he’s saying. (Thor is Awesome) After his empowering endorsement he stops and stares at me for several moments. I had lost track of what he was saying completely by that point, but I got the feeling that I was supposed to give some kind of input. I start to give him a really slow nod, as if to say, “I never thought of that, but totally, yeah man, hell yeah.” Before I can get this nod going he reaches back into his pocket and pulls out a silver “Thor’s Hammer” and puts it in my hand. With this, he says, “I want you to have this.” I take it, because, well, I don’t want to offend Loki or Thor… plus, free amulet of power! Score.

Just in time to not save me, the sludgebeast and her captor waltz back into the store. Immediately I sense that Thor’s prophets are a natural enemy of the sludgebeast. Loki is back on the oatmeal cookie tangent again, picking one back up and telling me, “You gave me this.” The sludgebeast takes up a queen bitch attitude and interjects with, “Sir. Did you pay for this?”

*** At this point I must interrupt the story with a precautionary message. The following events are pretty graphic, so if you have a heart condition or are easily startled, I advise you to stop reading now. Also if for some reason you are reading this story to a small child or a group of small children, I would recommend you also skip the ending of this story. ***

*** The following events happened exactly as I have written. They have not been exaggerated or embellished in any way. ***

Upon being interrogated by the sludgebeast, Loki grew several feet taller and was engulfed in a heavenly amber light aura. If there was a bumfight tournament to be won, he was prepared to crush opposing bums into a fine powder. He had retained his bummish rugged looks, but gained the bulk to fight any man or beast that threatened. The sludgebeast showed its true form as well. Its skin turned a dark brownish green color and it slumped down to rest on its four legs. Razor sharp quills and claws sprouted from her body. The supernatural pair filled a majority of the lobby. Alex and I jumped for cover behind the cold table to avoid damage from the battle that was soon to ensue.

While we were unable to see much of the battle, let me assure you that the sound was deafening. After several minutes of fighting, I peaked over the table to see Loki hurling the sludgebeast against a wall near the back of the store. He was badly wounded from the quills lining her body, but this move allowed him to catch his breath just long enough for his final attack. Seizing the amulet in his hand, Loki shouted, “By the power of Thor’s Hammer, DEMON BE VANQUISHED!”

A blinding light filled the area. The sludgebeast’s body ripped apart at the seams and exploded, covering the store in slabs of dark greenish brown flesh and sludge. The store was safe again. We hadn’t had a customer in at least thirty minutes. Alex and I thanked Loki for his assistance and watched as he summoned two maidens before riding into the twilight on a White Unicorn. Two masculine, but beautiful, Nordic women cleaned and repaired the lobby of the store before returning to Valhalla or something. I think that’s about it. We had a pretty good close that night.

And yes, I still have the amulet.


Image courtesy of Hayman Celtic Jewelry.

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