By Diana Higgins
It’s evening, around seven. Burrito Amigos is having a slow night. The only customers in the restaurant, two elderly people near the door, throw away their trash and leave. The employee, a white man in his early twenties, sweeps the floor near the soda machine. His sweeping is fast, almost to the beat of the loud, festive Hispanic music that fills the restaurant.
The phone rings and the employee takes an order for a carne asada amigo and chicken tacos. Two men come in, both with sunglasses on their heads. It is sunny out, and the men leave the windows of their black SUV down. Both men want a bean and cheese burrito. The first wants no beans and no sour cream. The second wants a side of chips and salsa. The employee calls the order back to the cooks in Spanish. He is very friendly, and the two men have a conversation with him while they wait for their food.
“How come every time I get drunk I end up next to a burrito place?”
“We do that purposefully.” The employee laughs and then the three men have a conversation about the marketing techniques of a burrito restaurant in a college town that spans several minutes. A bell dings and the employee brings out the bean and cheese burritos.
The dining area has rust-colored walls covered in black and white photos of Hispanic people from history. There is a rustic clock near the bean and cheese burrito table and some fake-looking plants are strategically placed in the corners. The place smells like a fast food restaurant sprinkled with spices. The strawberry Jarritos soda is very sweet.
A woman comes in with a young boy. He is wearing a baseball uniform. His jersey has the Walgreens “W” on the front and the number 00 on the back. The woman calls him Tyler. They order food to go, and the woman says Tyler needs to shower when they get home. He is very fidgety and walks around impatiently while they wait for their food.
The sun is going down. Tyler is hungry. The bean and cheese burrito men have left in their black SUV. A few men enter the sports bar across the parking lot, and a woman leaves it carrying a magazine and a big, black purse.
More customers come in, all wanting their food to go. A tattooed man, a gray-haired couple, a man in all black, two women with glasses, and some college kids in sweatpants.
They all order, wait, get their food and leave. The music is loud. The employee sweeps again.