Star City, Arkansas – Home of the Beefaroni Burger Boy

I drove my Dad and Grandmother into Star City today to pick up a used automatic envelope stuffer my dad found on the internet. The Oldsmobile has been real smoky lately and Lloyd, my Daddy’s old Vocational Tech teacher from when he was in high school, said that that the engine was not right and he’d need to get it worked on by a real mechanic. So now it is smoky and slow. We took Highway 425 south. It's only a two-lane highway so everyone was honkin and cussin us real bad when they’d pass us.

 

I don’t like going out in public anyhow and I sure don’t like driving this cruddy piece of junk that makes me even more of a target. I can’t help the way I am and I sure can’t help the way the Oldsmobile drives either. I suppose in a lot of ways we are alike. You know, the car and me. Except that nothing can fix me but some self-control, as my mama used to say. Well my mama is dead now, just over a year passed, and it seems no one is telling me that anymore. So here I am. Depressed, rejected, and mad at myself and my Dad. Wishing really bad I was at home. My grandmother had the day off and thought she might visit one of her dance partners who lives in Star City. He used to dance with her at the VFW, but took a job as a nighttime security guard at a Big Lots! store. I get the feeling Grandmother likes the fellah, but I am not going to start any rumors just yet.

We crawled into Star City just about 11:30 AM and I had burnt off the Loaded Biscuit n' Gravy Bowl I got at Hardee's this morning. I'd never been to Star City before, so I had no idea where to eat in town. Apparently Star City does not have a Hardee’s, so I had to make my mind up real quick, because my belly was starting to hurt something awful. There was a place off the highway called Charlotte’s Café that had a sign that had a sign that read ‘The Beefaroni Burger Boy is BACK!’ I could not help myself because my mouth started to water up something fierce! I had never had no noodles on a hambuger before – especially some good old Beefaroni noodles with the sauce, meat and everything! My grandmother started saying something about gettin to the Motel 6 lobby in time to meet her friend, but I was already parked and halfway to the door before she could finish her sentence. I forgot Dad was still in the car so I had to go back outside and get him. But not before the magical smell of hot Beefaroni filled my nostrils with it’s divine aroma. This was going to be good. This was going to be REAL good.

I stepped back out the front door and the Oldsmobile and Grandma wasn’t there, only my Daddy sittin in his wheelchair wavin at me. I said an ugly word and walked over to help Dad get pushed into Charlotte’s Café. I know Grandmother was excited about going to Star City, but I had no idea she would just abandon us like that. To tell you the truth, I had no idea where I was and only Grandma had a map she had made from the internet. Another ugly word or two later, I decided we had just better wait for Grandma to get over with her visit at the Hotel 6 and hunker down here at Charlotte’s.

The thought of being mad soon disappeared once we sat down and the sweet smell of Beefaroni started waftin into my nose again. I felt like a little kid when my mama used to make me a whole pot of Beefaroni for dinner! I would sit on the couch and she would bring me the whole pot to work on while watchin TV. Those were good times.

My dad leaned over the table, and asked me, “Did your grandmother give you any money, Son?”

My jaw hit the table! “No Daddy! She was going to write her paycheck over to the guy with the envelope stuffing machine. I think she was supposed to buy us lunch with some of her mad money!”

“You remember she told you this morning that she only had $16 to spend on this trip, and you spent all of that she had. She even had to work out some sort of deal with the manager for the rest. You ate up all of the money she had for your breakfast, son!”

This was BAD. REAL BAD. My stomach wasn’t going to take this easily and it was already clearin room for that Beefaroni burger as we spoke. I asked the waitress if there was ANYTHING I could do to earn some lunch money. I explained that even though there town did not have one, that I have been working without pay at a the country’s premier, nationally recognized burger restaurant in the country. And even though I did not want to sound all high and mighty on my self, that I could show them some of the stuff I knew for the price of one of them Beefaroni burgers. My Daddy started saying something about an iced tea with lemon, but I put my hand over his mouth before he could finish. The waitress went back and talked to the chef, who turned to look at me and my Daddy. He smiled and said something like”.... Sure, tell him to empty the grease pails and....”

How could he have known the ONE thing I hate to do and that is emptying the grease buckets! I swear there is something alive in the grease dumpster back home at our Hardee’s . But imagine what kind of hillbilly grease monster is going to be here swimming in a rotten pool of catfish guts and beefaroni scrapins. She came back and told me I would have to sweep the parking lot, clean the men’s restroom and empty the grease buckets into the dumpster out back. I smiled and said, “okay.” but I was actually far from okay. My tummy was about to eat itself and I was beginning to hate this trip again. My dad was just sittin there readin the ketchup bottle and trying to avoid me, I could tell. I said, “Daddy, you get the parking lot. I’ll do the other stuff.”

Looking back on it now, giving a legless man in a wheelchair the duty of sweeping a parking lot was probably not the best decision because, by the time I had finished giving the toilets a clean swirly, I found him in the parking lot trying to hold the broom with his good hand and move his chair with his bad one. This was not going to work. I should have given him toilet duty. I finished up the parking lot in about forty-five minutes and made the slowest walk of my life back to the rear of the kitchen where one of the fry cooks had placed the buckets of grease. They were real heavy, but I tried anyway to carry two at a time so I could get this over with. The lids wern’t on real tight, so a big slosh of hot grease spring out and got all over my shoes. It hurt something fierce and I even started to cry a little because it hurt so bad. I decide to only carry one at a time.

I had to walk along this elevated wooden walkway atop a downward slope into the tree line behind Charlotte’s Café. It was like someone turned off the lights because it was solid trees and bushes back there. I could hear things moving in the leaves underneath the walkway and I was getting really scared. I walked through a spider web and it was all over my face and I swore that durn spider was crawling right in my shirt and I knew I was going to have to let go of the bucket real quick. I dropped the bucket on the walkway and it broke through onto the ground below leaving a huge greasy mess. There was all sorts of gross stuff in that bucket. I could see the dumpster just thirty or forty feet ahead, but that bucket broke the path and I was scared my weight might make things worse. I walked slowly backwards towards the exit from the woods.

What I did next I will probably regret for a long time, because my fear was not going to let me walk back into those woods again, so I picked up a bucket and flung it as hard as I could into the woods. You could hear the crackin of tree limbs then finally a HUGE splash and another loud crack! I peeked into the woods and could see that I had somehow managed to bust another hole into the walkway, all but making it impossible to walk down. I was really in trouble now. I went ahead and tossed the other seven buckets into the woods and tried to act all calm and casual when I walked into Charlotte’s Café afterwards.

My Daddy was at another table talking about car racing and there on the table was the most beautiful burger I had ever seen in my life – The Beefaroni Burger Boy. I asked if I may have a Mr. Pibb to wash it down, but she said all they had were Dr. Peppers. I said, “okay.” The first bite was like dying and going to heaven! The chef certainly did not skimp on the american cheese, Beefaroni and mayo. In fact he must have doubled everything feelin sorry for me. There are times when your mouth is full of something good that you do not even wanna swallow because you won’t be able to taste it anymore and and you will have eaten a portion of something so good you know it will not last forever. I was about to eat my next bite when I heard the chef ask the fry cook, “Did chubs bring back my grease bucket?” I sat frozen in terror for a moment, then quickly started to chow down the Beefaroni burger knowing he was about to find out what I had done.

The fry cook pointed out the back door towards the woods. I was about halfway down with my burger and realized I could not even taste the thing anymore. I really wanted a sip of Dr. P something awful, but I had to get this burger down before the [blank] hit the fan. The chef walked out back, and I was building up a fierce sweat on my face. I could not even help from dropping big globs of Beefaroni, mustard and mayo on my shirt. The situation was hopeless and I was losing time fast. With two more bites left I heard the chef scream, “What the holy [bleepin] Happened here! What the [bleepin] happened to my [bleepin] Walkway! What the [bleepin] happened to my [bleepin] Buckets!”

I literally shoved the last two bites into my mouth and ran to the table my Daddy was chattin at, screaming we had to go! My mouth was full of Beefaroni burger so he could not understand a word I was sayin. I tried to say, “I’m sorry” and grabbed the released the wheel lock and grabbed the handles of the chair. I used him to batter ram the door open and was making a beeline for the road. That chef came runnin out the door cussin and yellin. Threatening to kill me. I couldn’t run with with my mouth full of Beefaroni burger and in fact could not breathe either. I stopped and threw up. I threw up every last bite of that unbelievable burger. The Beefaroni Burger Boy would never come back to my world.

Dad and me walked down Highway 425 several miles, it seemed, not talking to each other. He just sat looking forward, occasionally fidgetin in his chair to make himself comfortable. We saw the Motel 6 on a street going left off of Highway 425 and made our way towards it. Grandma was there standing next to the Oldsmobile waving at the fellah as he drove out of the parking lot in his truck. She saw us and gave that “I’m sorry, but what can you do” shrug and came over to help me get Daddy in the car. She told me to get back onto Highway 425, heading south.

We were pretty sore at her and I think she could feel that too. She said, “Don’t ask me how I got it, but I have fifty bucks to take my favorite men out to dinner. Wherever you like!”

My Daddy muttered from the backseat, “Why not back at Charlotte’s Café. Hmmh, Junior?”

I could not think of eating, even though my body told me I was starving. I had taken just too much dang abuse today and all I wanted to do was get Daddy’s stupid envelope stuffing machine and go home. At least we have a Hardee’s there anyway.

DaddysLittleBoy DaddysLittleBoy
18-21, M
7 Responses Jul 19, 2007

Wonderful story. Told like a true Arkie.

Too Funny..Nothing more needs to be said

dude, do not go back to charlotte's, you got one *** whopping burger waiting 4 you there. Let us know about your future trips LoLoL

YOU ROCK SWEETHEART!! YOU ARE A TALENTED WRITER! I LAUGHED, I CRIED, 2 HUGE THUMBS UP. i THINK YOU ARE COOL!

this was the stilliest thing i have ever read....

I love this one just how I love my Lexus oil filter

You are a very talented writer. I hope you are keeping a journal somewhere.