Nobody. Eats. In the bathroom.

I put on a mid-price suit, tie the tie into a double Windsor, visit a local supermercado, and buy three dozen sombreros. They are kind enough to stack them, box them, and carry them to the car. I drive to the Bonsai Burrito and go inside to meet the shift manager, whose name it turns out is Jeffrey.

“What a coinkydink!” I say. “My name is Jeffrey, too! Jeff Louis, new regional manager for the Upper Indiana region.” I shake his hand and ignore his innate clamminess. “We’re going to start this off with a BANG!” I say. “People can get their AmeriMex anywhere, am I right?” Jeffrey looks shell-shocked. 

“Am I right?” I ask. 

“Yessir,” he says.

“So what’s going to set us apart from any other taco slinger? Huh?” 

Jeffrey looks confused.

“Sombreros!” I ejaculate. “Everybody gets one. While supplies last, of course.”

“Sombreros?” asks Jeffrey. He looks on the verge of tears.

“A lot of people don’t realize this, Jeffrey, but we’re in competition not just with Taco-Riffic and TacoBurbia. We’re in competition with other Bonsai Burritos. And this particular store is lagging.”

“Lagging?”

“I believe that competition brings out the best in people. Don’t you?”

“Yessir,” says Jeffrey.

“That’s right! Capitalism is what Jesus preached, so it is good enough for me! And you! Right?”

“Yessir,” he says.
“I’m not saying we go slit their tires, poison their food, or shit in their urinals…at least, not at other Bonsai Burritos, mind you, not yet. You don’t shit where you eat, do you Jeffrey?”

“You eat out of urinals?” he asks.

“Just a figure of speech, Jeffrey. But no. No sir. You don’t shit where you eat. Why not?”

“Because it’s a bathroom?” he asks.

“Nobody. Eats. In the bathroom,” I explain. “But you don’t want to get shit in your food. Am I right?”

“Yessir.”

“I mean, if you want to take a dump in a urinal at TacoBurbia, fine by me. Just not at the other Bonsai Burritos. Oh, and if you do, don’t get caught.”

“Shit in the urinals, sir?”
            “Shit in the urinals,” I say. “Glad we’re on the same page. Back to our problem here. This Bonsai Burrito is sorely lacking, Jeffrey. Sorely lacking.”

“I’m sorry, sir. I just started being a shift manager last month.”

“Last month, eh? That would explain the recent uptick. You’re doing fine work, Jeffrey, fine work. But it isn’t enough. The other Bonsai Burritos are kicking your ass! You have to bring out the big guns. Sombreros.”

“Sombreros?” he says.

“We’re not just about quarterly profits here are we, Jeffrey? Mind if I call you Jeffrey?”

“No sir.”

“No sir, profits? Or No sir, Jeffrey?”

“No sir, both?” 

“Right. We have a long term strategy. We have plenty of cows, and we’re going to slaughter them all, process them into meat, box them up as ground and steaklets, ship them out all around the country, and serve them to people everywhere who are just like the fine people in this very restaurant here. To eat. But pretty soon we are going to run out of cows, so we’ll need more cows. But if we get more cows, we won’t have enough land to raise them on, so we’ll have to cut down more rain forest in South America, to raise more cows, so people can eat more beef. One day the last tree will be cut down, and the last blade of grass will be eaten. Do you know what that means?”

Jeffrey looks uncertain. “The cessation of life on this planet?”

“It means there will be no more beef. So we need for our customers to have eaten more beef than the others, so they will be strong, loyal, and willing and able to fight. This is all coming to a head,” I say matter-of-factly. “What do you suppose we will do when all the beef is gone?”

“I couldn’t say,” says Jeffrey.

“We will switch to other kinds of taco fillers. Different kinds of protein. Ever had a snake taco? Not bad. Not bad at all. A little rubbery, mind you, depending on the snake, but you get used to it. Better than the insect tacos, usually. That’s for sure. But, you know, there will come a time….”

“What about the oxygen, sir?”

“Oxygen smoxygen. Long-term growth is what this company is about.”

 “We’ll pass out,” he says, and then thinking it through, “We’ll all die.”

“Excellent! Fewer Taco-Riffic mercenaries to deal with in the end! We’ll lock those fuckers out of the Bonsai Burrito geodesic domes, and then they’ll be sorry. They. Will. Be. Sorry. Where was I? 

“Yeah, so the sombreros will go over there, on the counter, by the cactuses. Not too close for liability reasons, mind you, but close enough for an authentic visual. I want people to come in and say, cactus, sombreros, tacos. I feel Mexican today. Hell, I AM a Mexican today. Start passing them out to everyone starting in one hour sharp! Can I depend on you Jeffrey?”

“Yessir,” he says.

“I’ll be watching today, but after that you’re on your own. I have every faith in you. Bonsai Burritos needs people just like you. If this works out, it’s all up from here. Up I tell you. Up.” 

———

 REVIEWS

“Part action, part thriller, all comedy, The Librarian at the End of the World fires on all cylinders. Fans of Thomas Pynchon and David Foster Wallace will revel in the ridiculousness that is Miller’s America.”

“A constantly surprising picaresque journey through cultural darkness”

“A most unique rollicking story that careens from the almost familiar instantly into a world of what is happening here?

“Not so much a novel as a perpetual- motion machine: part road-show, part parable, careening between surrealism and comedy”

“Laugh out loud rambling tale of the future/present”

“Prepare to be blown away”

“On the cutting edge of audacious literature”

“Takes madcap to a new level, blending Preston Sturges and Philip Dick”

“Outrageous and thought-provoking”

“Just blown away.”

“Fantastic and bizarre”

“Lovecraft turns Beatnik and drops acid”

“One of the absolutely most freakishly odd books I have ever read”

“It’s like E. L. James, Larry Flynt, and Hunter Thompson somehow merged their DNA”

“Even Carrie Fisher (yes, her vagina is in here) isn’t safe from this menace!”

“If you are looking for a completely unique book, this one is hot!”

“Funny and intelligent”

“Filled with hedonism, erotica and hilarity.”

“Only for strong and fearless readers.”

 “Wild, trippy, fun, and sometimes profound”

“I found myself engaged, disconnected and overwhelmed all at the same time”

 “No one would ever expect this”

“Imagine a world where Thin Man was co-written by Tim Leary and Douglas Adams and set in the Office staffed by assassins”

“Brilliant, raunchy, hilarious, heartfelt, and by the end, breathtaking”

 “Social satire at its best”

“In the end, this romp becomes something else. It becomes a work of art, moving and funny and memorable.”

Editor’s note:  Technically it is her vulva, not her vagina.

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