THE CURB – Why am I out here in the driving rain selling soggy doughnuts? It’s because my current financial situation is somewhat lacking. But hear my story and it may save you a lot of trouble, not to mention threats and a possible lynching. My attempt to get rich failed when no one would buy my iPad literary effort, “Almost Honest: Goldman Sachs Business Ethics.” One critic wrote, “It’s on-line and off its rocker.” Another reviewer opined: “Failed to launch on the iPad.”
Next I opened a coffee house for members of the Tea Party. They kept paying in doubloons. My sulfur bathhouse for pyromaniacs, Arson Wells, was closed by the ATF. But that government raid gave me an idea: escorts for traveling members of the Secret Service. You know how exhausting those presidential trips can be. I called my enterprise Undercover Agents and charged the $830,000 bill to the GSA which said it could handle the tab from petty cash, but only if its West Coast executives could participate. For some reason, this effort, too, was shut down by the authorities even through it is perfectly legal in Colombia.
“What you need to do,” said my financial adviser during visiting hours, “is go into the hottest fad around.”
“Super PACs, so I can rake in millions of dollars anonymously?”
“No, start a food truck. They have been around for years, but only as taco wagons for Hispanics at work jobs. Go to any construction site about lunch time and you would see silver-backed vehicles sporting Spanish words like ‘enchiladas,’ ‘tamales’ ‘matzah balls’ and ‘haggis.’ That’s changed. Today all kinds of trucks are touring towns with all sorts of food. Austin is the leading city in America for food trucks, but then Austin has always been the cutting edge for living off the fad of the land. Like the time they outlawed frowning and opened a day care center for pedophiles.” Just then the guard said time was up.
By selling my corneas, I had enough money to buy a food truck. Since it travelled on wheels, I called it Tired Food. No one came. A change was needed, so I specialized in Chinese food and called my rig, “Peking Truck – Bills and Feathers Go Together.” The Health Department branded me a “yellow peril” and took away my license. French cooking is always popular, so I changed my enterprise to the Driving-in-Seine Café. It was doing fine until it was invaded by a German food truck, the Pots & Panzers. I surrendered immediately.
I bought a double-decker London bus and converted it into a food truck. Then I hired a British chef and specialized in British food. My customers said it tasted like British food and left. The end came when, like the Brits, I was driving on the left-hand side of the road and got smashed by a double-wide Winnebago towing an F-16. The Irish like to eat and drink, which gave me inspiration for the Blarney Kidney Stone. I was severely beaten with shillelaghs.
“My economic world is crumbling,” I wailed to my financial adviser. He picked up another beer can from beside the road and tossed it into his sack. “They pay 10 cents a pound. Your problem is all that ethnic stuff has been done before. You’re not thinking original. Come up with something new.”
A week later I was back in business with a food truck aimed specifically at Madison Avenue ad executives and ranchers. I called it the Mad Cow. The ranchers said, “Get a rope.” The ad guys agreed, saying, “Let’s run him up the flagpole and see if anyone salutes.” Other food truck efforts proved equally disastrous. No one came to buy anything from my Detroit pancake café for children, the Edsel and Griddle. Once I thought my luck had changed when I opened a foodie wagon out on a highway for aspiring presidents, since there were hundreds of them. I called it the Truck Stops Here. No one did.
It was then that I noticed the difference in operating a food truck and a regular brick-and-rat-droppings restaurant. For instance, did you know that you can cook dumplings in slightly used 40 weight oil? Bugs on the windshield have a use, while I now call road kill “wheels on meals.” One DPS trooper issued me a ticket for DWP – Driving While Pureeing. Possibly I needed to change my menu to reflect my mobility. Muffler muffins stank. Hash on the dash failed, too. My hub cappuccinos died, perhaps because the cup was too big. I thought my Transmission Impassable was cute. No one else did. I stopped changing the menu after rejection of my Rear View Marrow.
“It’s all about location,” my financial adviser said as he showed me his new orange jumpsuit. “You’ve got to go where the customers are.”
He was right, as usual, so I got out a map and found the right spot. I parked my truck between the lanes of the I-20 expressway and hung up a big sign, The Happy Median. I had to close after TxDOT mowers cut the hose I used to siphon water from the state tourist stop. Moving to another highway during early spring, I revealed my newest effort, a drive-through for getaway cars, the Bluebonnet & Clyde. The FBI blasted me with Tommy guns. News stories said there were survivalists camped in the Big Thicket awaiting the communist takeover by the Osama regime. That’s the ticket, Thicket. I painted my food wagon camouflage, filled it with MREs and fried possum and, taking a page from “Apocalypse Now,” I played “Ride of the Valkyries” on loudspeakers. I had to leave when collateral damage wounded my tailgunner.
My financial adviser stepped from the lineup and said, “Stay with your dream but remember the motto of your type of food truck, ‘It’s hard to hit a moving target.’ Otherwise, you’ll end up selling soggy doughnuts in the rain.”
Ashby is mobile at email@example.com