Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Krispy Kreme Caper

Once upon a time in the college town of Ruston, my roommate, Ray, became the president of Louisiana Tech's sophomore honor society. It's name I can't remember. Being a young, and energetic president of a financially strapped honor society Ray decided to hold a fundraiser. With intensity and flair her chapter sold 126 Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Ray was ecstatic. Her tenure as president was running slicker than goose grease, except for a few, piddling fundraiser complications.

The first complication lay in the location of the nearest store, Jackson, Mississippi. This was just a short three hour jaunt up I-20 from Ruston, so Ray assumed it would pose no problem. The second complication was the matter of transportation. Boldy ignoring the fact she drove a tiny Honda Civic, which could hardly hold 126 dozen doughnuts, Ray volunteered to transport her precious cargo from Jackson to Ruston. She was not going to trust such a precious load to mere minions. Nothing would do but she deliver the delicious payload. Rachel also disregarded the fact that doughnut distribution began at 6 a.m., and she was hardly a morning person.

When faced with a problem, such as how to ferry 126 dozen doughnuts in a Honda Civic, my friends and I always convened in the greasy confines of Ruston’s historic Huddle House. Under the flourescent lighting, and cigarette haze, we would solve the world’s problems, and sometimes our own. All that was required were the never-ending cups of coffee and a fresh pack of Marlboro Lights. True to form, Rachel made the distress call, “Let’s meet at Huddle.” So to Huddle House I went, with a brief stop for more cigarettes.

Once there we racked our brains for the names of friends with pick-ups likely to lone us their vehicle for a 6 hour round trip. We came up blank. No one we knew was that foolish. However, someone upstairs was smiling on us because in walked our favorite coffee drinking Vietnam Vet, Mr. Terry. After a minimum of persuasion, begging, and promises to be very, very, very careful, we traded Ray’s Civic for Mr. Terry’s slightly larger Toyota pickup. Surely it was big enough to hold the doughnuts. After a brief stop for gas, more cigarettes, and a refill of coffee, off we went.

Cruising down I-20, we sucked down coffee and nicoteine, sang along with the XM radio stations, and gossiped shamelessly about everyone we knew, including ourselves. We laughed till tears rolled down our cheeks, and almost got flattened by a semi or two in the process. After about an hour and a half on the road, putting the time of evening around 7:30 p.m. Rachel decided to call Krispy Kreme and notify them of our eminent arrival. Complication 3: she didn’t have the number. Not to worry, her vice president had the number, and actually answered her phone so this was quickly remedied. Rachel dialed Krispy Kreme and was greeted politely by a helpful, then confused employee. She was informed by said confused employee that there was no order for 126 dozen doughnuts to be picked up. No order? How could there be no order?

This fourth complication proved to be the most complicated of them all. At 6 in the morning her bleary eyed sophomores would come straggling in to college their boxes of sugary goodness for distribution before class. After a lengthy discussion with the manager of Krispy Kreme the order for the doughnuts was found, but this did not mitigate the fact that we were a half hour from Jackson, and no doughnuts would be waiting for us.

Once inside the Krispy Kreme we were plyed with effusive apologies and complimentary coffee and doughnuts. We proceeded to drink said coffee, eat said doughnuts, smoke even more cigarettes and agree that yes, this could only happen to us. This preoccupied us for only about an hour, at which point we decided to run over to the Wal-Mart behind the store for some serious time killing. It was now 10 p.m. and the doughnuts just kept rolling down the conveyor belt.

We cruised Wal-Mart's housewares section picking up odds and end we were certain would make our college budget homes feel homier. Then we hit the fabric section to scout material for curtains. Never mind that the most sewing either of us did was re-attaching button! On that night in our caffeine induced euphoria we were certain that with a minimum of effort we could put Martha Stewart to shame with our own "diy" decorating expertise. Then, there it was. The jackpot. The holy grail of funky fabric hunters everywhere. For merely one dollar per yard a lovely far eastern inspired olive and cream, patterned fabric. I had to have it. I envisioned a set of beautiful, exotic olive and cream bed curtains. Here was the flair my brown paneled, brown carpeted room needed to lift it to young woman about town splendor. I snapped it up immediately. Elated, Ray and I adjourned to Krispy Kreme to gloat over our finds and await our order's completion.

The doughnut shop had hopeful news. We only had an hour more. It was now 11 p.m. More coffee, doughnuts, and cigarettes followed. Finally, the wait was over. 126 dozen doughnuts were ready to be loaded. It was now midnight. The laws of physics only allow so much mass to occupy a given space. This law, in practical terms means that 126 dozen doughnuts will most definitely NOT fit into the back of a tiny Toyota pickup. However, the laws of physics do allow for judicious smooshing of boxes of doughnuts to provide a more compacted mass that will fit, if it is tied down under a tarp. With a minimum of fuss and cursing the delicious cargo was loaded and once again we were off on our three hour cruise. We even had an extra 12 dozen doughnuts and extra large coffees to compensate us for hour time.

One would assume that things would go well from this point. However, Murphy's Law disagrees. In the midst of our coffee giggles we took the wrong exit or entrance ramp and ended up at a Nissan plant that was most definitely not on the Interstate when we drove through earlier. Thankfully, a Mississippi state trooper pulled us over for driving erratically; he didn't realize we were trying to read the road signs. After a Breathalizer test, an explanation, and a bribe of 6 dozen warm doughnuts, he kindly led us back to the Interstate.

It was 4:30 a.m. when we rolled back into Ruston. Exhausted, reeking of cigarettes, coffee, and the once appetizing odor of cigarettes we fell into beds to enjoy a queasy sleep for the scant hour before doughnut distribution was scheduled to begin. An hour later we were up and moving, still slightly nauseous from all the fried bread. But our hearts were glad, and our heads were held high. We had successfully pulled off the Krispy Kreme caper. We handed off our cargo, and went to class. After class we went home to shower and sleep. On the way in we grabbed the fabric brag, the better to gloat over our doubly successful night. We could get doughnuts and decorate. Closer inspection revealed the fabric was hopelessly ugly in the light of day. Ah well, I didn't end up with bed curtains, but it made a good story anyway.

Why One More Story

Happily ever after has long been one of my favorite phrases. It was the only satisfactory ending to any fairytale during my childhood. As an adult, it is the hope for a happy ever after that has me reading love stories, murder mysteries, and fantasy series. After I find that happy ever after at the end of the tale, I inevitably start looking for another. Always, there is one more story. Now I'm going to share my stories with you. Perhaps I haven't found my happy ever after quite yet, but maybe, in the act of finding just one more story in my life, I'll find it. It is with hope and great pleasure that I share my life's small odysseys with you.