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Taco Ballz Deep- Chapter Four: A Good Ole' Squeezin'

It was still early in the afternoon when the cosplayers started coming in. Una had just enough time to catch herself fawning over Miro's well-muscled biceps to notice them from her peripheral. They could be overheard complaining about the "old guys" who had their permits set up at the park. "I can't believe we aren't supposed to be there until 8 PM. I mean who was in charge?" one said as he threw his foam sword into a booth. "One of the geezers called me 'girlie,'" said another with neon pink hair and a micro-mini skirt. Her companion put his arm around her before he signaled to Una. "Hey, we're ready to order. Where's the menu?" Una pointing to the menu sign above her head from where she stood behind the cash register informed them, "Oh you order here actually." The cosplayers moaned in annoyance at having to get up. "Guess who's not getting a tip?" One quipped loudly to another. Una looked at her tip jar, which thankfully had already been split between herself and Miro after the Civil War reenactors had left.

"We'll take one order of the Hot Taco Ballz combo and two of the double thick cream horchata smoothies," the Elf cosplayer ordered, "and do you accept dogecoin here?" Una glanced back at Miro who had listened to the request and responded with a thumbs-down motion. Una looked to the cosplayers and answered, "Sorry not today, it seems." There were a few more cosplayers who trickled into the restaurant to order. For the most part, they hung around to eat before leaving, as opposed to the typical drive-thru and go-to orders the restaurant received.

Soon a couple of customers started to live-action role-play (LARP) in the parking lot. Once a solid-sized crowd gathered, one ran in and said, "Did you know there's a couple of hobos going at it behind the dumpsters?" Una finally wanting to see for herself told Miro she was going on her break. Miro followed behind her with a cigarette in hand, protectively calling "Wait, I'm going with you." There outside in the light of day were two chaffed and exhausted hobos who were nude from their waists down, still humping each other despite both being flaccid. Una shook her head as she took it all in out of morbid curiosity. Miro who towered over her when he was standing close commented, "They're all tuckered out." Una worried asked, "Do you think they'll do something bad to the customers after they're done?" Miro took a long drag off of his Marlboro Red before flicking it to the ground behind them and replied, "No, I think we can throw some butcher paper over them and they'll move on after they finish. I've seen them before, and they never bothered anybody. It's weird that they were the couple Chris and Pete were talking about." Una agreed with Miro's plan before going inside to grab some butcher paper to cover the cuddling men.

By then the parking lot was full of dozens of cosplayers LARPing. Some were dressed as their favorite anime characters while others were in medieval garb. Una assumed it was some type of cosplay collective that took place at the park but had now informally relocated to Taco Ballz. A line had formed in front of the register where both Civil War Re-enactors and cosplayers were. The Civil War Re-enactors were not impressed with the cosplaying LARPers and vice versa. It wasn't long until there was a fitness challenge thrown down between the two groups. Miro who delighted in instigating the conflict offered to give a drum of grease he was not going to use, to allow a champion from each group to wrestle for the glory of their comrade's egos.

Una was too busy side-eyeing Miro to have the laugh the moment deserved. The Civil War Re-enactors chose from their group, Dale a fifty-five-year-old, truck driver from Florida. The cosplayers decided on Roberta Rose, a forty-two-year-old extra hefty Air Force veteran and mother of six from New Jersey. Una was sure that each wrestler tipped the scales at least somewhere near the three-hundred-pound mark. Miro had the excited onlookers go to the front lawn of the restaurant and with the help of one of the spectators poured the vat of freshly cooled cooking oil over Dale and Roberta. Una purposefully trying to distance herself from the commotion, watched from a stool by the drive-through window inside, because she thought someone was surely going to get sued for this.

The match had begun with timid lounges until 'Berta had Dale in a headlock. Then Dale using the grease's lubrication slipped out to put "Berta in an arm bar. She looked like she was going to tap out when a Legolas look-alike cosplayer kicked Dale yelling, "How could you?! She's a mother!" In response, Dale's buddy, Rick knocked him down retorting, "You're fighting dirty! Don't worry Dale, I'll handle him for you!" Upon seeing this a Confederate Actor sucker punched Legolas's pal who was dressed as a trans-Bilbo, causing all hell to immediately break out. The ruckus outside caused the patrons from the Tilted Beaver to come out to see the spectacle. The strippers followed because they were irked by being upstaged as the most outrageous scene to be witnessed at 3 pm on a Sunday. Miro could not hide his amusement, especially when a glitter-covered woman wearing nipple pasties slapped Bill who was trying to stop her from getting in between a patron hitting a cosplayer.

The situation escalated, with strippers clawing cosplayers and Confederate Re-enactors indiscriminately with their long acrylic nails. They would have had the upper hand as no one can stop a person who can function in stilettoes and a micro thong for employment as they could, except that their false eyelashes did prove to be a visual impairment at times of high wind. The hobos for their part, slept through people tossing each other like dolls, and the cheap shots to oversized guts being thrown around until the police were called to break up the melee. Miro straightened up when he saw the sirens coming and ran inside to the deep fryer, then he proceeded to pretend to be shocked at the scene when he was questioned. Una tried not to laugh at the ridiculousness of everything when a female officer asked her, "And ma'am did you witness a medieval bar wrench slap the Confederate Major?"

It took a good hour before everything died down. Hair extensions and male griddles were frayed on the streets alike. Once the restaurant was empty and the sun had set, Una playfully chided Miro, "I can't believe you egged them on. You should know better. How old are you anyway? 30? 40?" Miro acting offended answered, "40?" then imitating the police officer who questioned Una earlier, "Why ma'am, did you know I'm the same age as you?" Una giggled, "You're 25?" Miro looked at her lifting one eyebrow, and said, "More like 31." Una blushed, he must have read her application. "Hey, I thought your Uncle hired me, not you." Miro coming clean told her, playfully answered "I may have checked you out." This was the first time that Miro had openly flirted with Una, who could have swooned just then. However, she fighting her elated grin instead asked, "What else do you know about me, Mr. Wolfgang?" Miro ever the professional redirected the topic with, "I think you're supposed to be helping me pack up this kitchen Ms. Gold." Una skipped back to work, she was beside herself with admiration for Miro.


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