The Debaucherous Quest For The Xbox 360, Part 2

TAMPA, FL – I took a walk down Dale Mabry Highway to the liquor store so I could stock up & regroup while coming up with a new master plan to acquire one of these pesky brain-numbing devices. A brisk pace through the stark Tampa streets in the moist air that is Southern November can be quite pleasant when one stops to notice – especially when you add whiskey.

When I told the clerk at the liquor store I wanted a pint of Old Crow, he warned me of the dangers of playing Russian roulette with the infamous “Dirty Bird”, and suggested I reconsider. I assured him I was fully aware of the dark and sinister power of the beverage, and I possessed all that was necessary to enjoy such a fine swill. For over a century tasteful consumers, displaced blacksmiths, desperate wife-beaters, and serial rapists have enjoyed Old Crow – and it was by far my drink of choice. The clerk also told me he used to have a job unloading weekly shipments of merchandise at Wal-Mart, and that security was rather light in the rear of the store where he used to work, and someone could maneuver their way through the back entrance as long as one wasn’t too suspicious and was able to blend in. I felt I was the perfect man for the job. With a flask of whiskey in my pocket, a man as unhinged and askew as myself is capable of pretty much anything seen on this planet since 33 A.D.

The loading/unloading area was very busy, with a bunch of minimum wage clones stampeding about with boxes of merchandise, resembling what a cocaine factory in Columbia must look like on shipping day. I easily slid through the back door and past all of the workers without issue and made my way inside. I knew if I wanted any chance of getting hold of an Xbox, I’d need to appear like I should be holding one, so I headed to the employee break room. Here I could find a Wal-Mart uniform, or possibly befriend a worker who’d sympathize with my predicament.

I walked into the break room, which was relatively empty except for a lone Hispanic man slouching over a large bucket filled with platanos watching reruns of Dr. Phil.

“How do you do, sir?” I said, trying to come up with a story. “Has the manager come by yet?”

He replied in a thick Mexican accent, “No. Who are you looking for?”

“Well, I can’t remember his name, but I’m getting a job in sporting goods and I’m here to fill out my paperwork.” I figured this would be a good yarn. “Off work for the night?”

“I’m on my break, right now,” he says, “I’ve got another thirty minutes or so till I got to go back.”

I sit down next to him as I pull out the Old Crow and take a swig, “Wanna slam a drink with me, duder?”

He was reluctant at first, and had a look on his face that wondered why a person would be drinking whiskey while in the process of getting a new job. I could see he was thrown off by my offer.

“My woman is a freggin’ bitch,” I tell him to ease his worry, and hand him the bottle.

He begins laughing, “We all got that shit, man,” as he grabs the bottle and joins me for a drink.

I sat with him as we finished off the Old Crow in fifteen minutes or so, while watching and ridiculing Dr. Phil and his guests. This episode, Dr. Phil was trying to mend a broken family after years of separation due to a sexual crime committed by a grandfather to his grand-daughter – though I guess that’s what all of his episodes are about.

After the booze was gone and had ample time to set in, I make my move. “Are you getting one of these Xboxes tonight?”

“Oh, I wish I could man. That shit is supposed to be tight, man,” he says.

I ask, “Do you know where they are keeping them? I’ve got a huge bankroll and I’m buying a load of them for a friend of mine who is exporting them to Turkey. They are paying top dollar… it’s going to be quite a score. If we can find the back stock of them, I’ll give you one of the ones I’m supposed to sell. What do you say?”

“There’s a box full of them reserved for employees in the back. They won’t be able to get to them until after the third shift is over,” he says.

“Well, let’s fucking get to it, buddy,” I said as we packed up all of our shit and made our way towards the mother-load.

As we began our journey through the underbelly of this massive retail beast, I saw a crate full of Pabst that was unattended, so I grabbed a six-pack for us to pound to add some gritty flavor to this journey. I grabbed his arm as I merged into a side aisle of toilet paper and cleaning supplies so we could do a trifecta of Pabst shotguns. To my surprise, my anonymous Mexican friend was a true grizzly creature and was able to keep up with me stride for stride. We continued walking and then abruptly stopped, “This should be it,” he says.

We began tearing through boxes of merchandise employees had on hold, and finally came to the box full of Xboxes.

“This is it!” He yells. “We gotta move fast though. There isn’t much time.”

I grabbed a dolly that was resting on the sidewall and began transferring the Xboxes from the shipping box into a plastic crate. We loaded up the dolly with a dozen or so Xboxes and began our journey back through the belly of the beast.

As we were walking back, I receive a phone call from Egbert, “I just got out of customs. How are you coming along?”

I whisper to him in a very forceful way, “I’m in the Wal-Mart stock room and I’ve got a whole crate of these things. Where are you?”

Egbert replies, “Good work, man. I’m leaving the airport right now.”

“Get your ass down here right now and pick me up. This could get a little hot, considering I’m about to walk out the back of the store and commit a felony,” I tell him.

“I’m just down the street, I’ll be there in two minutes,” he says and hangs up.

My Mexican friend and I emerge from the bellows of the storage room, and out into a heavily populated area. Most everyone appeared very busy, however, and our presence was almost unnoticed and our eventual escape was imminent. As we began walking towards the exit, a man who appeared to be a member of the management team screamed out to my friend, “Miguel! Hey, Miguel!”

He turned to me and gave me a look of despair, and said, “I’ll take care of him. Get out of here.”

Before I could respond, he turned around and began running towards the man, flailing his arms and screaming aloud some sort of ancient Mexican battle cry most likely mumbled by Che Guevara while in battle. He close-lined the manager and took out several other workers in his fall.

As I galloped towards the exit, I shoved the dolly into a group of workers who were in my way. I made it outside and saw Egbert speeding through the parking lot towards the rear of the store. A man approached me, but before he could speak, I elbowed him in the face with my free arm, causing him to collapse. I sprinted over to Egbert’s car, tossing the crate into the back seat and jumped in.

As he peeled across the lot, a security cart attempted to block the exit of the parking lot that would allow us to enter the Interstate 275 on-ramp. Before he could position his cart, I threw the empty crate at him, causing him to abruptly stop, and giving us just enough of a gap to maneuver through and leave this forsaken hell-hole – out of the belly of the retail beast, and onto the highway, and deliverance.

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