Even before Janet saw the straws hanging out of the teen’s nose, she knew the kid would be trouble. Everyone at Barney’s Burgers had heard the souped-up engine and blaring rap music. The Camry screeched to a stop at Janet’s drive-thru window. Without bothering to turn down the music or remove the straws, the driver ordered four burgers.
“You want fries with that?” Janet asked.
“You want fries with that?” he mimicked. As he and his buddies laughed, the straws dropped onto the teen’s lap.
Janet sighed and glanced at her daughter, Amy, who waited patiently at the counter. Thank God this dreary evening shift was nearly over and Amy would be driving her home.
“What do ya think, you stupid hag?” the kid yelled. “And make it fast.”
Janet bit the inside of her mouth to keep her reply in check. She’d never backed down from rudeness, but the manager had warned her that jerks came with the territory and Barney’s couldn’t afford to turn customers away.
While the teens gathered their money, the boy behind the driver chugged a Coors.
Janet turned to Amy. “They’ve got beer.”
“Here,” the driver shouted. “Wake up!”
He plunked a fistful of coins into Janet’s hands. By the time she finished counting the cash, their order was ready. The teen grabbed both bags from her, then peeled out of the lot. Within seconds, Janet heard police sirens and more screeching brakes. She turned to see Amy pocketing her cell phone.
“I love having a daughter who’s a cop.” Janet grinned. “Especially one who works three blocks away.”
“I love having a mom who gets a discount at my favorite burger joint.”
After her shift, she and Amy walked toward the station where Amy’s car was parked. Janet smirked at the sullen teens standing next to a pile of beer cans on the curb. Amy greeted colleagues and guided Janet past the group. While an officer handed the driver a citation, Janet looked over her shoulder and blurted, “You want fries with that?”