Would You Like Fries With That?

“I smell tamales.” I say to one of the Passers. “I think I’ll check it out.”

“Bah.” One of the Passers says. “I hate tamales.”

“Me, too.” The other one says.

“Well, that means more for me.” I say.

I was working in West Texas and the Shoot was having a fund raiser-they were selling Tamales for $5 a dozen.  I walked up to the kitchen and told them I’d like to buy a couple of dozen.  He told no charge and gave me two dozen tamales that were not as perfect as they could have been, not good enough to sell.  They were certainly good enough to eat.

Working at Churches and Masonic Lodges and Shrine Temples often means being around a lot of food.  Sometimes these are fund raisers, sometimes it just happens to be Wednesday night, or Monday Night Football.  Over the years I have gotten a lot of free meals, from hotdogs and hamburgers to full three course meals.  One Shoot even bought us Starbucks.  Another staple is Pizzas.  It’s pretty common to get all kinds of snack foods and sodas or bottled water.

I used to be pretty bold about asking for food.  If the people at the Shoot are especially friendly I would remind them that Saturday is a long day and it would be nice if they brought us a couple of sandwiches or a pizza.  Back in the Day, we had one PreSeller who was not a parasitic life form, he was a great guy who told the Shoot to supply us with snacks and something to drink.

The best Shoot I ever worked was one that this PreSeller booked.  They had a room set aside with sodas, water, fruit juice, and all kinds of snacks, veggies, and fresh fruit.  They also bought us anything we wanted for dinner.  AND they all bought portraits.  Damn that was a good Shoot.  That Angelic PreSeller quit not long after, probably something to do with his asking the Shoot to buy us food and drinks.  I still miss that PreSeller, as I go about my days cursing the demon-spawn who tell the Shoots Not to buy us anything to eat or drink.

We still have occasional Shoots who take it upon themselves to buy us snacks and drinks.  These are almost always good shoots.  if they are generous enough to spend twenty bucks on a couple of strangers, they are usually generous enough to buy some portraits for their friends and family.

My family crest, if I had one, would read:Never Pay Retail.  Some Churches have meals that cost four or five dollars, and I have paid for my meals once in a while, but not very often.  If I forgot to bring a lunch, which seldom happens, I have been known to ask someone from the Shoot to run down the road and buy us something.  These are meals I am glad to pay for, if someone is willing to make the trip for me.  But I almost always have a sandwich and a bag of candy or some carrots or grapes.  It’s best not to rely on the charity of strangers.

I was working with one of the FNG Passers recently, a large fellow who never brings anything to eat.  This would be fine, except that he ends up asking someone to go out and buy something for him everywhere we shoot.  As I said, I might do that as a last resort, not as an everyday kind of thing.  So we were shooting this church that was having a fundraiser in a few days.  They are barbecuing ribs and selling them for $8.  Not a bad deal, but we will not be somewhere else when the actual fundraiser is going on and none of the ribs are cooked yet.

Now I have to admit that I like a man with a bit of chutzpa, a man who will step forward and get things done.  I am not such a man myself, for the most part.  This Passer looked around the Shoot’s kitchen and noticed that they have a pretty large setup-lots of deep fryers and big freezers and pretty much a professional kitchen.  So he talks to the Shoot Coordinator and tells her he would like her to cook him some chicken.  I don’t know that he is doing this.  They are not cooking chicken for the fundraiser, this is something they are doing just for the Passer.

He gives the Coordinator $25 and asks her to buy some chicken and cook it for us.  He tells her that she can have some of the chicken she cooks and that he will take the rest to eat later.  Even for me this seems a little above and beyond the call of duty.  Dude, why don’t you just stop off somewhere and buy some chicken that is already cooked?  He tells me this plan after the fact, after he has given the Coordinator the money and she has bought the chicken.

Ok.  So she puts on her cooking clothes, fires up the fryers, and gets to work cooking the chicken.  She then proceeds to feed chicken to everyone who happens to be hanging around, which, thankfully includes me and the Passer.  The Passer is ticked off as everyone is eating HIS chicken.  He was planning on eating this for lunch for the rest of the week.  He bitches and moans that he didn’t get much for his $25.  In all fairness they did give us corn on the cob and a small salad to go with our fried chicken.

If I had gone into the kitchen of the Shoot in West Texas and asked them to cook me some enchiladas while they were in the mist of making as many tamales as they could make, I wonder how they would have felt about that?  I work Shoots all the time that have professional kitchens, it has never once occurred to me to ask them to cook something specifically for me.  Having a fundraiser?  Sure I might take a dozen cookies or a dozen tamales or even a rack of ribs or a couple of pounds of brisket.  But I would never say-Hey, I see you have a smoker, how about cranking it up and barbecuing me some sausage?

I am not all that bashful when it comes to asking if I can join the buffet line, but if they aren’t having a buffet-is it just me, or was this kind of odd behavior?

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