I wanted to get above thirty. Thirty sounded respectable: the number of days in June, the number of minutes it's safe to stare at Rachael Ray before your head explodes. Thirty would be an accomplishment, something I could brag to people about and they'd stare back at me, impressed, and think, "Well, hot tamale, thirty is a lot of tacos!" But I was only able to acquire 28 Taco Bell tacos in my two-hour quest last week, and I openly acknowledge that my efforts were lackluster. And the sad thing is, I have nobody to blame but myself.
Perhaps the only good thing the Colorado Rockies have done this year is inspire this promotion: If our boys of summer score seven or more runs in a single game, from 4 to 6 p.m. the following day you can purchase four Taco Bell tacos for one dollar. Seven runs. Four tacos. One buck. Drew Goodman and George Frazier nearly fall all over themselves every time they point out this monumental taco-tunity, exaggeratedly playing up the deal, I imagine, as a tongue-in-cheek fuck-you to whatever junior producer made them hype it in the first place. But I, for one, love the offer. And not because I like Taco Bell tacos. I just hate fat people. So any time an offer comes along that encourages the cellulitic titans of our bloated nation to continue gorging merrily along their Cheeto path, I get behind it wholeheartedly, offering up my power outlets to the orcas so that they may faster charge their motorized carts.
But just what kind of damage could these Rachael Rays do to themselves in two hours? I wondered. How many tacos can you accrue in that time? I decided that the next time the Rockies scored seven runs, the following day I'd be off in search of cheap tacos. I'd run for as many borders as possible.
Here's the first thing you need to know to know about the deal: Taco Bell employees loathe it. I discover this during my first stop on South Broadway. On four-for-a-buck days, every Taco Bell has long lines at the drive-thru, so when you finally get to the front and shout "Four for a buck" to the Taco Bell employee, it sounds like you just shouted "'Free Bird'!" Oh, and also in this analogy, the employees are Skynyrd. Thus, a good sense of humor can snag their attention. For example, persistently pointing out that, value-wise, it's really to their advantage to trade the four tacos for a Bacon Club Chalupa really helps endear you to these overworked, underpaid, sad bastards. Also, explaining to them how $1.08 is technically more than a buck seems a quandary they enjoy pondering. Whatever expedites the process.
Four down, twenty-six to go.
At 14th and Santa Fe, I watch a fucking moron in a Chevy truck swig a Corona and order a #2. A #2 consists of three tacos and a drink and costs $4.79. I pity him as I snag four tacos for a buck.
Colfax and Williams nets me four more tacos, and Colfax and Glencoe — where I used to devour Taco Bell as a boy, then pop across the street to 7-Eleven for video games with my friends — adds another four to the ever-growing pile of tacos in my back seat, bringing my total to sixteen, minus the one I ate and the one I gave to the homeless dude. But, unfortunately, at this point I am lost. The four spots I've hit are the only four I know; I've got no clue where lies my next taco fix, and time is running out. So, blindly, I drive east on Colfax, figuring there has to be another Taco Bell soon. I pass innumerable taco shops, all offering what I'm certain is far more delectable Mexican fare, but this is not a quest for taste, 'tis a quest for gluttony, so I continue on to Jamaica Street. Twenty tacos, motherfucker.
I bust a sick Louie on Peoria and find my next Taco Bell near I-70. I also encounter the longest line so far. After twenty minutes, I acquire four more tacos, bringing the total to 24. It's 5:40; twenty minutes left. And miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep.
I hop on the highway and head back toward Denver, and it is here that I make a crucial mistake. I exit on Quebec, figuring that somewhere in the Stapleton shit-bonanza there is a Taco Bell, but to no avail: The place is too upscale now. You've changed, Stapleton, I think as I rip down Martin Luther King toward Colorado Boulevard; you used to be about the poverty. At 5:57 p.m., I pull into a Taco Bell/KFC death pit of fat-fuckdom and order four tacos.
"You just made it," the guy working the drive-thru tells me with a smile.
But I haven't made shit, Buster Brown. Twenty-eight tacos is short of my goal of thirty-plus. I've flown too close to the sun on wings made of beef made from powder. You've won this time, Taco Bell, I think as I head back to the office, where I will carefully lay a taco on the keyboard of every one of my co-workers, ensuring that the next day when everyone walks in, the building will stink like the rubber bands on improperly cleaned teen braces. But this fight is not over.
Even the Rockies are bound to score seven again.