Frontier Former Editor

July 29, 2008

Phuc’ing around

Another entry in the “I kid you not” department.

About 20 years ago, I took a professional side trip as an assistant manager for the Roy Rogers fast food chain.

During one phase of that side trip, I was one of three assistant managers at the Reston, Virginia Roy Rogers (roughly a Northern Virginia hour’s drive time from Stiletto’s favorite strip joint). One of its claims to fame – okay, its only claim to fame – was its proximity to the first U.S. research lab to bring a strain of the Ebola virus into the country, although officials claimed it was fatal only to primates.

(Insert your own joke here – I could have filled the space with days of comments)

One of our most industrious workers was a young gentleman named Phuc Yu (thus the “I kid you not” designation for today’s story). While the first part of his name suggested a Vietnamese ancestry, the ‘Yu’ portion left enough doubt so that I refrained from stereotyping.

Phuc’s primary assignment was chicken fryer, a task which he learned quickly and by which we actually served a fairly decent fried chicken to the herds of yuppies roaming the Reston area during lunch time. If Ebola was one of our secret herbs and spices, it didn’t cause any of our regulars to collapse, weep blood and ooze liquefied organs.

Phuc could turn out trays of chicken in prodigious quantities, making him a handy guy to have around during weekday lunch rush, as was the case that fateful summer day in 1989. The lunch crowd had started assembling in our cafeteria style line in anticipation of our best selling three-piece all-white dinner, and Phuc had already fried up 16 trays of chicken (eight chickens x eight pieces per bird = 64 pieces a tray [32 pieces of white meat], or 1024 pieces of chicken in the ready locker].

A week prior to that day, our brilliant manager had decided to replace cleaning brushes and save a little money by buying two long-handled heat-resistant synthetic-bristle brushes. Upon their arrival, the brushes were lovingly marked on their respective handles as “For chicken fryer use only” and “For restroom use only.”

Phuc always followed the standard Roy Rogers Restaurant procedure of brushing the sides of the fryer free of batter fragments after every two trays of chicken and filtering the oil and brushing the fryer after every four runs of chicken. As lunch shift manager, I was doing my walkthrough of the kitchen and saw Phuc doing the brush cycle. As I watched Phuc approvingly, my eye wandered to the brush and saw the letters above his hand: FOR RES.

Standing in the doorway between the kitchen and the serving line, with about 70 customers for an audience, I lunged toward the brush and yelled . . . . “PHUC YUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!”

I’m pretty sure the shock of my homynymnal outburst served to distract the customers from the sight of me locking the chicken holding cabinet  with its 1024 pieces of chicken out of the kitchen and toward the back door to join the contents of our dumpster.

I kid you not.


  1. OMG… I’m in hysterics. **gasp** Great story!

    Comment by mrsvierkant — July 29, 2008 @ 10:49 pm

  2. That was hilarious!! 😆

    Comment by Girly — July 30, 2008 @ 12:44 am

  3. When I read “Reston, Virginia Roy Rogers”, I was temporarily under the impression that Mr Rogers had assumed an identity which called into question his sexual orientation, something only worthy of comment when the subject is a well known fascist, as it is in this case. Once again, you disappoint me. Unless, perhaps, you do have some scandal involving said cowboy?

    Comment by Vicus Scurra — July 30, 2008 @ 9:55 am

  4. I’m in hysterics! Maybe that’s what made their fried chicken so damn good!

    [BTW, the idea of poisoning yuppies with toilet scrub brush remnants excites me.]

    Comment by Stiletto — July 30, 2008 @ 1:00 pm

  5. Mrs V and Girly: Hope I didn’t cause a delayed reaction at breakfast.

    Quo Vicus: other than that RR’s real name is Leonard Slye and that he owned a significant chunk of DC metro area real estate in the late 1980’s. I can only offer this hint: “Over hill and under Dale” . . .

    Stiletto: You should have seen what the help put in the biscuit dough . . .

    Comment by Frontier Former Editor — July 30, 2008 @ 1:29 pm

  6. Chicken will never be the same.

    Comment by max — July 30, 2008 @ 2:06 pm

  7. […] lucky day, and gave him some petty cash and a shopping list including stiff-bristle toothbrushes (a running theme with my days at the Double R Bar . . .), a gallon of bleach and three surgical […]

    Pingback by Addenda, or how to get murdered by ax « Frontier Former Editor — July 30, 2008 @ 3:40 pm

  8. ‘Stiletto: You should have seen what the help put in the biscuit dough . . .’

    Something made by Pfizer? Well at least ya got a two-fer.

    Comment by Stiletto — July 30, 2008 @ 5:00 pm

  9. It never gave me a rise. Damn.

    Comment by Frontier Former Editor — July 30, 2008 @ 10:00 pm

  10. If biscuits did do it for you I’d suggest serious therapy.

    Comment by sledpress — July 30, 2008 @ 10:55 pm

  11. It depends on whose biscuits . . .

    Comment by Frontier Former Editor — July 30, 2008 @ 10:57 pm

  12. We’re talking biscuits here, not buns.

    Comment by sledpress — July 30, 2008 @ 11:22 pm

  13. Hot dogs fit in both.

    Comment by Stiletto — July 31, 2008 @ 3:48 pm

  14. Wow. No comment.

    Comment by Stiletto — July 31, 2008 @ 11:21 pm

  15. I remember this Roy Rogers! Dude, back in the day when i was a fat slob, I would go in the morning and get like four breakfast sandwiches and some hash browns and sit out in the back section while reading the Sports section of the WAPO. I did this instead of going to class. Good times!

    Comment by James Underwood — June 1, 2012 @ 9:55 am

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