JACKSONVILLE, FL–An uneventful late-night shift turned exciting Monday, when cashier Brett Runnells reported that a "carload of faggots just pulled up to the drive-thru" of the Summit Avenue Hardee's.
"Guys, you gotta check out these flame-o's!" the 17-year-old Runnells told coworkers, switching off his headset microphone to relay the breaking news. "They sound so gay, you wouldn't believe it!"
According to Runnells' cash-register order log, the carload of faggots pulled up to the drive-thru order board at 1:12 a.m. Before they had even advanced to the pick-up window, however, news of the group had spread to the entire five-person kitchen staff.
"Jeff, come to the drive-thru register, quick!" said prep-table worker Carla Haig, 18, summoning coworker Jeff Beech from the walk-in cooler, where he was stacking boxes of frozen Crispy Curls. "Brett says there's a huge carload of homos ordering!"
Beech dropped the boxes and hurried to the pick-up window, joining Runnells, Haig, and the other two members of the kitchen staff. The group immediately began speculating about what the customers looked like.
"I bet they're all in tight white tank-tops and little short shorts," Beech said. "They probably all have mustaches, too, like that dude from Queen."
Runnells said that when he took the order, he could hear "some kind of gay disco music" blaring from the car. He also noted that the carload of faggots was in high spirits.
"The car pulled up, and I was like, 'Welcome to Hardee's, may I take your order?'" Runnells said. "When I said that, they all started laughing hysterically. Then, one of them asked for a Frisco Burger without mayo, and I was like, 'That'll take an extra couple of minutes,' and that made them laugh even more. I've heard gay guys before, but these guys were really gay."
Added Runnells: "One of them ordered the Big Beef Burger, and he totally said it like, 'Yes, I want the Big Beef.' And all the other guys in the car were like, 'Ooh, yeah, give it to me, baby!' That's when I knew for sure."
The carload of faggots is believed to be the same group spotted earlier in the evening at The Rainbow Room, a popular Jacksonville gay nightspot. Rainbow Room bartender Brad Segoe said he saw a group of five men between the ages of 21 and 24 leave the bar together at approximately 12:45 a.m. after several hours of dancing and drinking.
Segoe noted that several of the men, particularly "the really built blond one," were quite drunk by the time they left, which is consistent with Runnells' account.
"These guys were so totally flamed out," Runnells said. "The weird thing is, they weren't hiding it at all."
According to Dr. Judith Wald, author of Straight But Not Narrow: Teaching Tolerance In A Heterosexual World, it is natural for Runnells to be curious about people so different from himself.
"At such a young age, Brett has had little contact with openly gay individuals, especially those who are so proud of their sexual orientation," Wald said. "This drive-thru experience may prove to be a tremendous learning experience for him."
As of press time, Runnells and the other Hardee's employees remain huddled near the drive-thru window to get a look at the carload of faggots when they pick up their order.