"Can you describe the wallet ma'am?"

"It's the one that says Bad Mutha Fucka," I say into my shitty Verizon cell phone, complete with a cracked plastic screen and my last shred of patience needed to deal with cell phone companies. I can't believe I have to drive back to Lakeland. It feels like I've spent the past 2 days glued to my passenger seat.

I don't like to be the one driving on road trips; I have the sense of direction of a compass out of the 99 cent bin at Big Lots. I don't mind letting my friends drive the Hell Boy, though.

"I'm famished," I say to Sarah, as I suck the last drop of juice off of my blue raspberry Ring Pop. We need sustenance and everyone is hell-bent on going to Wendy's.

I haven't eaten there in over 7 years. My mom and I went to a local Wendy's for lunch one day and watched flies buzz around after the cashier released them from the locked compartment of the trash bin. And oh, the smell. The rotting stench of Heinz 57, stale bread crumbles and masticated cow, conveniently located in an accessible black sack, easily exposing the oxygen in that public eating establishment. I want Five Guys.

We pull off of a random exit on 275 and Sarah drops me off in front of Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Sarah, Amber and Jenny head to Wendy's Shithole as I bee-line towards the counter for a real burger. My taste buds still house a tangy raspberry flavor. My face looks like I've just eaten a Smurf, but my lingering hangover cures the need for me to care.

I grab my new bag of grease to nurture last night's blood alcohol concentration, take a quick piss and jump back into my Suzuki that Sarah has gracefully swung into the parking lot.

Last night reached monumental proportions. The Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando will for sure be an annual woo-let's-spend-money-and-get-shit-housed kind of bonding thing for myself and the best friends a person could wish for and actually receive.

Last year Jenny and I celebrated a birthday weekend Hard Rock style. And since we found cockroaches and bed bugs in our room, we figured we would wait a whole year to use our free night stay and do it again.

It started in the room this year. Cherry Sprite bombs and Parrot Bay. Hypnotic and Captain Morgan. Vodka, vodka and. . .

"It's your birthdays?!" said the jolly fat man at CityWalk box office. "Well then these are free!"

We can now get into every club with the flash of a card. Dear CityWalk Party Pass, thanks for making me feel like a responsible adult.

CityWalk is under one liquor license, meaning I can buy a margarita at the Bob Marley club, walk out with it and bring it into the Red Coconut without having to chug next to the trash can at the front of the line. This place is like Baywalk, if Baywalk were to do steroids out of a meth pipe soaked in THC.

As they begin kicking out everybody who's squealing under the hazy age of 21, I wondering if it would be possible to live here.

I was bobbing along efficiently until we got to Margaritaville. They had it in for me. Our free birthday shot resembled something like a rainbow, with 3 perfect layers of color. Red, yellow and delicious. It tasted like a bucket of maraschino cherries and I couldn't really taste anything the rest of the night after ingestion. I love you, Jimmy Buffett.

The Bob Marley club has a cool vibe. Live reggae beats with red flickering lights pulsed through my veins, right behind the tequila. I remember licking all of the rock salt off my glass and sucking down the Jose Cuervo to lonely ice cubes.

The rest of the bars seem repetitive. However, it could have been caused by my tequila lenses, distorted reality and extreme lack of judgement involving everything except my undying habit of chain smoking when I drink heavily. Crushing the tobacco to get that sweet, sweet menthol is the only activity I can handle at this level of drunk.

I hardly ever drink anymore. On most nights, I would rather slosh around in sweatpants and play Guitar Hero than go out to bars filled with the village drunkards, eye-gouging lights and bass that shakes the ice in my $6 Captain and OJ.

But for you, Orlando? I'll make the exception.

I pull into my driveway and ease on the brake; my Hell Boy's had enough for one weekend. I open the back door so Amber can grab her bags and finally realize what today's monkey wrench will be in the Life of Nicole Danielle Miller.

I paid for my burger. I had it. My back right pocket. Grabbed my bag. They weren't back yet.

I scream the word Fuck loud enough to echo into my neighbor's backyard.

Where the fuck was that Five Guys?! Ok, we were by Auburndale. No, maybe it was by Dinosaur World. Yea, I didn't think I would need a receipt for a slab of cow covered in cheese.

"Do you have your Wendy's receipt?" I text to Amber in a frantic stream of panic and nausea. I quickly delete the typos caused by the sticky keys of my Verizon P.O.S.

863-816-7600. I describe my current predicament to the Wendy's secretary; his level of empathy seems a bit burnt out. "This is Lakeland?" I ask excitedly. Our exit could have been the gateway to Hell and I wouldn't have remembered how to get there. My abandoned wallet is somewhere on a road named Socrum Loop.

I kick myself for forgetting. I remember laughing through the raindrops on my window when we turned off of the exit ramp. Did that say Scrotum Loop?

"Yep, that's you!" says the Five Guys GM. "It still has all of your cash and 3 Visas. Just ask for Kim or Donald when you get here."

Sarah volunteers to accompany me on the urgent Lakeland trip. "So I was thinkin..." she says. "Maybe we could stop by the Hard Rock in Tampa on the way home and stick a 20 in a slot machine, see if we win and leave." Double Hard Rock? It's settled.

I decide to put in only $1 at the first machine until I figure out this crazy array of flashy hieroglyphics. I quickly print out my $1 voucher and give up.

The second machine is very aquatic. Rows of seashells and underwater creatures. Why are there so many buttons? I just want to spin the shit. I take another $1 voucher and relocate once more.

I plop down at a machine dubbed Early Retirement; the bright logo depicts a baby in a clothespinned diaper with a bag of bulging cash. Sounds good to me. I shove my neglected voucher in the slot and play around with betting amounts, lines and bets per line. OOOooooOOo I have $4.37. $8.39. $15. 24.


I pound the print button.

It's the one that says Bad Mutha Fucka.


Would you like some E. coli with that?

This is it. Today, the 14th of January, I have vowed to myself to never ever eat at Bayboro Tavern ever again. I know I've gone off on these tangents before, but this time is serious.

I haven't been to the Tavern in months. I always get grossed out by the fact that they don't wear gloves when they assemble my sandwich. I mean, anything could be on your hands.

On the radio the other day, the DJs were talking about a recent study they've done on new clothes. Researchers took cultures from a few items, mainly new sweaters and blouses, then ran some lab tests.

How about there's feces on like everything.
NEW FUCKING CLOTHES. I never want to see one of those black light luminol tests done in a fitting room.

So the Tavern is infamous for their unsanitary process of. . . not being sanitary.

How come nobody says anything? Well, it could be a few reasons.

1. The Bayboro Tavern is the main hubbub of dining on the USFSP campus. They serve anything from sandwich wraps to Nachos Supremos; you could easily eat there a few times a week as a full-time student. Nobody can live off of Chik-Fil-A alone.

2. They serve beer. Uh duuuuuuuuuuuuuuUUUUUUUUUhhh. Who's going to complain about the one place students can go to get crocked before their 6:00 p.m. class. I've even had a professor resume the 2nd half of our Photojournalism class at the Tavern, to discuss the techniques behind ethical shutter speeds over a pitcher.

3. They serve beer. Too buzzed to realize what the fuck is going on behind the counter? We've all seen what I've seen at a 3:00 a.m. trip to Wafflehouse. Of course drunk people wouldn't notice the germ circus spilling out by the waffle irons.

4. Maybe people have and they didn't give a shit (unless it's in the form of particles in between tomato slices).

Last time I ate at the Tavern I think it made me sick. I got sick shortly after; either that night or the next day. Today, I decided to give the place one more shot.

I walk through the entrance and see one person sitting at a table. One employee is washing a dish. One is wiping down the tables. She looks up at me and continues swiping the tabletops. Thanks.

The one wiping tables gets back behind the counter, looks at me like I'm a fucking alien and then asks what I want. I order the usual: Half a roast beef sandwich, a touch of mayo, tomato, extra lettuce.

She grabs the bread with her probably damp hands that are finally free from the burden of the rag. Oh, that rag. The rag that just visited the surface of the 8-something tables. Bacteria from the hands of at LEAST 8 different people. Each table seats more than one, however. I just try to pretend like the pink rag she just threw on the food counter didn't also visit the outside seating area.

She picks up my Pumpernickel bread, peels the roast beef off of the plastic and makes sure to get some fingerprints all over my extra lettuce. The food is pretty good; I'll give them that. I keep telling myself that it's going to be ok.

They even handle your money without an afterthought of cleanliness. Currency is the worst thing you could ever expose your immune system to. That shit could seriously have AIDS on it, aside from common bodily fluids like spit. Or snot. Or ya know, semen.

It's not ok. I ate some of the meat and bread and put the rest back on the counter and walked out. Jesus fucking Christ. ONE PERSON.

There was one person in the whole restaurant. And she couldn't find 30 seconds to even rinse her damn hands off? Squirt sanitizer? Snap on a glove or two? Jump into a tub of Clorox Cleanup Disinfectant Spray because she and the entire staff are the most disgusting human beings on the face of the earth?

They'll be lucky if I even come back for a beer before my 6:00 p.m. night class.

It's a health code violation with a pulse and they don't even have to hide it.