The Great American Scream Machine


6. Swinging for the Fences

My girlfriend that I'm dating now is a PhD student at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland.  We would frequently visit each other, and one weekend in July, we went to an event together called "Artscape".  Artscape is one of the nation's largest free art festivals, and there were food trucks present.  Naturally as an owner of a food truck, I was curious to see how business was in another city.  

We stopped by where the trucks were at sometime in the late morning, and there were about 12-15 trucks there.  Each truck had a line like 25-30 people deep.  It was crazy.  We came back an hour or two later.  Same thing.  We watched as people just flocked to these trucks like they were giving away food for free....except they weren't.  I spoke with several of the owners of the different trucks there, and apparently the consensus was that they grossed about $15k a day...per truck....

I was interested in Baltimore at that point.  So, I started looking for the next big event.  It seemed like a gift from heaven when I heard about the Star Spangled Spectacular.  This event was the celebration of the 200th anniversary of our national anthem, which Francis Scott Key wrote in September of 1814 during the Battle of Baltimore when the British bombarded Fort McHenry.  This event was absolutely PERFECT for my truck.  They were expecting more people than were at Artscape.  I thought this was it.  My big chance to save up for my permit, and sock some away for the winter.

I swung for the fences.  I rented a pickup truck in Queens, a walk in fridge trailer, two extra fryers, two extra grills, and a BUNCH of food for what I was sure going to be a home run that dwarfed even what Artscape did.  

When I arrived at the event, I was a little perturbed when the guy putting on the event told us we were in the back corner.  I was the only truck involved in the event, so I was happy to be there regardless of where I was....

The event got off to a really slow start...and it was clear that it was not going to be a great weekend when it rained on Saturday.  It looked like not only was I NOT going to make money, but I was going to take a pretty big ass loss.  On Sunday, if I wasn't anxious enough about the way the event was going....I got a call from the guy who owns my commissary in Queens who got me my permit on truck.  He informed me that my permit was FINALLY ready for inspection, and that I needed to come up with $20,000 by that Wednesday.

I think I actually laughed when I got that phone call.  It wasn't a laugh because anything was was one of those....Holy shit...could anything else possibly go wrong type of laughs.

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