If you have a weak stomach, leave now.
George regularly cleans the windows at KFC. For those of you from parts of the world where there is no KFC, it stands for Kentucky Fried Chicken and it's a fast-food restaurant that serves... well... fried chicken.
Interesting aside: KFC is the most popular Western fast-food chain in the People's Republic of China. Also KFC is so prevalent in Japan that many Japanese unknowingly consider it to be a Japanese Company. Most KFC stores located in predominantly Islamic countries prepare foods in accordance with halal guidelines. So it's not just a North American thing, it's international.
Oh yeah, apparently KFC products are the most popularly requested items for death row inmates' final meals.
So usually George cleans the KFC's in our area on Monday. But sometimes, due to holidays or exceptionally bad weather, the schedule gets changed. That's usually when I get called in to get things back on schedule. So one day he sent me to clean the windows both inside and outside of a KFC... on degreasing day.
I rang the bell and the manager let me in. (It's much easier to clean a restaurant before there are any customers inside.) As I went in, I couldn't help but notice the giant noisy tanker truck with the hoses, sitting behind the restaurant. The nice manager lady explained to me that it was degreasing day. She explained that they basically vacuum out the scum and grease that collect in the bottom of the chicken frier's. Apparently this has to be done regularly or the stuff will rot and then the chicken will get contaminated. Oh boy.
She was very serious and insisted that I listen carefully. So I listened, wondering what any of this had to do with me. I was just there to clean the windows. She explained to me that most people cannot stand to be inside during degreasing because the smell makes them sick. I laughed. She shook her head. She explained that it was not a laughing matter. Some employees actually throw up uncontrollably the first time they are present for a degreasing.
I said I'd go outside if it got too bad and went ahead and started cleaning. The degreaser guys started up their equipment and the air began to fill with rotting fried chicken and grease particulate. I calmly cleaned away, and when the smell hit me I thought "OH MY GOD!"... but I didn't barf. I was proud of myself. I kept cleaning.
The initial smell was a rose bouquet compared to the colossal stench when they exposed the lower, more rotten layers of filth. If death wore the worst cologne ever imagined and walked through a palliative care ward while vomiting and defecating, the odour would be a sad, pale imitation of the vile, putrid, festering unholiness that came out of those frier's.
It got so bad I started to black out. I had to run outside and put my head between my knees. Even outside the smell was horrific.
After that, I couldn't eat KFC for more than a year.
Now, I laugh at horrible smells. When others turn green I smile and take a long deep breath. I survived degreasing day. Everything else is a walk past the Macy's perfume counter.
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