Flubug Turnaround – Menudo at Bill’s on Cinqo de Mayo is as much a tradition as cutting in line at the Illiad Wellness Center. It starts at ten, with Bill charring menudo on the back alley grill. Then picks up quickly by noon when the Fausts and menudo flow as freely as phony ID. By 6pm a few fights have broken out, Los Hombres Internationale are wailing up a storm, and a line forms clear ’round the block.
But not this year.
This year disaster struck at 3pm. That’s when officials claim patrons started grabbing their stomachs and vomiting in every direction. “It was loco, man,” says Crucifician “Cruz” Gonzalez, who arrived at the Cantina from the Check ‘N’ Pay just moments before the fracas. “Peoples was pouring out, gettin’ all sick ‘n’ shit – right there in the street. It was gnarly, yo.”
Some clawed their way to the exits. Others hailed Carson’s cabs before they sped away. Still others tried to warn patrons waiting in line. But their warnings went unheeded. Revelers ignored the gagging customers and pushed past them to grab their seats of their own. And Bill kept serving menudo.
“We thought they was like… ya know, throwin’ up so theys could eat more,” he said later while being escorted to a police van. But even Bill eventually realized…
In all 32 customers were rushed to the last known whereabouts of Flubug Memorial Hospital– a vacant building surrounded by razor wire. A dozen others were arrested for being ill in public. An unknown number fled on foot, just happy to leave with their lives.
Bill was charged with serving expired menudo without a permit. But he was released an hour later on his own recognizance. His lawyer, Dustin Ashe, made this brief statement on the jailhouse steps:
“No one denies the gut-wrenching tragedy that happened at Bill’s Cantina this afternoon. And no one more is more touched than Bill himself whose commitment to quality menudo has never wavered in 25 years. That’s why he’s offering 25% off all menudo products through the end of May.”
He added quickly:
“Offer valid only between the hours of 10am and 12pm. Offer cannot be combined with other offers. Valid only with purchase of (1) beverage and (1) side dish. Menudo must be consumed on the premises and only (1) offer per person. Jokes or sarcastic references to “bad” or “expired” menudo will immediately void offer.”