Tales of the 7th Battalion 11

Taco Wars

If you are not well liked, Firefighters will ignore you. If you are special they give you a nick name. The crew at Engine 27s quarters bestowed Gerald Baxter with the name Bugsy Baxter. Bugsy was a gutsy guy with a lot of interesting hobbies. An avid hunter and fisher who could build cabinets or houses or do mechanical things with the best of them. He was fun to be around and when the bell rang he was there to battle a blaze or respond to any emergency to help those in need.

Legends are made of guys like Gerald Baxter. In the 70s he became involved in a challenge that will live forever in the book of 7th Battalion folklore. The cook at Engine 27/Ladder 8 was a great chef and his specialty was tacos. A discussion had started about who could eat the most tacos. A new transferee from the 5th Battalion claimed he was the best taco eater in the city. His name was Loomis. Loomis had been the bane of firehouse cooks his entire career. His appetite was insatiable. When Loomis made the claim that he was a champion taco eater he impugned on the honor of the 7th Battalion. Bugsy would not stand for it. He responded by accepting the challenge. All the men on duty chipped in and ordered the cook to buy the ingredients to prepare a ton of tacos.

Word spread quickly and, by the time the cook began cooking, many fire companies had arrived at Engine 27s quarters. It was a festive occasion and bets were being made. Both Bugsy and Loomis went to the bathroom to clear their intestines for the battle ahead. The first platter of tacos hit the table and both contestants dove in to start the contest. Bugsy stuffed them in two at a time. Loomis had a different style. He placed them between his lips like a cigar and with a quick inhale the taco disappeared. For 15 minutes it was nip and tuck.

Bugsy would burp and Loomis would fart. The pace began to slow at the thirty minute mark. The cook was sweating but managed to keep the tacos coming. Bugsy’s tee shirt started to bulge and Loomis took off his belt. Persperation started to drip off the contestants. I believe it was tied at 30 apeice when Loomis asked for a truce. Bugsy refused and tossed another taco down. With an enormous belch Loomis inhaled one more.

Suddenly the bell hit. Both companies had a run. The contest was over.  The trucks left the station enroute to a working fire. As the rigs turned onto Junction Avenue Loomis looked at the back of Engine 27. There with a smile was Bugsy with one arm hanging on to the fire engine and the other arm held high in the air. He was holding one more taco. He tilted his head back and, with a mighty snap, devoured the tasty morsel.

To this day Bugsy claims the Taco eating championship of the 7th Battalion. If you talked to Loomis he would say it was a tie and there should be an asterisk next to Bugsys name because the last taco was not eaten at the table.

To this day people still talk of the great taco eating contest between Bugs and Loomis. They are both legends in the 7th Battalion.

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