Back in high school, I was hanging out with my friend Rachel at a Denny’s about 1/2 mile from my house 1every Denny’s in Phoenix was surprisingly popular for young folks to go hangout. I can’t help but feel like this was partially my doing, ...continue. This was a pretty regular spot for us, since there was a coffee shop in that mega-strip-mall called “The Mean Bean” that will feature in other stories to come.
It was night-time, maybe 8-9pm. Rachel and I were sat at a booth near the kitchen/counter area. There was some guy sitting alone in one of the small booths across from us. He was shouting semi-jokes (what he clearly thought were jokes, given his smile) at the kitchen staff. We didn’t really focus on the random folks around us, so I can’t say I paid much attention to what he said. We just kept right on with our conversation. However, it was almost like he wanted everyone around him to hear his conversation.
At some point, he shouted to one of the line cooks “Fred Hate?”… then started laughing. I recall saying to Rachel “did he just make up a fake name for the line cook?”. But, he repeated himself.. “ohh.. man. FRED HATE? Shiiiit… I’ll bet those motherfuckers know about Fred Hate”.
It’s the kind of sentence you overhear and think “WTF? did I just hear that? what does that even mean?”. No sooner had I thought that than had Rachel perked up in front of me, and I heard the loud voice beside us ask “you know Fred Hate?”.
Naturally, Rachel looked puzzled, but amused. Rachel loved fucking with people, so she smiled and said “FRED Hate? hmm…” (pretending to try and remember).
He looked frustrated.
He then asked me – “you know Fred Hate?”. I said “are you fucking with me right now?”. This apparently pissed him off. I continued “seriously.. is that a band? or.. like YOUR band? Or.. is this a joke I’m totally missing?”.
He pointed at us, “HEY! don’t worry about it”, angry as fuck. We sat in conversation about this weirdness for a few minutes and finally I said “seriously, man. Who’s Fred Hate?”. He, in a less angry tone this time, told me “don’t worry about it”. Saying something about “you don’t need to know”. Rachel, not missing a beat, asked “then why would you ask us if we knew him?”. He didn’t respond. He just got up from his table, walked to the register, paid his bill (while pointing at us) and went along his way.
We thought “well.. another weirdo at Denny’s” and finished our coffee and cigarettes and went on our way.
Over the coming weeks, Rachel and I would make jokes to people – “DO YOU KNOW FRED HATE?” and realized it’s actually a whole lot of fun to ask that of people. We thought that was the end of the Fred Hate story, but then a few weeks later..
It was late afternoon. Maybe 4-5pm. If you know the layout of Denny’s – every “table” is kind of a booth, in that there’s high-back leather seating, end-to-end along the edge of the restaurant. I explain this because the booth behind me (and therefore in front of Rachel, sitting across from me) are two gentlemen. Rachel whispered across the table to me “oh shit.. FRED HATE”, pointing behind me with her chin.
I got excited. We might get some answers here.
I turned around – something I’d otherwise never do – and got a look. Sure enough, it was “Fred Hate” 2by the property of nicknames… how else would we refer to him?. I laughed a little, but he didn’t hear me. He was sitting with a friend of his. Or maybe a business associate. If he had business, which.. probably not. This guy looked like your average out-of-work, overweight, semi-nerdy, redneck type. They’re fucking everywhere in Phoenix.
Rachel, again being the jokester, decided to just say “FRED HATE” out loud while laughing. That perked up Dude’s ears REAL quick.
“How do you know Fred Hate?”
We both said “we don’t. you asked us about him”, almost in unison
“Why you sayin’ his name?”
Rachel said “I was just remembering you asked us”, and I said “yeah… who’s Fred Hate?”
Dude look PISSED. He shouted “WHY? YOU TRYIN’ TO KILL HIM?”
We both laughed our asses off. His friend turned and looked at us with the kinda face that says “WTF is going on? why is my friend being weird?”.
Suddenly, Dude just slams his fist on the table and says to his friend “It’s not safe to talk here. We need to go”. They got up, paid their bill, and walked out.
I couldn’t help but follow, just to say “wait.. seriously.. who the fuck is Fred Hate?”
All he said was “forget you ever heard that name. it’ll be better for both of us”, and slammed his truck door and drove off.
That’s all I know about Fred Hate. 3 I’ve googled “Fred Hate” over the years, even before there WAS a Google, but I never got to the bottom of this mystery. ...continue
Footnotes [ + ]
|1.||↩||every Denny’s in Phoenix was surprisingly popular for young folks to go hangout. I can’t help but feel like this was partially my doing, but that’s a story for another time|
|2.||↩||by the property of nicknames… how else would we refer to him?|
|3.||↩||I’ve googled “Fred Hate” over the years, even before there WAS a Google, but I never got to the bottom of this mystery. Ironically, this might be the only result that gives any details. I hope I didn’t “out” some super-secret CIA mission|