One of the most disturbing and mysterious events of my lifetime was the sudden disappearance of every Hot ‘n’ Now in the country. One day I was enjoying their large Olive Burger with a medium Surge, and the next day all of them had packed up and gone. Literally in the course of human history we have only really ever witnessed three mass disappearances. Pompeii (there wasn’t much they could have done about that other than ran like hell), the Mayans, and the Hot ‘n’ Nows.
Nowadays when you drive by what was once a Hot ‘n’ Now, it is a stark and all too real vision of a post Apocalyptic America. Typically there is still an advertisement on the marquee for whatever the last special was, usually with a few letters missing (“Try ur ho and spi y Chi ken Wi gs”). How innocent they were those brief moments before disaster struck, living as if the fast food prosperity would surely never cease.
There is also usually some sort of car in the parking lot, whether it be a rusted Chevy with the front passenger side wheel missing, or a Charger that a local neighborhood kid was working on and didn’t want to park it on their own street. Sometimes you may even see a Dodge Neon still in the drive thru, clearly signifying that, much like Pompeii, the apocalypse had captured a still life of the final order.
In quite a few cases that I have witnessed, a Taco Boy sought the opportunity for the empty building and old deep fat fryers, and have moved in, trying desperately to fill the Hot ‘n’ Now void. But we all know it’s really only a matter of time.
However (but soft!), when I stopped by a local Hot ‘n’ Now in Muskegon, MI, to take pictures and document this mysterious tragedy, I was shocked to see that it was open. Not only that, but people were actually actively in the drive thru when I pulled in. Seizing the opportunity, I bought some cheez taters. I can only assume that the people who prepared the food and served it quickly and cheerfully must have been squatters. Or perhaps some ancient remnant of the once proud Hot ‘n’ Nation. If you listen closely, you can hear the subtle accents in their voices. The gentle convenience and speed of service. The icy refreshment of a large fountain soda. The promise of always fresh ingredients. This was an ancient society that was truly “hot and now.”
For more information about the Hot ‘n’ Now Apocalypse, visit http://www.flickr.com/groups/hot-n-now/