Once, many many years ago, there was a fad among fast food restaurants to put historical, sometimes military or industrial items in their front yards as a kind of attraction/plaything; an old howitzer or maybe even a train caboose that kids could inspect or climb on. Sometimes these unlikely things would be decorated with the characters or dishes of the food chain. For a variety of reasons this fad quickly died out to be replaced by drive-throughs, more traditional playgrounds, parking, and toy giveaways.
But after many decades these lost relics of relics, so to speak, became collectors' items, one of a kind pieces of sought after Americana.
I became a dealer in these unconventional antiques. And my secret weapon in tracking down these valuable hunks of metal, besides my contacts and scholarship, was my once assistant, and now partner, Joe. For some mysterious reason, whenever Joe was near one of these special old objects one could hear the faint sound of a very famous piece of classical music. Was it magic or did he simply have great instincts and top notch humming skills?
I didn't know, but his skill was too valuable to share around looking for that answer.
I had had a hot tip regarding a large, half abandoned rural junkyard a few hours from Milwaukee. A couple of small bribes, a fee, and one legit permit had set me and Joe free to explore anywhere on the site, and to take anything we could winch onto our flatbed truck.
Unfortunately things were not going well. Amid the vast machinery, garbage, and hundreds of junked cars we wandered fruitlessly for so long that we were thinking of giving it up. The sun was starting to set and a light snow was falling. But as we came to the end of something that could almost be described as a row, I thought I heard the sound of a cello.
I looked at Joe. He shrugged, but as he did so his eyes lit upon something in the heap of recycling and widened. I looked and saw it too!
The low plucking of instruments started softly from out of nowhere. I scrabbled in the garbage, my heart pounding in my chest. Joe helped. I could swear the ever so faint music rose joyously as we brushed off the grime and pulled away rusted sheet metal. The music, faster and faster, was now clear as I revealed the shaft of a great, old 18th century sailing ship's gun, gleaming even in the dull light, and, emblazoned on its side, there was an unmistakable, enameled burrito. As the music sounded in racing exultation Joe looked at me with an amazed question in his eyes.
I spoke, almost incredulous. "Yes." I rasped out in awe. "This is Taco Bell's cannon indeed!"