(((Little bit of an experiment here.)))
It started in the late 50′s, from what I can determine. The big man’s name was Ray Darling Bochy, and he was the son of a financier who’d become rich in penny stocks.
When father Bochy passed away, he didn’t leave Ray a penny. He thought the boy was useless.
Ray moved to the west coast, California. He married his business partner Flora Kent and had three kids by her, Nick, Ernest and Statler. I never had any interest in them beyond their younger days. Ray and Flora stayed out in California and sent their kids off to boarding schools in New York on grandpa Darling’s trust money.
There’s lots of detail out there about how Ray worked to the skin of his bones to drum up money enough to start a restaurant. He did it while living in an apartment on a road called Picollo Boulevard, where the whores ranged from twelve year olds to grandmothers.
Ray had his eye on an old-style restaurant, one of those big and strange-looking things that are left over from the fifties and sixties.
Ray and Flora gutted the restaurant, fired all the staff, took down the sign, boarded up the windows. Flora was pregnant at the time with the couples’ fourth child.
A week before opening, their eldest Nick form university called to tell them he was becoming a Buddhist and flying to Nepal right away, and could he have enough money for the ticket? Flora, a Catholic, flipped. They went to New York and searched the boroughs for their kid but Nick had sold every earthly possession so that he could afford the ticket to Nepal.
Ray and Flora would have followed if the restaurant hadn’t been opening in a couple of days. The day after they returned, Flora had the baby; it died before they were able to name it. It would have been a girl.
The restaurant was called Ray’s. It was a new concept in food. There was no hostess or waitress, just a long counter at the far end of the restaurant where you could get your burger and fries on a tray and then choose whatever table you wanted.
Business took off. Everyone started talking about the fast food that Ray was serving. Ray made good food, very good food.
Nick sent them a letter from Nepal with a picture of his shaved head and his tanned face.
Ray wanted to try something called franchising, where he’d create a replica of the first Ray’s, only somewhere else. Ray and Flora built a new Rays seven blocks away in the other direction from Picollo Boulevard.
A week after location number two was up and running, Ray and Flora left Picollo Boulevard got a three bedroom apartment on Lawrence Avenue.
Six months after that, Flora gave birth to another kid; they named it Mary and it died after five weeks of life.
A month after that, Ernest, the second oldest son, returned home with breasts. He’d been pumping steroids so much that he’d altered the blood chemistry of his body. Ernest decided that he’d get a sex change in California and try to do porn.
The next day, Ray took Ernest to a doctor that he knew, who did plastic surgery. Ernest was scheduled immediately. Ray was in there watching as Ernest’s breasts were removed, leaving big bold scars in their place. Then Ray took his boy to a shrink and made him attend every day until it became clear that Ernest really wanted to be a girl. Ray and Flora had the kid institutionalized, and sent him care packages of their restaurant food.
Ten more restaurants got built.
Ray and Flora were too busy for all the restaurants, so they hired the best restaurant men they could to help. Still, there was always one detail to which they always attended, and that was the spicing of the meat so that every Rays would serve the same quality and taste of burger.
The Bochy name got bigger. Ray created a mascot for his line of restaurants, a cowboy-masked crusader with a magic wand named Casey.
It wasn’t long before Rays was moving into different parts of California, establishing independent franchises and warehouses everywhere they could be put.
About when California was conquered, the third son Statler came home. Statler, in my opinion, was the one that had turned out okay. He was a research scientist for the government. He didn’t ask for a penny from his parents, never had.
Statler decided to stay with his family in northern LA for a while, a nice vacation on the west coast. But he didn’t go back to work when he should have. Whispers went about that he had a drug habit and that he was as crazy as his brothers.
The police came to the Bochy mannor one summer night after neighbours complained of loud screaming. The police found Mr. and Mrs. Bochy in fear for their lives, describing how Statler had woken up during the night and gone berserk. He’d tried to kill his own parents with a golf club, but they’d fought him off and escaped.
Rays pushed out of California in a campaign that brought the restaurant to Washington, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, and Oregon. Instead of saving for baseball cards, kids would save up money so that they could go to Rays. Ray and Flora bought a professional football team and watched the games from a luxury box
Three years later, the entire continental United States was covered with Rays.
There were people who jeered the Bochys for having made so much money. So Ray and Flora began throwing money at charities in such huge amounts that even the worst opponent had to stay quiet.
Ray and Flora hit their fifties filthy rich. When they were invited to the White House to have lunch with the President, they brought the food.
Rays Inc. expanded into Canada and Mexico, until all of North America was won. Casey began making appearances in Europe. The French and the English and the Spanish were to be the first places to have Rays.
And that’s where it all went south. The cracks started to show up a few months after the first Rays opened up in London, England. The Food and Drug agencies took to their usual testing of new restaurants. They found Ray and Flora overseeing the food preparation, as they always did. The meat itself still came from LA, frozen during its ship-voyage across the Atlantic. Once in Glasgow, the meat was packed away in warehouses and didn’t move until the Bochys came to inspect it.