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Sunday, February 9, 2014

All the Nuts aren’t with The Pancake’s Part 8

Within 5 minutes of being here I have agreed to take over most of the tables, that way the staff on the dinner shift can clean up and go home. I will help them out, after I have a final cigarette.

Every waitress on the floor has come crawling to me on their knees while I have been in the back, begging me to take over their tables. They are clear on what the terms are if I do so. It’s sad to be begged by someone in their 40s who is willing to give you their kids, their house and a dinner date with their husband just so they can leave the floor? “I mean, come on, and how bad can it be out there?” Michelle makes a “snort” noise in response.

Hopefully, I will have fresh patience since I just got here. I think for a minute. “Nah,” I say answering my own question. Drunk people suck when you have to wait on them. It is guaranteed, that someone at one of the tables will refer me to as a fag. Or maybe make a “mincing” movement while I am talking. Or maybe they will deliver the all time favorite motion “the limp wrist.”

I quickly develop a shield around me and can usually “zing” a drunk. People love a sassy gay waiter when they are bombed, but be careful it’s not too much. There is a line. I learn to develop several personalities to get by. “Straight Gay, Funny Gay, Not Gay, Quiet Gay, or the “What did you say Motherfucker Gay?”

“These fuckers are drunk and rowdy,” I say out loud to no one, taking a drag on my cigarette. I keep one eye on the swinging kitchen door as I exhale the smoke. I make a silent prayer. “It will turn into a quiet night that’s busy and I will make lots of money, Amen.” As I stub out my cigarette my prayer is heavenly answered by the sound of glasses smashing to the floor. It sounds like the glasses are falling by the desert station. It happens all the time.

The floor over there is made of hard brick. It is a pain in the ass to clean anything up once it drops in that area. The main problem is it is both the path to the bathroom for the customers, a quick walk to the front door and the path to the kitchen all intersect. If you’re quick you may pass without a problem. Unfortunately, many a wreck has happened here.

I stick my head out to look. I can see Michelle almost on her hands and knees. In one hand she is holding a dustpan, in the other she is using a sweep brush and pushing broken glass into it. Standing above her is a skinny girl balancing on one high heel; the other leg is dangling in the air. The girl grips the counter to steady herself.

“Im soooooooooooo sorrrrrrrrry,” the girl slurs at the top of her voice. Michelle leans back when the girl is teetering dangerously close to falling on her. Michelle pauses, then turns her head to face the girl, when she see’s me standing with my head sticking out of the kitchen door. Rolling her eyes at me and mouths the word “See?”

Then she loudly and sarcastically exclaims to the girl, “No problem at all, I totally have this.”

“You’re the best…..the best.” the girl says while patting Michelle on the shoulder. Then the girl turns and walks straight into the counter. “Wham!” but bouncing off she begs of the counter to “Excuse me”. I watch her stumble into the bathroom.

It is quickly becoming time for the rest of the Graveyard shift to show up when I step out to the floor ten minutes early. My cigarette is finished; I have everyone’s checks and I am easing around the corner. I check my hair in the mirror above the pies.

That’s when I see Lois and Paul pulling into the parking lot. Whoever is driving the car, is in a hurry. When the car stops at the front door, the passenger door pops open, Lois swings her legs out of the car and hits the pavement running. As she comes sprinting through the front door, I hear the glass rattles, as the door slams shut behind her.
Lois’ hair is almost up in a bun but the sides are hanging out in big pieces. She is stuffing bobby pins into hair as she rushes past me.

As I I follow, Lois empties her arms of everything that she is holding on the break table, then she pulls a Virginia Slim out of her bag and lights it. Exhaling she looks at me and explains, “Traffic, and then Paul was late, I overslept, the alarm got shut off because we haven’t had the full power and his Mother is an asshole!” She blows smoke into the air.

I get the general idea as to what kind of day and state Lois is in. As she finishes pulling her hair up into a bun clenches her cigarette between her teeth.

“I tell you, it’s not sometimes that she has something to say, its pretty damn often that she has everything to say.” Lois puts one finger in the air as if reprimanding someone that I can’t see.

“Paul’s Mother?” I ask

Lois throws both her hands in the air. “That woman! Someday I will send her packing and on a trip!”

to be continued…..

Geoffrey Doig-Marx holds all written and electronic rights to his writing "A Day in the Life/Down the Rabbit Hole". It cannot be reprinted in part or whole without his written consent.

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