Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, and a Classic Arcade Game


A bit of knowledge about a certain classic arcade game will make this story much funnier. This story takes place in The Bar.

-A Description of Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde-

Dr. Jekyll is in his early 20's. 23 to be exact (I carded him). He has reddish/blond hair, which is cut short. Almost a flattop. He is in great shape. He must work out regularly, because his arms lightly strain the seams of his long-sleeve dress shirt. Either that or he spent some time at Balco. He stands about 6' 1'' and he weighs about 210 lbs.

-Dr. Jekyll's Story-

It's a Wednesday night around 7:30, and The Bar is hopping. On this late fall weeknight, it's filled with yuppies.

Everywhere I look I see men with gelled hair wearing long-sleeved striped shirts open at the collar, a flash of gold chain visible around the neck. The sleeves are unbuttoned and rolled up twice. No more, no less. Fossil must have made a small mint selling watches to this crowd.

The women are wearing blond highlights and those goofy shawls that enjoyed a few months of popularity in late-2004, early 2005. Personally, I don't like the shawls. They leave too much to the imagination.

Three guys sit in my section near the entrance. One is younger, early 20's, with short reddish-blond hair. The other two are in their mid-30's. They both wear their hair slightly over the collar. All three are wearing name tags. "Hello, my name is..."

"What's going on, fellas?" I love the informality that The Bar takes on as afternoon turns into evening.

"Not too much. Just got out of a seminar at the hotel across the street. What do you have on tap?" One of the 30-somethings. He seems friendly. Good. I hate assholes.

"Sir, we have 34 beers on tap here. I could name them all, but it may be quicker if you just tell me what you'd like, and I'll let you know if we have it on draft. If we don't have it on draft, we'll definitely have it in a bottle. We carry over 400 different beers in a bottle." This is one of the main reasons our bar is jumping tonight. Yuppies love exotic beer.

"American Beer for the Masses Light?" Chimes in the 20-something. Cheap beer with very little taste. Still, it'll get you drunk. I deduce that the 20-something must still be in the past-fratboy stage.

"Of Course, Sir. And for you gentlemen?"

They order two of the higher-end, fuller flavored ales. Experienced drinkers, more interested in the flavor than the buzz.

"And would you like 16 or 23 oz. drafts?"

The 30-somethings order pints, while the 20-something opts for the 23 oz.

I ring in their orders, deliver their drinks, and offer menus. I depart to ring up another round for a neighboring table.

When I return with their drinks, I notice that the 20-something has downed his beer. Oh boy, here we go.

"Would you like another, sir?"

"Yes, please." Maybe he was just thirsty.

"And are you folks ready to order?"

I take down their orders. Three burgers with fries. I ring them in and bring 20 his second beer. He immediately downs half of it. The other two gentlemen don't seem too worried, so I don't say anything. I just don't want Dr. Jekyll turning into Mr. Hyde. I've seen it happen, and it's not pretty.

I make a point to tell the manager on duty, Janine, that I have a customer who is mainlining beer like a rock star on a bender.

At The Bar, management likes to make sure that nobody gets wasted. One trashed person can ruin the atmosphere in a hurry. Every time a customer has four drinks, we have to tell the manager. We write down what they've had over "x" amount of time, whether they've eaten, and what Level they're at. Here's a quick breakdown of the Levels.

Level 1: OK to be served more alcohol. Customer may become more talkative, and may have slightly slurred speech.

Level 2: Slurring becomes more pronounced. Customer may become overly loud. Motor skills may deteriorate slightly. If they are not driving, they may be served another drink. Manager must give the OK.

Level 3: Customer is a raving lunatic. The customer can barely walk. If they are still able to talk, it is usually non-sensicle babble at a decibel level slightly below that of a jet airplane warming up the afterburners. The customer will light the wrong end of a cigarette and smoke it anyways. These people need to be put into a cab and sent on their merry way before they vomit in the bathroom.

"Janine, I've got a guy who's downed two 23's in about 8 minutes. He's at 34. Can you keep an eye on him?"

Janine is cool, and she knows that I'm still relatively new. She'll keep me out of trouble. She's also got a bit of sass in her. She'll have no trouble booting this guy if he gets out of hand.

"No problem, dude. Go ahead and give him another one for now, but give him a glass of water too. Hopefully he'll get the hint." I order another beer for Dr. Jekyll. She's the boss.

The burgers come up a short time later. I bring them out. Sure enough, the beer's gone. The other two have finished their first 16 oz. beers. The kid is ready for his fourth 23 oz., which is like drinking 8 12 oz. bottles.

"Would you like another round, gentlemen?"

The two thirty-somethings nod, and Dr. Jekyll orders on as well. He seems completely normal. Kid must be able to hold his liquor.

I look over at Janine, who is hanging out at the door, near my table. She gives me a nod.

I bring the table their round.

They eat, and thankfully Dr. Jekyll nurses his beer throughout dinner.

I clear their plates. Dr. Jekyll has finished his fourth beer. I don't offer him another one. I'll let the boss make this call.

Janine sits down at the table. She's making small talk, but she's really looking to see if Dr. Jekyll is ok to have another beer. A few minutes later, she finds me in the kitchen.

"That guy's ok for another beer. I can't believe it, but he still seems sober."

"You sure?" I don't want to get fired. I like this place.

"Yeah, it's on me now. Don't worry, I got your back." Janine is an awesome manager, the type you work hard for out of respect.

I set down Dr. Jekyll's beer. He looks up at me. His eyes are glassy, unfocused. Uh-oh.

"Thanksth" This is the first time I've heard him slur. He doesn't touch his beer. He sits back in his chair, and his eyelids start to drop. One of the 30-somethings reaches over puts a hand on his shoulder.

"Hey buddy, you OK?"

No response. The guy gives Dr. Jekyll a little shake. Dr. Jekyll transforms into a crazy-eyed Mr. Hyde. He bolts upright in his chair. His fraternity training takes over. He grabs his beer, opens his mouth, and pours the entire thing down his throat. He slams the empty glass back down on the table.

In college, I would have been impressed at this performance. At work, I'm horrified.

Janine comes flying out of nowhere. She's witnessed the whole thing.

"You guys need to pay your bill and get your friend out of here." She's talking to the 30-somethings, but all eyes are on Mr. Hyde, who is now sitting with his elbows on his knees, his head in his hands. He's looking at the floor and moaning softly.

The 30-somethings look at each other, shrug, and look back at Janine.

"This is so weird. We've known each other since we were kids (he motions to his 30-something friend). We just met this guy today at the seminar. He's from out of town, and he's staying at the hotel across the street." Unbelievable. Did the kid think he was cool, showing these guys (that he just met!) how he was a hard-core drunk?

"I don't care," Janine is pissed, "Get him across the street. If you can get rid of him, you can come back." Not a bad move.

The 30's get up and try to pick up Mr. Hyde. Mr. Hyde has other ideas. He stands up and makes a beeline for the bathroom. He's running into people, knocking over tables and chairs, and slamming into walls. It looks like an out of control car speeding down the highway, careening off the guard rails.

The 30's book after him. A couple minutes later, all three emerge. The 30's are on either side of Mr. Hyde. Mr. Hyde has an arm around each of the 30's, and it's obvious he's dead weight. His head lolls from side to side with each step.

"We had to hold him while he peed," explains the 30 on the left. Probably not what he thought he'd be doing when he woke up this morning, but hey, good times.

They make their way to the parking lot. Janine and I follow. She's making sure they get Mr. Hyde away from The Bar. I haven't been paid yet.

Suddenly, seeing the lights of his hotel, Mr. Hyde breaks for freedom. He shakes off the 30's and sprints through the parking lot. I try to catch up, the 30's hot on my heels, but he's got a big head start and he's moving!

In between our parking lot and the hotel is a busy road. It's a step below a highway, and the speed limit is 50 mph. People drive at 60. There's still a lot of traffic. Cars are flying by.

I figure Mr. Hyde will have to stop and I'll be able to take him down so he won't hurt himself. I'm wrong.

Mr. Hyde barrels into the intersection full-speed. A minivan brakes hard and swerves to avoid hitting him.

Mr. Hyde falls down. He gets back up and he's disoriented. He takes two wobbly steps back towards me. I'm frozen in horror.

He sees me and turns back towards the hotel. Cars are barreling past, horns-blaring. The way he's moving back and forth in the street... for some reason, all I can think of is playing Frogger in the arcade.

Mr. Hyde falls again. There is a large SUV heading straight for him. It brakes, but it's too late. Mr. Hyde is going to get squished like a bug.

Miraculously, Mr. Hyde regains his footing. He takes off at a dead sprint towards the hotel. He makes it across the street!

But for some reason, he doesn't see the large concrete sign bearing the name of the hotel. He plows into it, headfirst, and lies motionless on the sidewalk.

At the next available break in traffic, Janine, the 30's, and I run over to check on Mr. Hyde. He's out cold, and there's a large knot on his forehead. He's breathing heavily.

The 30's pick him up and carry him into the hotel. Janine and I return to the restaurant.

About an hour later, the 30's walk back in.

"How is he?" I have to know.

"He'll live." The 30's are pissed at being turned into babysitters. "We forgot to pay our bill."

"Understandable," I reply. Janine notices the 30's and walks over.

"You guys have had a long night. Can I buy you a drink?" Like I said, Janine is an awesome manager. The 30's gratefully accept. They pair their bill. They leave me $20 on a $60 tab.

I'm happy, they're happy, Janine is happy, and Mr. Hyde is alive. Plus we've all been privy to the BEST GAME OF FROGGER EVER!


mtbmike said...


Found you from the WaiterRant. I have read your blog from the beginning and it is one I check daily. Keep up the great stories!!!

The Server said...

Awesome! Thank you mtbmike. I love to hear that people are reading, and I hope I can keep everyone entertained. The "Frogger" story is one of my personal favorites. I still have quite a few that I've held back, so please... keep reading!

curious servant said...

This was great. I also found you from the waiter. I'll be back to watch you play the next arcade game. (A$$teroids?)

At any rate, two thumbs up from the northwest.


scribble said...

great entry...
will return !

Kirsten said...

Hi! Love your blog. I found you through WaiterRant too, and now I check your page every day. Do all waiters have such interesting stories to tell?

The Server said...

Well Kirsten, most servers do have interesting/weird stories to tell. Over the last several years, I have waited on a broad spectrum of folks with all sorts of psychiatric and physical oddities. In any customer service business, you have to remember that people are like chocolates- most are agreeable, but you have to watch out for the nuts in the group.

Thank you, newcomers, for checking out Server Stories! I have a great one that I'm working on today. Hopefully, I'll be done by this evening, but more likely I'll be done by midnight. In the meantime, keep the comments flowing!

Love, The Server

Raja said...

Good one, Server.. Like your narrative style, which is quite descriptive.. Best writers i've read have been ones who have been able to help their readers visualise the scene...Keep up the good work.. and Happy serving! and as they say in Sanskrit(an Indian language), "Anna data sukhino bhavantu", which means "may the one who served me food be happy"....

todd vodka said...

You've got style man. I can read you all day long.

Julie Anne said...

I know it's been awhile since you wrote this, but I just had to comment!!! Next time, please, put a warning saying no drinking during the reading of this next passage, or some sort. My keyboard is now sticky from coca-cola....

CanterwoodCore said...

Dear Server.

I like your stories, they're a great pass-time as I'm an out-of-work student.

Keep doing what you do!