Monday, June 27, 2005

The Miss Illinois Pageant Contestants

-Preface-

This story took place about a week ago. I am working at The Bar now. The Bar is trendy, upscale, and well-kept. There are three rooms. The Main Room is long and symmetrical, with five booths framing about 50 tables. The bar is located in this room. The other two rooms are filled with tournament-size pool tables, plush leather couches, and at least 10 big-screen TV's each. The two side rooms are called the Maroon and Blue Rooms because those are the colors they are painted.

-The Miss Illinois Pageant Contestants' Story-

I pull into the bar at 11 am on Saturday. I'm tired and hot. It's 95 degrees outside, and our uniforms are all black. I also have a touch of a hangover, which doesn't improve my disposition.

I'm looking forward to a relaxing day of work. Saturday mornings are rarely busy, which means the servers have time to talk, hang out, and eat.

As I pull into a parking space, I notice three younger girls heading into the restaurant. This in itself is not odd, as there is a clothing store next door and their patrons often come into our place to use the restrooms. What I do find odd is that they are dressed like slobs in ratty t-shirts and shorts, yet their hair is done up, and someone painstakingly applied their makeup. Weird.

I walk through the doors and come face to face with Jackie, our Event Coordinator. Jackie has a great job. She gets commission off of every pre-scheduled party that comes into the restaurant. She uses the servers to set things up, take care of the partiers, and then tear the decorations down. Servers covet these parties because we get an automatic gratuity. The work is brutal, but it's worth it in the end. The final bill often tops $1,000.

Jackie is flipping out.

"I need you now."

"Jackie, I'm flattered, but you know I have a woman." Hungover and saucy. Good combo.

"Shut it. The Miss Illinois Pageant girls are here in the Maroon Room, and I need you to take them. They have food coming out in fifteen minutes. You need to get their drinks." Big smile from me. Life doesn't get much better than this.

"Oh, and the entire party is comped."

SHIT! This means that I get no automatic gratuity.

"Hey, do they know they're supposed to tip me?" I ask as Jackie turns to leave.

"I hope so. We'll see." I am happy she's so concerned about my welfare.

I clock in and head to the back. I fill a pint glass a coffee. I drop some ice in and chug it down. I'm going to need all the energy I can muster for this one.

Walking into the Maroon Room, I take in the scene in front of me. There are about twenty five girls scattered throughout the room in groups of four and five. They are all dressed like the three I saw walking into The Bar earlier. There are two chaperones sitting at a table towards the back. They look haggard. I decide to start with them.

"Hello! My name is The Server, and I'll be taking care of you and the ladies this morning. Your food will be ready in about fifteen minutes, so can I start you off with something to drink?"

"Coffee. Black." The first chaperone doesn't look at me.

"Hello young man! I'd love some iced tea with sweetener." She looks around before beckoning me closer. "You know, one of these girls' life is going to change tonight." She's dead serious.

Great. I've got one chaperone who believes I am to be seen and not heard and another who is trying out the pageant catch phrase on me.

I speak with the chaperone briefly before moving on and taking drink orders from each of the contestants. It's the same each time I go to a new group. If the first person to order looks me in the eye and is friendly, the rest of the girls follow suit. If the person ignores me while giving me the order, the rest of the girls refuse to look at me.

Some of the snippets of conversation I hear...

"My Dad is a really important man. We have apartments all over the world, but we sub-lease them to make more money."

"Can we get drink drinks? I love drinking."

"My favorite part of this whole thing is meeting all of you. You're all so special!"

"This competition isn't just about how you look in a bikini. You have to have a personality too!"

Gag me. Out of the 25, 2 seem like real people. The rest seem as fake as Britney's cleavage.

I get their drinks and bring out their food.

They each eat half a plate of food. No more, no less. Only two of the girls head to the bathroom immediately after they eat.

Everytime I bring them a refill, they act like I've saved their puppy.

"Thank you so much!"

Every now and then, a couple of our Saturday regulars wonder into the room. Some are looking to score, others to see what this whole thing is all about. All are quickly turned away by the chaperones.

"Move along here. These girls need their rest. Shoo!" They actually say "shoo."

I refill endless iced teas, waters, and Diet Colas. Finally, they are ready to head back to the hotel to get ready for the pageant that evening.

The chaperones approach me. Here it is, the moment of truth. Will I get a tip, or have I wasted 4 hours of my life?

"You've been so wonderful! You should come see these girls tonight. We're at the local high school. Aren't they all so amazing?"

"Absolutely amazing ma'am. Unfortunately, I am saving for a house, and I don't know if I can afford tickets." Trying to work in the fact that I need money.

"Oh, don't worry about that! The tickets are free! Have a great afternnon, and try to come tonight!" She turns around, and walks out the door. The girls follow, single file, like goslings following momma goose to the lake. The other chaperone follows behind them, ready to ward off any would-be attackers from the rear.

No tip. I don't know whether I should curse the chaperones, Jackie, the contestants, or whoever told this group that we would comp them. I settle for cursing all of them, just to make sure.

I go to the back to relax for a bit, and my mind wonders...

The contestants are all in their bathing suits. The panel of judges is asking them questions. Every answer is the same down the line.

"World Peace!"
"World Peace!"
"World Peace!"

The lone gentleman judge stands up. It's me. I'm wearing a tux. It's shiny blue, with ruffles and huge lapels.

"How much would you tip a waiter?" They can't see me because the spotlights are shining in their eyes.

"Well, it would depend, but I never leave less than 15%."
"Why, 20% of course. My dad is a very important person."
"20%. Especially if the drinks are strong."
"I would tip him World Peace!"

They continue in this manner down the line. They are all pleased with the answers they have given. Until the spotlight moves away from them and focuses on me.

I rip off the tux like a basketball player tearing off his warm-ups. Underneath I'm wearing my server uniform, apron and all.

I sprint to the stage and scream at each of the shocked contestants in turn.

"Liar! Cheapskate! Phony!"

"As the head judge of this pageant, I declare all of you ineligable hypocrites. Maybe you should have tipped your server! Better luck next year!"

It would have been the BEST REVENGE EVER!

3 comments:

SierraBella said...

"Only two girls head to the bathroom immediately after they eat."
Great stuff!
You were lucky to get out of that room full of saccharine alive!

curious servant said...

Two head to the bathroom, two seem like real people, none of them tip.

Nice little tale.

surfergal said...

love this story.Especially the end