Monday, September 19, 2005

My New Job....

Is taking up a lot of time. I'm sorry folks, I may not be able to post anything major this week. I'll try to find some time to poke out a couple of short stories. Think of this as... the kitchen messed up your food. I'm going to bring you some chips and salsa so you don't resort to cannibalism.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Most Interesting Server Ever


This is one of the most difficult posts I've ever had to write. Enjoy.

-A Description of the Most Interesting Server Ever-

The Most Interesting Server Ever (I'll call him MASE, most amazing server ever, for short-besides, 'MASE' sounds much cooler than 'MISE') is 6'1'' and weighs about 200 lbs. He's all muscle. Not from lifting weights, but from dancing.

He's half-black, quarter white, and the rest is a mixed bag. He's bald by choice. He looks like Vin Diesel from such glorious box-office smashes XXX, The Chronicles of Riddick, and Pitch Black.

MASE is a homosexual, as are a large number of male servers, at least in The Restaurant. He's not effeminate. Many of the female customers drool over him. I've been asked many times, "Does that server have a girlfriend?" I've always answered with a truthful, "no." Keeps their dreams alive.

In my very first post, I noted that servers are some of the most colorful, interesting, and vibrant people. MASE is a prime example. He has lead one of the most amazing lives of anyone I've ever encountered. He did not always do things the good (or even legal) way, but he has no regrets. He shouldn't.

I'm writing his story knowing that it won't do him justice.

-The Most Interesting Server Ever-

I'm standing at the computer punching in a table's order. I feel a tap on my shoulder. I turn to see MASE looking down at me.

"You went to Princeton, right?" he asks.

"Yep," I reply, waiting for what usually follow. It goes something like this...

'You must be really smart, huh?'

'Not really. I was a pretty good football player, so they let me in.' I always try to downplay my education when I'm serving. It makes everybody, myself included, feel more comfortable.

'Oh. Umm... if you're so smart, how come you rang in three burgers at table 111 when there are only two pepole?' Every time I do something dumb, I always catch more flack than your average Joe. It's the curse of going to an Ivy League school.

I'm standing there, wondering what I did, when MASE shocks me.

"That's cool. Did you ever make it up to New York?" Curveball. Most people don't know where Princeton is, let alone know that it's about an hour train ride from NYC.

I don't know anything about MASE. I haven't talked to him much because he is still relatively new. He's just passing the point where I feel like he'll make it at The Restaurant.

Most veteran servers will tell you that they don't talk to new people for at least a month. It's sort of like Vietnam. You don't want to be friends with someone knowing that they probably won't last. Once they reach that one month threshold, a bond begins to form. You've been 'in the shit' (The Waiter's words) together, and you know you can count on them.

I decide right then that MASE is going to make it as a server. It's a Saturday night, we're on a wait, and he is able to shoot the breeze with me while keeping up with his four table section.

"Yeah, I've been there a couple times. Breaks the monotony of campus life. Why do you ask?"

"I used to live there, back in the day. I had a lot of fun, but I'm glad to be out of there. Are you going out tonight?"

It's a ritual that the entire staff go out for a beer after a busy Saturday shift. It usually turns into a bitch session. Managers, customers, poor servers; all are fair game. I wouldn't miss it for the world.

"Yeah. You should definitely come. I'll even buy you a beer."

"I'll definitely come by, but I'll have to pass on the beer. I'm on the wagon. Been sober for five months." He smiles and walks back into the kitchen.

I'm intrigued. It seems like he doesn't want to talk about himself. Very few people dislike talking about themselves. I get the feeling that there is more to MASE than meets the eye.

Putting my questions on the back burner, I turn back to the computer. I finish typing in the order, grab the iced tea pitcher, and head back to battle.


We're at a neighboring restaurant. It's another "crap on the walls" casual place, but the bar is open later than ours. Even the closing bartenders at The Restaurant have time to come over for a couple beers.

We've pulled three tables together. It's a good turn out tonight. About 90% of the staff showed up. As usual, we're banging on Valerie and horrible customers. Everyone's laughing and having a great time.

MASE, true to his word, is sipping a Diet Cola, silently taking in the scene. I decide to break the ice.

"So how come you never come out with us?"

"Well, a couple reasons. I'm living with my aunt and her two kids. I have to babysit for them almost every day. Also, I can't drive. Speaking of which, can I get a ride home?"

No more shots for me. Oh well.

"Sure! How come you can't drive?" I'm expecting to hear the usual. DUI.

"I got deported from Canada for stealing a car," says MASE, chuckling. Wow. Wasn't ready for that.

"What? What the hell happened?" This is a story I have to hear. I notice that two of the waitresses are starting to steal glances towards us. I can tell they're eavesdropping.

"After NYC, I went up to Canada with some friends. We went on a two month long bender. Drugs, booze, you name it. One night, I decided to steal a car and go joyriding. The mounties didn't like that so much."

One of the waitresses that was listening in decided to pipe up.

"How did you steal the car?"

"With a scredriver. It was kind of funny. The cop that pulled me over turned on his loudspeaker and said, 'Throw the keys out the window and put your hands on the wheel!' I didn't have any keys. I was so freaked out and paranoid from the drugs that I thought he was going to shoot me if I didn't throw something out the window. So I grabbed the screwdriver and tossed it into the street. Looking back on it, I bet he was laughing his ass off when he came over and saw a phillips-head lying in the middle of the road."

Most of the table is riveted. We all want to hear more, so I decide to keep leading him on, seeing how much he'll tell us.

"What did they do with you? Throw you in the clink?"

"Yeah, for a couple days. I didn't have any ID, so they had to call my parents to come verify who I was. They came and picked me up. I ended up getting probation, since it was my first offense. My parents put me into rehab in Seattle."

So that's why he doesn't drink anymore. Seems like a good reason.

"Earlier you said you lived in New York. Were you serving there?"

"Yeah, at a gay restaurant. It was kind of like an Ed Debevic's, except everyone dressed in drag." Wait a minute...

"Oh, you're gay? I didn't know that."

"Yep. I made a hot drag queen too. You would have loved it." We all start cracking up.

"I was waiting tables and modeling too. Eventually, I was making enough modeling and... doing other things, and I was able to quit serving." He didn't want to talk about the 'other things', so I decided not to push him on that. However...

"What kind of modeling did you do? Anything we'd know?"

"Maybe. I was one of the original Calvin Klein models. I was on a couple billboards in NY, and I was in one of the commercials that was on MTV." Holy cow. This wasn't a small-time modeling gig. MASE was on the verge of the big time. Well, maybe not the BIG time, but he was closer than any of the other people sitting at that table.

"I was also in a couple of B-movies. Straight to video horror flicks. In both of them, I was one of the extras in dance clubs. For one of them, they made me wear this big Afro wig. I was so coked up at the time, I thought I was the king of the world. I kept tossing the wig. The director was getting pissed. They had to do like fifteen takes for a ten-second scene because I kept throwing my wig over the crowd." Enraptured, the entire staff is fixated on MASE.

"But the one you all would probably know is a music video shoot I did. Lenny Kravitz's 'Are you Gonna Go my Way?' " Excited murmers and agreements from the peanut gallery. "I was a dancer in that video. I have a copy, I'll bring it tomorrow."

I can tell the MASE is getting tired of the attention. I want to hear more, but I figure I'll have plenty of time. I switch the topic.

"So, are you a Nintendo guy or a Sega guy?" Almost immediately, the female servers lose interest. For some reason, only guys spent a large portion of their youth learning that you could get 99 lives in 'Contra' by pressing up down up down left right left right B A B A start on the title screen.

MASE and I talk about video games for the next couple hours. He tells me that he just bought an XBox, the brand new gaming system from Microsoft. Cost him $350. He loves it.

Soon, the house lights shine bright and it's time to go. MASE follows me out to the parking lot and hops in my car.

He lives really close by, and we're there in a matter of minutes. Pulling into the driveway, I see a young kid, about six, sitting on the stoop. When MASE gets out of the car, the kid runs right over to him. He looks like he's been crying.

"What's wrong buddy?"

"MASE, I'm so sorry. We were playing with the football in the house and I made a touchdown and spiked the ball. It hit your Xbox and broke it."

Quickly, the calculator in my brain goes to work. $350 for the Xbox. About $5 per table in tips. That comes to 70 tables of wasted work. I expect MASE to blow up. Instead....

"You know you're not supposed to play ball in the house. Mom told you that yesterday. I'm really disappointed in you. But you know what? I'm also really glad that you told me. You could have not said anything and blamed it on someone else, but you took responsibility. I'm really proud of you."

Wow. I'm impressed. The kid smiles through the tears. MASE picks him up and carries him back into the house, waving goodbye as he reaches the door.

Driving home, I reflect on what I've seen. MASE has lived a fast-paced life, but he's turned things around. He's grounded. Most parents I know wouldn't have handled the situation with the XBox that well.

Despite all I learned about MASE that night, I felt that I hadn't even scratched the surface yet. I was right.

*** (A few months later)

The company Christmas party. If you can call it that. We're celebrating Christmas in early February, apparently.

Valerie got a nice-sized check from the corporate office to spend on this party. Instead of going to a high-class bar or banquet hall, we end up ar a local dance club/bar. On Industry Night. No cover for servers. $1 appetizers and half-priced drinks as well. Way to stretch those dollars, Valerie.

Soldato, my girlfriend, and MASE are talking in a corner away from the dance floor.

"I betcha Valerie is pocketing the rest of that check," comments Soldato.

"You know it," I reply. "Oh well. At least we're drinking for cheap tonight." I take a gulp of my Captain and Coke. Mmmm... I love watered-down drinks.

MASE is dancing in place. I can tell that he can't wait to get on the floor. I nudge my girlfriend.

"Why don't you dance with him? I'm not nearly drunk enough yet, so you may as well get warmed up." She laughs and grabs MASE's hand, heading for the dance floor. MASE gives me a smile of thanks.

My girlfriend is a pretty good dancer. I can't keep up with her. Tonight, she can't keep up with MASE. He's a whirling dervish. Soon there is a crowd around him and my girlfriend. He's tossing her around like a rag doll, and she's having a great time. I've never seen anyone dance like MASE. It's ordered chaos keeping in time with the music.

After a while, the music changes. It's a slow Tina Turner song. MASE and my girlfriend head back up to our table.

"You're a pretty good dancer!" I say. My girlfriend is still trying to catch her breath. MASE is sweating, but he doesn't seem to be breathing hard.

"I like dancing. I love this song, but it's not good for anything except the middle-school slow dance." He puts his arms out straight, about waist-high, and pantomimes the akward step/turn of the pre-teen slow dance. We're all cracking up.

"So you like Tina Turner, huh?" I ask. Personally, I loved her in Beyond Thunderdome.

"Yeah. Did I tell you about the modeling benefit I did where I saw her live?" I haven't gotten many more stories since the first night we all went out. I'm dying for more.

"No. What was the benefit for?"

"It was an AIDs benefit. There was a modeling show, followed by her performance afterwards. I was in the modeling show. I was supposed to walk once, but I was all coked up... again. I walked twice. The second time I went down, I saw Billy Zane sitting at one of the tables up front. There was a seat open right next to him, so I thought I'd go sit down. After I got backstage, I booked. I was wearing a five thousand dollar Armani tux. I went over and introduced myself to Billy Zane. We started talking and he let me sit down. I guess one of his group didn't show. He orders a couple bottles of Dom for the table. Pretty soon, the lights go down and Tina Turner starts the show. The coke is starting to wear off, so I finally realize what's going on. I'm sitting next to a Hollywood actor, drinking Dom Perignon, wearing a five thousand dollar tux, and watching Tina Turner perform less than ten feet from where I'm sitting." He shakes his head. "That was probably the best night of my life."

"Holy shit," says Soldato.

"Wow. Did you get to meet Tina Turner?"

"No. I met a bunch of musicians while I was in NY though."

"Really? How?"

MASE looks around and then motions us to go over to a corner with him. He speaks in a low tone, so he isn't overheard.

"I used to be an errand boy at one of the concert venues. If a band wanted drugs, booze, whatever, I was the one they called to go get it. It was good money, and I got to meet a lot of cool people." He shrugs.

"I don't want too many people to know about that."

"Fair enough," I say. "Who all did you meet?"

"Lots of people," he said. "I saw Eddie Vedder (lead singer of Pearl Jam) so drunk that he was eating Play-do out of the can. That was funny. I also got to be really good friends with Michael Stipe (lead singer of R.E.M.). He still sends me and my aunt a Christmas card every year."

Just then, Valerie comes up to announce that it's time to give out awards. We amble back to the table to watch as she gives out cheap plastic "awards" in categories such as "best Front of the House employee", "Best Cook", "Best Smile", and "Best Ass." Good times.

*** (A few months later)

I walk into The Restaurant for a lunch shift. MASE is at the bar, staring at the TV. They've just caught the sniper in Maryland. MASE is starting to tear up.

"What's wrong? Did you know one of the people who got shot?" I ask.

"No. I knew the sniper. The kid." He's really upset.

"How did you know him?"

"Remember that rehab clinic I went to in Seattle? He was in there with me. He was such a good kid. This is fucked up. I can't believe it."

Neither can I. Forrest Gump has nothing on MASE.

*** (A few months later)

MASE has been crabby for a while now. He's showing up to shifts late. He's lost weight. I have a feeling something's wrong.

It's a Saturday night. MASE is at the computer, typing in an order. I'm reminded of the first time we talked. I tap him on the shoulder.

"Hey, you OK?" I ask. He turns around. His eyes are bloodshot and he's sweating.

"Fine." He's short with me.

"Are you sure?" I hate to pry, but I want to help if I can.

"I'm OK. Really." He turns back to the computer. I walk away.

After the shift, we head out for drinks. I order a tall Bass.

"I'll have a double Johnny Red on the Rocks and a tall Black & Tan," says MASE. Whoa. What the hell is going on? MASE doesn't drink.

"MASE, what's going on? You never drink."

"Well, some stuff has changed." He drains the scotch in one gulp and then downs half his beer. I've never been scared watching someone drink, not even in college. MASE is scaring me.

He drinks hard the whole night. I drive him home. I watch him stumble up to the door. He unlocks it and almost falls inside. He isn't the same person who, less than a year ago, carried his aunt's son in after performing some of the best parenting I've ever seen.

I drive home with a heavy heart.

*** (A few months later)

MASE is dying. He has AIDs. He's not HIV positive. He has full-blown AIDs. He hasn't worked in a month. He's in the hospital.

We called his aunt to see if there was anything we could do. The entire staff is upset. MASE is one of the nicest people and hardest workers around.

His aunt tells us that he's in the hospital. He doesn't want visitors. He's nearing the end, and he doesn't want anone to see him in his condition. She thanks us for our concern.

One of the servers gets a card. We all sign it. I can't put into words what I'm feeling. How do you tell someone, "I hear you're dying. I just want you to know that I'm thinking about you"? What consolation will that bring?

I am waiting on a table during a weekday lunch. Two 30-something ladies. Well-dressed, but not in business attire. They're enjoying hubby's money while he's slaving away. One of them grabs my arm.

"I need more ice." She turns back to her conversation.

At first I'm mad as hell. Who the hell are you to order me around? I'm a person too. I'm probably better-educated, smarter, and a lot harder-working.

Then I realize that I'm upset about MASE. I come to a realization. Nobody that MASE waited on knew who he really was. They saw him, as many customers do, as a dog. Fetch me more ice. Fetch my food. They had no idea of what he'd seen or what he'd done.

Turning that around, I realize that I don't know who these two ladies are. I don't know what they've gone through, what they've done in life. Who am I to make judgements about them, based on a half-hour spent waiting on them?

This was the last, and probably best, thing I learned from MASE. You never know who you're dealing with until you talk to them.

I got the lady more ice and set it down with a smile.

"There you are ma'am."

"Thank you! I must tell you that it's so nice to be able to have an afternoon away from the kids. You've been wonderful."


I realize now that MASE must have found out he was sick right before that last conversation I had with him at the bar. He spent his last couple months at the restaurant deteriorating before my eyes.

Aside from the drinking, MASE made some other lifestyle changes. I could tell he was using drugs again. He also told me that he was frequenting places downtown that offered a place for guilt-free one-night stands. He was spending less and less time at his aunt's house and more time partying all night in Chicago.

He lived his last couple months hard. He wanted to go out with a bang.

Honestly, I don't know if I can blame him. If someone put a time limit on my life, how would I react? I don't think I'd want to go quietly.

Wherever you are now, MASE, please know that you touched my life, as well as many others. There are people who loved you and who cared about you during your short time on this planet. In fact, we still do.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Drunken Irishman

-A Description of The Drunken Irishman-

The Drunken Irishman (who I'll call Irish from now on) stands 5'9'' and weighs about 180 lbs. Most of it is baby fat. He has sandy hair, which is 'styled' bi-monthly at Supercuts. His complexion is ruddy. His cheeks and nose seem perpetually red from the burst capillaries. He is in his mid-20's.

Irish mumbles and stutters, which is not a good combo when trying to chit chat with customers. This can get him into trouble sometimes.

Irish drunks too much, but nobody seems to mind. He's a friendly drunk.

This story is about a shift and the beginning of a night out with The Drunken Irishman.

-The Drunken Irishman-

I've been working at The Restaurant for a few weeks now. I'm learning the ropes, and my tip percentage is rising steadily. Running four tables is a breeze.

I'm even starting to become familiar with some of the oft-used (but never under-appreciated) jokes that servers use to banter with their tables when we're in a hurry. For example: "You didn't care much for your dish, sir?" when the customer has all but licked the plate. I'm starting to enjoy this job.

I walk into The Restaurant for a Saturday night shift. I'm pumped. Weekend nights are electric. The bar is busy, sections are full, and almost the entire staff is scheduled. It's always a good time.

Walking in the back, I notice a group of people hanging out by the pin-up board. Normally, this board contains notes from people looking to pick up or give up shifts, a list of the 86'd items, and any other random pieces of info that Valerie thinks important.

Today, a shopper report hangs on the wall. For those of you not in the know, let me enlighten you on shopper reports....

Restaurants, especially corporate-owned restaurants, use shopper reports to grade service. A shopper service recruits people to go out and eat at restaurants and then grade the server. If a server follows the cookie-cutter 10 steps of service, they will score well.

(I hate shopper reports. In my humble opinion, the scores do not represent the true ability a server has to make the guest enjoy their dining experience. This is worthy of an entire post, so I'll get into this another day.)

This server scored a 67%. Horrendous.

"Ouch. Can someone get in trouble for that?" I ask.

"Yup. You can get your ass fired for that." The Hippie is examining the report, idly munching on organic carrots.

"For what?" Irish walks into the back, looking harrassed. Then again, he always looks harassed.

"Low shopper scores."

"No you can't! If that was true, I'd have been fired after my first night. I got a 35."

Now Irish has a crowd. Taking pains to speak slowly and clearly, he explains. He was so poorly trained that he barely knew how to clock in for his first shift, which happened to be on a Saturday, our busiest night of the week. He had never waited a table before in his life, but he was given a four table section. He didn't know the menu, the computer, or the steps of service. Murphy's Law: Irish got shopped his first night on the floor.

"How did you manage to get 35?" If he knew nothing, I'm wondering if he got points for saying his name correctly.

"Oh, it wasn't me. They liked the food." This gets a laugh from the servers.

"Shows you how much shoppers know. Our food is crap." This from one of the veteran servers. I can't say that I disagree.

Valerie comes around the corner.

"ShiiiiiiIIIIIIFT!" It doesn't matter that we're all standing within five feet. Valerie always screams like a banshee when announcing the shift meeting.

Ten minutes later, after a scathing assesment of our serving abilities, Valerie sends us out to the floor. I see that I've already been sat, so I head to the table. As I'm launching into my spiel, the hostess double seats me. Great. It's going to be that kind of night.

Two hours later The Restaurant is hopping. I'm in the groove. All my jokes, even the bad ones, are working. My tables love me, and all my tips are over 20%.

I'm restocking glasses in a side station when Irish comes in to refill a soft drink.

"How you doing tonight?" I ask.

"Not so good. That shift meeting killed my good mood."

"Well, looks like your night is about to get better." I nod to one of the round 8 tops in Irish's section, which is getting sat with a party of 7. "Try ID'ing the older lady if she asks for a drink. Old folks love that." The 70-something looks like she could use a drink. The grandkids are rambunctious.

"Oh yeah? I haven't done that before, but I'll give it a try." Irish runs his drink and heads to greet his table. All my tables are happy, so I stick around to hear his delivery.

"Hi folks how are you doing? My name is Irish and I'll be taking care of you this evening." He rattles off the specials. "Can I start you folks off with something to drink?"

Turns out that everyone (with the exception of the little ones) is drinking. Finally, Irish gets to the 70-something.

"And for you miss?" I love that he used 'miss.' It's a good lead-in. They're going to love this if he can pull it off.

"Pinot Grigio, please."

I lean forward in anticipation. I love the sound of a table laughing.

"Of course. And I know I don't need to see your ID."

Dead silence from the table. Irish realizes that he's completely blown it. He's turning all shades of red, and he's starting to shake. He tries to backtrack.

"What I mean is.... I was going to ask to see your ID, cause... I mean, can I see your ID? No, just kidding...." I'm reminded of Tommy Boy. ("Your brain's the one with... shell on it")

The 70-something is staring at Irish to see if he's serious. The lady's son looks at Irish with pity. I bet he's wondering if Irish left his helmet on the short bus.

Irish beats a hasty retreat to the bar. I follow.

"So, uh, that didn't go so well, huh?" I'm trying to console Irish, but inside I'm laughing my ass off.

"No. This shift is worthless. How about going to the bar after this?" He's still beet red. I feel bad for him.

"Of course. We're going across the street. Hopefully we can catch the end of the Cubs game." Irish is a big Sammy Sosa fan. (mind you, this is pre-steroid scandal baseball) The Cubbies are playing the Cardinals in St. Louis. They're vying for the division lead.

"Great. Now excuse me, I'm going to try to save my tip."

He walks back to the table with a full tray of drinks.

He scoots in between his table and another 8-top. He places a drink down. As he straightens back up, a man at the other table finishes a story he is telling with a flourish. His arm flies back, slamming into Irish's tray. The tray tips, spilling the drinks all over the table.

The man telling the story glances back at Irish, then quickly turns back to his table. He says nothing. Irish looks back at the man, anger flashing in his eyes. He turns back to the table.

"I can't believe that guy just did that! I'll be right back with a new round and a towel." Irish turns to leave.

"What guy?" The son asks angrily.

I don't believe it. The son missed the whole thing. Looking around at the table, I can see that the rest of the party missed it as well. Irish looks around helplessly. His eyes lock onto mine. I smile and shrug. What can you do when Murphy's Law is in effect?


After a long night, the shift is finally over. We head to the bar.

We sit down and order beers. Pint of Bass for me, schooner of Miller Lite for Irish.

"How about some shots? I need to forget tonight." Irish is looking haggard. I'll help the best I can.

"Burning Turkeys?" Nothing will make you forget your troubles like Wild Turkey and tabasco.

The bartender sets down our shots and heads to the taps. I look up at the big screen TV. The Cubbies are clinging to a two run lead in the bottom of the ninth. They've brought in Antonio Alfonseca. While I know that he's twice the man I am (24 digits, 6 fingers on each hand, six toes on each foot), I also know that he's a rotten closer. He's in a precarious situation. Two men on, two outs, with the Cardinals slugger up to bat.

"To the Cubs!" says Irish, holding his shot glass up. I pick mine up, clink Irish's glass, and we down our shots. Immediately the burn sets in. The bartender was generous with the tabasco. She sets down my beer. I down half of it in two gulps to try to ease the burn. Irish looks for his beer.

"We're changing the keg, hon. It'll be just a sec." She saunters away. Irish is in pain. He's madly brushing his tongue with his hands. Just then, a groan arises from the bar patrons. Looking back at the screen, I catch the ball leaving Busch stadium. Great.

I look back at Irish. He looks downright miserable. He lives and dies with the Cubs. He's just seen his club blow a two run lead, his mouth is on fire, and it will be a few more minutes before he can get his beer to put out the flames. On top of that, he's had a rough night on the floor. Rotten night for Irish all around. Murphy's Law.

Monday, September 05, 2005

A Night out with the Deaf Server

-A Description of Amy, The Deaf Server-

I first introduced The Deaf Server, Amy, in the post The Deaf Guy. In that post, you learned that Amy is a bitch. Here is a little bit more information on Amy.

Amy is in her late 30's. She claims that she's in her late 20's. Her body could easily pass for the latter. Full chest, nice legs, trim waist. She's in good shape. She has wavy platinum blonde hair that she wears long and loose. From the neck down, she's a head-turner.

However, her face will send most men packing. She must have had a losing bout with acne when she was younger. The pockmarks stand out despite the copious amounts of base and rouge. She also tans too often. Her skin is beginning to take on the consistency of leather.

Amy sports a surgically-implanted hearing aid. You don't notice it unless she has her hair pulled back in a ponytail. She was sick as a child, and the high fever stunted her hearing development. She can read lips and hear conversation in close quarters.

Amy is a slut. I thought of putting that in nicer terms. I can't. She deserves the label. You'll see.

-A Night out with The Deaf Server-

Two days off in a row. I haven't had two days off in a row since I started working at The Restaurant. My only day off was Wednesday. Inevitably, every Wednesday morning at 9:00, I'd get a call from Valerie. It usually went something like this...

" e'lo?" me, in a raspy, confused voice.

"I need you to come in today." Valerie, ordering, not asking.

"What? No, Valerie, it's my only day off this week." I'm not about to give up my only day off. I'm already pissed that she woke me up five hours after I went to sleep.

"I need you to come in." She's not budging.

"Valerie, how many people do you have on the floor?" I'll give in if they have 6 or less. You can run a shift with five, but it's tough.

"Only ten. Need one more." You have to be kidding me.

"Bye Valerie." Click.

She did this to me almost every week since I first put on an apron. Unbelievable. But not this week. Nope. This week, I have two days off. Some new manager screwed up the schedule. Valerie is pissed, but I don't care. I deserve the time off.

A group of servers decide to make a night of it. It's me, my girlfriend, Amy, The Penguin, The Actor, and Soldato. We're going to meet at The Restaurant before heading out to a club. I hate dancing, but if I get drunk enough, I'll give it a whirl.

I'm driving my girlfriend's car to The Restaurant. She's in the passenger seat, putting on her makeup. I refuse to ride in the car while she's simultaneously putting on her makeup and weaving through traffic. I don't mind taking risks, but this is one situation that is sure to end in disaster.

"Have you ever been out with Amy before?" She asks, brushing on mascara.

"No, why? I hear she spends a lot of time on her knees in the bathrooms." I had heard this stories, but always dismissed them. Tales have a way of growing as they travel through The Restaurant's grapevine.

"Um... yeah. That's on a slow night." She's smiling mischievously. "Don't drink too much. You're going to want to remember this."

She refuses to say any more despite my increasingly insistent pleas.

We arrive at The Restaurant a few minutes later. Everyone else is already drinking.

The Penguin is wearing a purple dress. (Quick side note: We call her "The Penguin" because her body resembles that of Danny Devito as The Penguin in Batman Returns.) Tonight, she looks like Grimace from McDonald's. Hot momma!

Soldato is sporting a tight black shirt and about five pounds of gold on his neck and wrists. Vintage Italian mobster wanna-be.

My girl has on a nice top and tight low-rider jeans. I'm a happy camper.

The Actor is a homosexual dressed to the metro-sexual nines. Eighty dollar T-shirt, 400 dollar jeans.

I'm in jeans and nice polo. Still haven't lost my college fat yet, so I'm avoiding the tight tees for now.

Amy takes the cake. She's wearing a tube top that leaves very little, if anything, to the imagination. I can't tell if it's a tube top or a neck warmer that she's stretched out. It leaves everything exposed except the bottom 3/5 of her breasts. She's also wearing a mini-skirt. I get the distinct feeling that she's on the prowl.

We sit down and have a few beers. Valerie stops by our booth.

"I need to talk to you," she says to The Actor. He gets up and they move to the bar for some more privacy. Valerie didn't even so much as nod to the rest of us.

"Well, how about one more drink and we go?" I want to get out of here before Valerie tries to strap an apron on me.

"OK. Do you guys all know how to get there?" Amy asks. The club is about fifteen minutes away. Hop on the expressway, take the third exit, hang a right, and look for the shining lights.
Nothing too complicated.

Regardless, The Penguin insists on following Amy. I have a feeling The Penguin got ditched a lot in middle school.

"Hey Actor, we're ready to go!" Amy shouts. The Actor looks up, then resumes his conversation. I get up and head to the bathroom. Time to break the seal. A commotion at the bar slows me down.

"What the hell?!" The Actor is surprised. "Oh my God." The Actor sounds like he's going to puke.

I stop, wondering if I can wait a minute for my bathroom break.

"You disgusting bitch! I can't believe you just did that." The Actor has run behind the bar. He is washing his hands furiously. The Penguin and my girlfriend are looking on in disgust. Soldato is laughing hysterically. Amy is sitting in the same spot, looking impatient.

"What happened?" Soldato is closest, so I ask him. Unable to stifle his guffaws, he points at the floor near where The Actor was standing.

There's a used tampon laying on the floor.

"Did she just throw that at him?" Soldato is near tears. He nods.

"Did it hit him?" Another nod.

"Where did she..." I trail off, thinking of the miniskirt. I'm glad I missed this one. I run to the bathroom knowing I have to pee, wondering if I have to puke.

When I return to the bar area, The Actor is gone. Everyone else is in varying stages of putting on the winter coats, hats, gloves, and scarves.

"What happened?" I ask the group.

"He left," replies Amy. "You ready to go?"

Not wanting to have a tampon flung in my direction, I nod and head out the door carrying my coat.


The club is noisy, smoky, and filled to the brim with hormones and sexual tension. Oversized speakers spit out techno, drum and bass, and house music. Thump Thump Thump...thumpthump.. Thump Thump Thump.... How can I not dance?

We've lost The Actor, who I presume left to get to the nearest bio-hazard containment unit, but the rest of the crew made it to the club. Upon arrival, Soldato immediately headed towards the pool tables in the back. (Hustling pool is one of Soldato's lucrative side businesses.)

Soon the woman and I are dancing, oblivious to everything else. We quickly loose track of The Penguin and Amy.

After a while, we take a break. Heading to the bar, I catch sight of The Penguin. She's making out in the corner. I nudge my girlfriend.

She stares, open-mouthed. "It reminds me of that Discovery Channel show about anacondas. You know how they dislocate their jaw to eat their prey?" Hopefully The Penguin ate before she went out, or the poor guy will be in trouble.

Smiling and laughing, we grab a couple beers and sit down to watch the commotion on the dance floor. Sometimes watching people is the best form of entertainment.

One guy, obviously in the bag, hits on half a dozen girls before he finally convinces one to dance. Once on the floor, he promptly falls flat on his face. Undeterred, he keeps gyrating, holding a hand to the swelling on his forehead.

The cocktail waitresses weave in and out of the crowd, fake smiles plastered on their faces. They dish out shots in neon test-tubes, charging six bucks a pop.

There's a commotion at the far end of the dance floor. Cheers and jeers alternately arise from the group. The woman and I are about to head over when Soldato shows up out of nowhere.

"Dude, it's time to go." He casts a worried glance over his shoulder. Towards the pool room.

Uh-oh. It's likely that someone has taken exception to losing to Soldato by one ball... again. Soldato never learned that you can sheer a sheep many times, but you can skin it only once. When Soldato says it's time to leave, it's time to strap on the boots and find the nearest exit.

"OK, let's get out of here. Where's Amy?"

Grimace looks as though she's found her late-night meal, so we'll leave her here.

"I think I know," my girlfriend says. She points to the noisy crowd in the corner.

Sure enough, I can see a platinum blonde head bouncing in time to the music. Great.

Crossing the dance floor, we make a beeline to Amy. When we get closer, we see that she's in the center of a group of guys. A great number have pulled down their pants. Amy is judging each man's member with either a thumbs up or a thumbs down. So that's what all the cheers and jeers were about.

My girlfriend shoots into the group, grabs Amy's hand, and pulls her away. There is a collective groan from the inebriated circle.

They make their way back to us, Amy wild-eyed and fiery, my girlfriend mildly annoyed. We start towards the entrance, only to see an angry-looking bouncer heading our way. Changing course, we leave through a side exit.


We head to a 3 am bar. We're regulars here. Soldato sets up shop at the pool tables in the back. Amy, my girlfriend, and I settle into a booth.

"So, Amy, what was that all about?" I have to know why she was holding a penis judging contest in the middle of a crowded club.

"I got bored," is her reply. Fair enough, I suppose.

A few drinks later and we're laughing. Interesting night, one that is sure to live on in annals of The Restaurant lore for years to come. Amazingly, it isn't over.

A man walks over and taps Amy on the shoulder.

"Remember me?" big smile. The guy has on more gold than Soldato. He's wearing a silk collared shirt with more than a few buttons undone. He looks like he just stepped out of a South Beach porn shoot.

"No," is Amy's curt reply.

"From the bathroom? About two weeks ago?" Oh my God, the stories are true.

"Oh yeah! How are you?" Amy crosses her arms in front of her, leaning forward to accent her cleavage. She bats her eyes at the AO, who is openly staring at her chest. Dear God, this woman has no shame.

"Fine... want to get out of here?" He's smiling like the Cheshire Cat.

Amy doesn't even reply. She just gets up and leaves, waving over her shoulder. I guess that's all you need to do to pick up The Deaf Server.

The girlfriend looks at me. "Are you OK?" she asks.

"I think so. I can't believe she just left with that guy. Although, I'm still trying to process that she was in a circle of guys holding an impromptu...." I trail off, shaking my head.

"Don't forget the tampon," is my girlfriend's reply.

"How could I? Disgusting. Hey, you want to get out of here? I've had enough excitement for one night." I'm drained, both physically and psychologically.

"Sure. I'll drive." What a sweetheart.

Making sure Soldato can get a ride home (he's had a few DUI's, so he doesn't drive anymore), we head out the door.

As we get to the car, I ask, "Is that the wildest night you've had with Amy or what?"

She looks at me and smiles.

"Not even close."

Thursday, September 01, 2005

For the Newcomers

Hello, newcomers! I want to thank you all for visiting Server Stories. Most of you came from Waiter Rant. I can't thank The Waiter enough for linking to my blog.

I think it would be nice if the newbies got an idea of what some of the good stuff on here looks like. If you veterans want to let them know what your favorite Server Stories post is, perhaps the uninitiated can get a better idea of what this blog is all about.

I'm opening the floor to voting!

I'm also opening the floor to voting for my next post. I do this from time to time to encourage reader participation. Your choices this week are...

Soldato's Last Stand

A Night out with The Deaf Server

The Most Interesting Server Ever (new character)

The Penguin (new character)

Hillbilly Night

Anyone can vote for the new post. Let me know what you want to hear. I'll close the voting when one story has 15 votes or on friday at midnight (which, coincidentally, is my birthday). I'll try to get a story out by Saturday evening.

Another year older,

The Server