Another day at the office
“Good evening, sir, madam, please let me show you to your table.” I have repeated this line so many times in my career, that it’s gotten to the point where I have to run to the bathroom after they’re seated so that I can belch and gag into the toilet bowl and then wipe the bile out of my mustache before I go back to perform the table service. I hate every customer that comes into the restaurant, no matter their gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, prison record, net worth, etc. These people come into my restaurant and want to pay me a pittance to be their servant for a short while so that they can feel important and act important sitting on their leather asses in some crummy booth that’s adorned with a garish Paul Klee print of some splattered artwork and the cheapest grade of naugahyde that’s had food, drinks, and excreta splattered on it and then wiped off repeatedly with a filthy cloth that’s stored in a plastic bucket awash in grey water. My fellow waiters and waitresses tell me to get a grip, and I often do – that being a firm grip on the handle of a fillet knife in the kitchen that I grab with the intent of ramming it full force into their eye sockets, hoping to turn their heads into soggy pin cushions, the fucking bastards. If I could have my way with the customers, I’d dress up in a burlap sack dress and put on a straw hat and then run out into the dining room at full speed with a pitch fork and start running people through and hoisting them out of their seats into the corner where a large pile of fresh offal would start to accumulate. It would be interesting to me to see if the cloud of flies that hovers over the food by the heat lamps would migrate out to the dining room to find purchase on the fresh pile of gore heaped next to the dessert case. I used to be a cook, but the stresses of the kitchen got to be too much for me, and one day I snapped and threw a sauté pan that was filled with sliced egg-plant and hot grease into my bosses face. He shrieked in agony as his face started to bubble and pieces of fried egg-plant stuck to his chef’s coat like wilted army medals. The rest of the kitchen staff was aghast as I quickly ran to the cleaning closet and got a mop handle and started to beat him senseless, after which I turned my attentions to the twenty or so entrees that were cooking on the stove in their respective pans. I started bashing in the stove which created an arcing cascade of splattered food raining down in the general area of the steam table, which I upended in short order. I then grabbed the printer that spits out the food order tickets and hurled it at the dishwasher who was looking on in disbelief. He cursed at me in Albanian after dodging the projectile, so I ran him down and tried to suffocate him with an undulating pile of uncooked pizza dough. At that point everything went dark as I was hit from behind with one of the tureens that was picked up off the ground by one of the waiters. I woke up in the hospital restrained to my bed in a pile of rags that used to be my kitchen whites. A policeman was sitting bedside, and the owner of the restaurant, Bridgette, was pacing behind him. “Because of you I’m ruined!” she kept repeating. What a dumb bitch. Didn’t she know that it was actually her own fault? “Listen,” I said, “Obviously I’ll never work in that damned kitchen again, but you can’t just kick me aside like so much rubbish. I’ll go to the front of the house and try my luck there instead. I’ll never misbehave again, really.” The policeman laughed at that, telling Bridgette “I’ll run him down to the station now that he’s awake. I expect you’ll press full charges?” “I know that I should, but he’s my son. If he really thinks he can change then perhaps I’ll take him at his word and try and put this ugly episode behind us” she said. The policeman was shocked. “What about the chef and the dishwasher that are right down the hall in their own rooms? The dishwasher will be fine, but the chef just got out of the burn unit, and will need skin grafts and multiple surgeries to even get close to normal!” “I know, it’s not good, but Pasqualdo here obviously wasn’t himself. I’ll pay the hospital bills of all involved and we’ll just act like this never happened” she said finally.
A week later I was back at the restaurant, albeit with a new job as a waiter. The chef was still at the hospital, so he’d been replaced by this woman named Sherry who was a recent graduate of Johnson & Wales Culinary Academy. Great, I thought to myself. Another fucking snob who’s going to make life here difficult. At least I have an ace up my sleeve this time. The guy in the next bed over from me in the hospital blew himself up in his dad’s workshop playing around with homemade napalm, and clued me in on some very easy at-home techniques for IED’s. He lent me a copy of the Anarchist’s Cookbook, which I found to be a fascinating read. The guy that wrote is must’ve been a real asshole, that’s for sure. I identified with the poor bugger. In any case, I was back at it. The rest of the staff were uneasy, but they kept their fucking mouths shut because my mom was their boss. I also gathered them all around before we opened to stress that fact to them in my own words. “Look,” I said, “I know that a lot of you aren’t too happy that I’m back, but you’ll have to suck it up because my mother signs your measly paychecks. You don’t like me and I certainly don’t like any of you, so stay out of my fucking way and give me the best tables or I’ll be sure to make your life a living hell, you god damned slaves.” God it was good to be back! I went back to the kitchen and told Sherry to make me a Porterhouse For Two. She said that she’d been told that the wait staff could only have pasta or chicken, so I started swearing at her foully and let her know that I was Bridgette’s son. She made me the food, which I took down to my mom’s office so that I could eat in peace. The office is more like a dungeon, with an exposed stucco façade and more garish paintings, dim lighting, and empty bottles of cognac. My mother is such a fucking lush. What a dumb bitch. Through the years I have brought numerous girls down there with the intent of seducing them. I mean, how hard could it be? I’m dealing with waitresses and bus-girls, please! It never worked, unfortunately, even when I threatened to have them fired for not committing this or that act of depravity. After I finished my meal I went back upstairs to the hostess stand and grabbed the reservation book after glaring at her massive boobs. She looked at me in disgust, and I didn’t really feel that badly about it. The feeling was mutual. I poached the best tables for myself and went to work. I draped a towel over my forearm and strolled up to my first table. “Hello, how are you two this evening?” I said to an obese, bald man who was probably in his fifties and a thirty-something woman whose hair was so processed, I actually thought about removing the votive candle from the table lest it ignite her hair in a Hindenburg-esque fireball. “Fine-fine, yes, well-well. Look, we’re in a hurry. We have to make it to the theater in an hour for the premier of Not Everybody’s Donkey, so you’re going to have to hurry our order. She’ll have the Great Meatballs of Fire and linguine and I’ll have the Braised Orangutan Sweetbreads, HOLD THE SHALLOTS! Do I need to repeat that?” he barked. “No, I’ve got it. You’ve made excellent choices. I’ll get these in right away!” I said, smiling at them. I broke into a light jog back to the kitchen to let them think that I meant business, and made a bee-line for the walk in cooler. “Order up, Pasqualdo?” Sherry said as I ran by. “No, I’ll take care of this one myself. Old friends, you see.” I said. I grabbed a bucket and a colander and dumped two meatballs, the sweetbreads, two whole shallots and some linguine in the bucket and went downstairs to the employee bathroom. As luck would have it, Eduardo, one of the busboys had just come out. There was an almost visible wall of putrid stench wafting out of the latrine, so I had to brace myself and know that the end would surely justify the means of the abominable act that I was about to commit. I dumped the contents of the bucket into the toilet bowl which still had a rotating organic mass of flotsam inside and gave it a good stir with the plunger that was caked with filth. I then scooped it out with the colander put it back into the bucket and went back to the kitchen. I plunged the whole mess into the deep fryer and then plopped the goop onto two plates and covered it with orange slices and parsley as a garnish. Sherry didn’t know what to make of what I was doing and was unsettled by my maniacal laughter as I wiped the edges of the plates and put the tray on my shoulder. I grabbed a can of lighter fluid and a lighter and walked up to my table. “Your entrees, sir and madam!” I said in a very dramatic tone, and I did a little pirouette and put the plates down with much ceremony. The man was the first to speak up. “What the hell is this!” he said as all of the blood went to his head. A moment later, “My God, is this some kind of joke?” the woman said. “I’m afraid that it’s not” I said. “But it’s not quite done! I have to perform the flambé!” I reached into my apron and pulled out the can of lighter fluid and drenched both plates and set them aflame with my lighter. Their plates went up with a whoosh and the man and woman slid their chairs back, terrified. I sprayed the lighter fluid on the girl’s head which burst into flame. She started to scream, and all I could think was that she looked like an upside down burning broom. The gentleman jumped on her to extinguish the flames, and as he did so, I picked up his vacated chair and broke it over his back at which point he hit the ground in a heap with his singed dinner companion. I sat down in her chair and started to rattle off anecdotes of my past sexual conquests in chronological order as the rest of the patrons started streaming out of the restaurant like rats from a sinking ship. After a minute or so, the man started to come back to life and tried to struggle to his feet. I went over to the other side of the dining room and pulled a Paul Klee print off the wall and smashed the painting over his head. He now wore the canvas around his neck like a cartoonish musketeer. I grabbed the cake knife off the desert bar and ran toward the nearest booth and cut the seat pad into ribbons and threw the stuffing over my head in wadded tufts. The falling seat pad stuffing reminded me of a snowy day when I was a child. At this point the sprinkler system had gone off and a drenching rain had begun to fall in the dining room. My horrified mother had already called 911, and the fire and police departments were en-route. It was time for me to take my leave now that dinner service was complete, so I ran out the back to the parking lot and got in my car. I took aim at the back patio where we had four tables and an outside bar and gunned the engine. The tires squealed and smoked as the car lurched forward full-tilt and smashed into the tables and bar and then into the servers station, completely demolishing everything. The car became wedged underneath the pile of wreckage and wouldn’t back out. I grabbed a baseball bat out of the trunk and assaulted the parking lot attendant, just as the police came around the corner with their guns drawn. “Down on the ground, MOVE!” they shouted. I ceased my efforts against the parking lot attendant so that I could look up at the police. I gave them the finger and told them to sod-off, at which point the parking lot attendant rammed a pocket knife into the base of my skull, killing me instantly. “Dammit!” I said as I started down the tunnel to god-knows-where. “Hopefully I won’t meet any more of these assholes wherever I’m going next!”