Sunday, August 29, 2010

Implements of Destruction

A long time ago, before E was born but after I was married, I worked as a server at a a marina restaurant.  Although waiting tables was not my ideal job, I was good at it and it paid the bills.   My boss was this crusty old fisherman who could fire off a temper tantrum in the blink of an eye.  You never knew what was going to set him off, but when he blew, everyone went running for cover.  It was nothing for him to call someone a bitch or bastard, even the customers.  But he and I got along.  I could see through all his huff and puff and let the name calling just roll off my back.  For you see, people who say things to my face get a lot more respect than those ducks who constantly peck me to death.  Whenever one of our younger servers would make a mistake, they would come skulking to me and ask me to take care of it with the owner.  I usually did because if I took his heat, it saved me a lot of training of servers.

Eventually my boss trusted me enough that he would occasionally leave me in charge and take a night off.  All of the servers waited for these nights because they felt like they could finally breathe and things ran fairly smoothly.  But one night, late into tourist season, my boss had left and I was waiting tables when I got sat two men.  My sixth sense alarm started going off.  They were dressed like regular tourists with jeans and t-shirts and they both had wallets in their pockets, but something about them told me they were going to try to run out on the check.

I took their drink order and went back into the kitchen area to input it into the computer.  While I was back there I casually mentioned to the cooks that I had runners.  Several of the boys came out from behind the line to peek around at table.  They all shook their heads and said, "nah, they're not runners, too clean."
"Nope," I insisted, "they're gonna run, boys."  So the boys opened the door from the kitchen to the deck so they could keep an eye out should the men leave their table.

I waited on the men for about 90 minutes.  They had several drinks, steak dinners, more drinks, and then they ordered dessert.  And this is how I knew they had some semblance of how the restaurant worked.   If a customer ordered dessert, I had to leave the main building and go into an outdoor cooler where I could no longer see my tables.  To get the dessert, they would have to be out of my sight for about 3 minutes.  But of course, I couldn't refuse to let them get dessert because I had a suspicion they weren't going to pay the check.  I had to still act like everything was normal.

I walked back through the kitchen to let the guys know I was heading in the cooler.  "This is it, guys, as soon as I open that door they are going to run."  The guys jokingly picked up ladles and butcher's knives and other things with which to inflict pain.  But, as soon as that cooler door opened, those 2 men stood up and quickly exited the building.  The cooks came around from behind and met them at the door.  The largest cook, Nava, said, "Gentlemen, have you paid your check?"  And that was it, the chase was on. Those two men hauled ass down towards the boardwalk with 4 or 5 teenage boys chasing after them with various kitchen utensils.  Of course the men were slightly tipsy and the boys were younger so they quickly caught them and cornered them, amazingly enough, against the wall of the small police station.  Our local detective came out, took a picture of all of them with their implements of destruction and brought the men back to the restaurant.

I called my boss to see if he wanted to press charges and he said not if the men paid.  The men paid, stiffed me, and went on their merry way.  But all of us had a funny story to tell from that night.  And whenever I told them I thought someone was going to run, they believed me and grabbed their weapons.

1 comment:

Bubblewench said...

that is some great imagery, a bunch of chef's, kitchen guys, waiters(?), running after dude with ladels and kitchen stuff! What a funny story!