Through half-raised eyelids, I saw the other two, my companions. They whispered back and forth to one another, conspiring. The roar of the quiet ocean deafened any chance I had of over-hearing them.
Plotting against me, are they? Good. If they don’t kill me and eat me soon, I’ll do it myself. There I would sit, with my guts laying open, blood everywhere. Knife and fork in hand, kettle on the boil. "Come on, boys! Soup’s on!" They would crawl over and I would spoon out some of the meaty goodness of my innards and flesh. We’d drink a toast of my blood. "To Philip!"
But that was ridiculous. Another dream in the delirious state of mind I was in. I mean, we didn’t even have silverware, much less a kettle. And my name wasn’t Philip. I think. I dozed off again.
I come to, and have the distinct impression that I’m being watched. I open my eyes, and sure as shit they are kneeling over me, eyes wild with hunger and desperation. Their mouths were in a ridiculous open-mouth grin. "Eh? What do you want?"
Neil said, "Come on, then. It’s time."
"Time for what?" Even Paul looked up at him. Paul had conspired with him–did he not know the plan, or was he stupid? Hunger and thirst and heat will do a lot of things to a man. Very little of it was good.
Neil slapped his co-conspirator. "Time to draw lots, you cunt."
My turn. "What are drawing lots for, mate?"
He turned a steely gaze to me. "To determine who lives and who dies, twat." He paused, then added slowly, "And I’m not your ‘mate.’ Poncey cunt."
He pulled from his shirt pocket a box of matches. There were three left in it. He pulled one out, and broke the end off, to make it shorter, and placed it in his hand. "Alright," he said, with an official tone to his voice, as though he were announcing a football game, "Whoever draws the short match, that person is the sacrifice. That person will die so that the others may live. Draw your match."
And then he held his hand out, palm flat, with the matches lying on it. We could all plainly see which one the short one was. He turned to me. "Philip, you go first." He offered me his open hand.
I picked up a match. Not the short one. Verily, ’twas the luck of the draw. Paul was next. He looked over the straws for a long minute, trying to make up his mind. Neil was close to slapping him in his silly head when he finally drew a match. Not the short one.
Neil looked at our two hands, holding our two matches. He then reached into his hand and selected the last match. He was shocked, surprised, and horrified. He had drawn the short match.
He went into a screaming tirade. We were bloody poofters, conspiring against him. He thought we were all mates. Didn’t we go back? What the hell kind of animals were we, that we were going to kill him, drink his blood, eat his flesh, and fashion an umbrella out of his skin for shade from the sun? We might find use for his bones as well. His skull would make a nice ashtray, too bad no one had any smokes left!
Neil was standing in the boat, screaming and rocking and shaking his fist. He tore at his clothes in a fit until he was naked. Finally he collapsed in a heap, sobbing. "It’s not fair! I have tickets to the theater!"
He was sobbing and sniffling into the crook of his arm, where he was so close to himself he could smell his own skin. Mistake. He grabbed his arm and stood up, backing away from us. "If I’m going to lose, then I"m going to win, too! I get dibs! I get the first bit o me own flesh! You can’t deny me that! If you’re going to kill me and eat me, I get some too! I get some too! I get some too!"
With that, he savagely attacked his arm with his mouth, ripping and pulling at his flesh. He screamed as meat tore from his arm, and blood was everywhere. His eyes were wild. "Ha! See! I get dibs! I’m first!" He pointed at us with his bloody arm. "You want some of this? Eh? Do ya? Well, to bad, bitches! This is mine! I won it, fair and square! And I’m taking it with me!"
Suddenly, Neil turned and ran for the other end of the boat, tried to jump, but tripped clumsily and fell overboard. He sank without a sound. Paul and I sat and watched the edge of the boat, where Neil was last seen before he disappeared into oblivion. There was a red mark–blood–on the edge of the boat where Neil’s arm had slid as his body tumbled into the water.
We watched wordlessly for quite a while. Five minutes, maybe. Finally Paul said, "I don’t think the cunt is coming back."
"Want to go home, then?"
"It is time for tea, isn’t it?"
We stepped up off the boat, onto the dock, and walked to the car.
Friday afternoon, about an hour before I left, someone was laid off. The guy works right next to me. In fact, me, him, and one other guy do more or less the same job, just with different parts of the workload. Our company is in the mortgage business. We are doing better than anyone else…and we are down. It’s occasionally scary. When I saw and heard what was happening to him, I turned my back, put on my headphones, and minded my own business.
I never like him, not really. I work with all women, and him. He’s a young guy, mid-20s. He’s a black belt and he teaches–I went to check out his school once. I was not impressed. He was good, but I expect better instruction. The students were sloppy, and their technique was poor. I want good stances, and focus.
At work, he’s always quiet. There have been times where actual weeks have gone by and I haven’t spoken a word to him. He does his job, but–
Okay, look. I fuck around. I mean, while stuff is scanning, I have things going on. But he milks it hard. There are times where I see him at his computer just drawing (using Paint, or whatever) for hours on end. Hours. He has no work, doesn’t look for any, doesn’t ask anyone if they need help, or anything. Just sits and draws in his own little. world.
Now, I can be accused of some of that, but I made an effort to seek things out. I make sure I am quick to help people out. When one bloke moved upstairs I offered to take over the machinery babysitting that he did down here. Little things like that, I just want to be useful. Read that =employed.
He’s been here longer than me. And I’ve been here longer than Joe. Yet we remain, and he’s gone. We had evaluations a few months ago, and just got raises. I wonder how much that had to do with it. I wonder how good–or bad–his was. I got a raise, in tough economic times. Yay me. But I started paying attention more, and working harder. I don’t want to get caught slacking. I don’t want to end up like him.
I didn’t really feel bad for him–am I cold fucker? Mostly I was concerned for myself. I felt like the thinning of the herd happened too close to me. After he was gone, our direct boss went outside for a smoke. I waited for her to come back, and as soon as she got to her desk, I slipped into office.
I asked discretely, "So…is JR…gone?"
She nodded. I asked, "A layoff thing?" Nod.
I said, "Well, look, I just want you to know I can totally take over what he was doing. No problem."
She said the plan was to split up the stuff more or less between Joe and I. However, Joe was gone for the day, so I thought I had dibs. Anyway–
I think these people liked JR. I’m sure. He was quiet, which people often mistake for sensitive when in reality his taciturn nature was due to the fact that he was not real bright and as interesting as a box of crayons, all the same color.
So I began to feel a little like a vulture swooping down before my meal was actually dead. But how do you know until you give it a few passes to see if it swings at you?
Honestly, I never liked the guy anyway.
I told Detroit this story last night and it helped her go to sleep. So…is this worth telling?
After getting part of the way through it, I decide that it isn’t. Select all and delete. But here are some highlights: The girls can’t live without the copier, which sounds like an unhealthy relationship to me. I explain to the girls that the copier is like an abusive boyfriend. He lures you in with flowers and candy and sweetness, and then when you rely on it, it beats the crap out of you. After you bail it out, it’s nice for a while, but you get caught in a vicious cycle. You’re an enabler. You need to join a 12-step program.
But the tech explained what we have to do to make it work right. Certain things have to be done a certain way, and if you do that, it will give you no problems. You just have to treat it right. This morning a group of women are standing around the copier, wondering what to do.
I explain. "Okay, have you ever had a high-maintenance girlfriend?" Blank stares. "This copier requires that she be treated a certain way. If you don’t do it, she’ll go ballistic on you. As long as your treat her like a princess, you can get her to do anything you want." I pause, for dramatic effect. "She will have a *desire* to please you. And then you can brag to everyone else about your hot copier."
I find analogies work best when explaining things to people.
A few of the jobs I’ve had no longer exist. Did you know that? I couldn’t look up information for Majik Market anymore, it’s not there. Neither, too, does Henry’s exist any longer. I worked there twice. As I’ve stated before, I’m a glutton for punishment.
Henry’s was a family owned truck company. Bill Henry ran it, his sister did accounting, and his dad was a diesel mechanic. And Bill’s wife, Cathy, was the company’s psychic. To me, she would have been the perfect woman to fuck: she was older, she looked good, she was rich, obviously neglected because Bill was a workaholic, and she was nutty as my ball sac.
My dad worked there as one of the elites: he was a Georgia driver. Henry’s exclusive business was to go down to Georgia to the carpet mills, pick up, bring it back here, and then redistribute to the carpet retailers in the bistate (and eventually three- and four- state) area.
He got me a job in the warehouse when I quit Domino’s–I was out of work for about two days. The trucks came in from Georgia, and we unloaded them, and warehoused them. Then they would set up the loads on their respective routes–southern Illinois, Chicago run, KC, Southern MO, Northern MO. Also city and Metro runs as well.
It was fun. Usually we worked in a two-man team, one spotter and one loader. On second shift we did more loading than unloading. We’d get a clipboard, in order of the route, and work from the bottom up. The spotter would find the rolls, and the loader would….you guessed it–load them. On our shift we me, Mike and Mike, and Jerry. Hell I remember their last names. Mike T, Mike S, and Jerry B.
These were great guys. Mike T was a slick Italian playa, but a nice guy. Mike S had one arm–lost it in a hunting accident. But he had a hook and could operate a fork lift. One of the best you’ll see. Jerry B was older than us (we were all in our twenties, but I was the youngest), probably in his mid-forties…
Where I am now. I remember a conversation I had with him then that has meaning for me now, in the ironic sense. As usual, we were talking about sex. I said, "Well, since you’re old now, you’re not interested in it any more, right? Did you give it up?"
First he scoffs. "Shit!" Then, "I may not fuck as much as I used to, but I fuck more and better and than I ever did, and I enjoy it more."
"Really?" I doubted him–I was 20, banging a 40-year-old. To me at the time, it didn’t get any better than that.
Jerry B was married, been married for a long time. He was a tall, skinny dude with a beard, missing a tooth and finger. He said he hardly fucked his wife any more, because she was such a bitch. He was seeing a few ladies on the side. Little Mike T was going out with a chick in the office. Oh, she was smokin hot. Carla. Bottle blonde, tight jeans, excellent cleavage. And she was sweet as pie. What a sweetheart she was. Mike T called into the office, and had her come out to the warehouse one day. She came out and said, "What?"
She smiled, turned to me, and opened her mouth. Then she proceeded to flick her tongue from side to side–turning it over each time–incredibly fast. Incredibly fast. My jaw dropped open. I might have been in love.
Carla worked during the day, so we didn’t see her much. On second shift, there was one girl in the office, Phyllis. She was a black woman, very nice. She lived in a bad, bad ghetto, which I didn’t know until I went to her house to buy drugs from her husband. But anyway she had a stutter. I mocked her a few times about it–
And she got back at me. I stopped doing it. Sorry, Phyllis.
The other Mike, Mike S –he was a good guy. I did a favor for him. Now, this was about 85 or 86. He had studied and he was prepared, but he had test anxiety. And he was about to take his GED. He paid me to take it instead. Yeah. I’m one of the very few people that has a high school diploma that has taken a GED also. I was only a year or two out of high school, and still intermittently going to college.
They check for ID when you go in. He gave me his wallet with his driver’s license in it. I’m tall, and big, and have brown hair. Mike is shorter, average build. With blond hair. They asked for ID and I quickly produce it without hesitation–I figured that was the key, and looked around with my upper lip drawn in, trying to capture his look.
They let me in, and I took the test for him. He passed. Not only that, but he was in the top ten percent. He paid me twenty bucks and a bag of weed. Today that would have been…fifty bucks and a bag of weed. About a hundred dollars. I was confident that he could have passed, that’s why I did it for him. He was just nervous. I hope he doesn’t regret it–or if he does, I hope he gets closure.
But the reason I even bring this up is because I was thinking about how I got fired from there. I actually worked there twice, and got fired both times. If they had stayed in business long enough, they would have had the chance to hire me and fire me again.
We unloaded trucks, like I said, but on our shift we mostly loaded them. So for a given truck, say 709, we would have a clipboard, filled with tickets. Each ticket was an order, and could be one roll or it could be twenty rolls. Each roll listed individually, with a roll number on a big tag that you could see from twenty feet up on a rack in the warehouse.
So the accuracy relied on two things: The spotter spotting the right rolls, checking them, and marking them off. And the driver picking up the right roll. But it was all in the spotter’s hands, and we even had a stamp and then eventually tickets printed with a place to put the inititals of the spotter and the driver.
This was required because sometimes rolls would be missing, or the wrong roll would be on the truck–which was the same thing: the right roll was missing. Everyone would miss a roll now and then, but it seemed like I was always missing the more than anyone else.
Drivers would get pissed when the roll wasn’t on their truck, because they would have to deal with the customer. Then both of them would come back to Bill Henry, and he would come back to me.
Shit rolls downhill.
The funny thing was, however, that I was working alot of hours–maybe 70 per week. He didn’t pay me shit so overtime was no problem. But when I worked 16 hours on Monday, I did it by myself. And I did load a few trucks by myself during that shift. Usually the two or three straight trucks for the daily city run, the Lowie truck, and a couple of Outer Metros. I would have to spot and load them myself.
I never had any mistakes on those. Never.
So, I don’t know why I had mistakes working with the guys. Were they doing it on purpose? Was I careless with people around? I don’t know. But it got to be too much, and Bill fired me.
After my first brief stint at Domino’s, I went back. I was a little older, married, with a baby. More responsible. Dad said they’d take me back, and I talked to Bill. He said subject to a drug test, I was hired.
Well, I was sure I would pass the drug test, At that point I had been clean for a at least a year. So, how long had it been? I was fired the first time in 86, because that’s when I went to Domino’s. This was now….89? Yeah. About three years had passed.
Upon my return, things are different. We’ve expanded, and moved from this crappy old warehouse to one a couple of blocks away. The offices were still at the old one. It was a nice warehouse that we were leasing from a big grocery store chain. I started on third shift.
This worked out pretty well because The Storm had just started working again after our son was born. I got off at 7am, she went in at 8. I drove home, turned over the car. I took care of the kid, and then went to sleep when she got home. It was a rough six months. Because yeah, that’s how long I lasted.
It was in this place that I got one of my favorite lines that I still use to excess to this day. On third, there was four of us, and a supervisor, and old guy named Vick. I was still the youngest at 24, but the rest were around 30. We all had Walkmans or whathaveyou that we listened to while we worked. We had a sign language and code that we used to communicate. One set of AA batteries would last me a week of practically non-stop play. I had a radio/tape player.
Man, this could eplain why I’m mostly deaf right now.
Anyway, one night I was on the Yale (the favorite forklift), backing out of a trailer. Vick stood clear, then came up and tapped me. I looked at him. I was wearing my headphones. I had it turned down, but he wouldn’t know that. He started telling me, "When you get done with this, put 5812 in that door down there, we need to unload the pad into the nose of 417."
I heard him, but for all he knows, with the headphones on I heard him say, "Listen you sonofabitch, I know my daughter is a whore in a trailer, but that’s no excuse for you to fuck her in the nose for 17 dollars."
I ripped off my headphones and said, "What did you call me?"
He shook his head and walked away.
We needed still more space, and moved the warehouse to a shitty, shitty part of town to an old Famous and Barr warehouse. For you young kids, that’s an old department store chain. This was a vast, giant warehouse. No need to stack stuff up high. We had acres of floor space to run wide open with the fork trucks.
Now again, this was an old, run down fucking place. Still, new house, new rules. Anyone damaging anything with a fork truck would be fired. Guess what happened?
I was backing out of a trailer, not watching behind me. It’s more Feng shui that way; I find it soothing to not know what’s going on behind me. Anyway, I ran into a support I-beam. I did it with the wheels turned, so it was actually a wheel that hit it, and broke a tie-rod on the fork truck. The pole itself was not damaged–that item is important to my defense.
Well, I knew I was fucked. We parked the fork lift. I worked the rest of the night, not saying a word about it. The next night I came in, and Vick was right there waiting for me, to greet me. And fire me. I recall now that I wrote about this before–because I’m sure I wrote about how when I came home and told Linda what happened, I was upset and crying and in need of comfort. She got up and went downstairs. She said, "I can’t be here right now. I have to go think. I need to be alone."
Yeah, cause me getting fired is all about her. Fucking cunt.
How much of this did I tell before? I swear. I write this stuff down so I don’t have to remember it. But if I don’t remember it, am I doomed to repeat it, and write it down again?
So now, many years later, Henry’s is no longer in business. Majik Market is gone, of course. Scooters is over. The only places that remain are the big chains that I worked for, Papa John’s and Steak n Shake. And currently Domino’s.
The reason I went down this memory lane is because I was thinking about…what would I do if I get laid off or fired? I could get fired; that is an all-to-real possibility sometimes. Laid off, too–I work in the extremely volatile mortgage industry, and I’m on the bottom rung.
You should always have a back up plan.
Didn’t get laid but I got in a fight
Oh yeah, it ain’t no big thing…
Well, I didn’t get in a fight. Someone from where Detroit works had a birthday party, a pool party at an apartment complex. I wasn’t thrilled at the prospect.
First of all, it’s July. And then, it’s no one I know, and hardly anyone she knows, just a few that she works with. And then, there was going to be this whole cultural thing going on…
But as it turned out, it rained earlier, so it cooled off. I took a nap and my headache went away. I made a conscious decision that I was going to go and have a good time–or at least pretend to–because I remember…
Going anywhere with The Storm was a chore in the first place, but if it was somewhere she didn’t want to go, it was like pulling teeth–and she didn’t have many left. The ideal situation was a family function on *her* side of the family. If it was on my side, it didn’t count. But even then, she was going to end up being some kind of bitch (I could write a book called, "Varieties of Human Experience: The Myriad Ways To Be A Bitch," based on what I have observed from my ex) and it would somehow be my fault.
And she had no couth or manners, so if she didn’t want to be there, like a fucking child she made it known she didn’t want to be there. Fuck.
You know, as a side note, I’d just like to say that this Thursday is the one year anniversary of my divorce being final.
So I’m going to go, and I’m going to have a good time. Drink a little. Well, we get there, and Detroit and I are the only white people. It could have been awkward, but we did okay. Her friends from work were nice and introduced us to other people, and I was willing to talk to about anyone.
So, if you’re white–
Ever been in a group of people, mostly white, and then there is the one black guy? He’s kind of outgoing, gregarious, and has something funny to say to everyone?
Well, that was me. I figured, the roles were reversed, they were looking to me to be "that guy," so I went ahead and did it. I just said shit, inserting myself into other people’s conversations, made jokes, threatened to take off my shirt for a picture. I had a good time, and enjoyed the …. music.
It was funny to hear the adults listening to their music–old school rap–and yelling at the younger people for the crap they listen to. I should have put on some country for them.
It was Andre’s birthday. Andre’s a woman. She turned just turned 58. She looks like she’s my age, or younger. That’s the thing about black people–most of them, it seems, just don’t age. They look the same from age 14 to age 60. And then…one day they wake up, and they’re old. I don’t know if that’s better than growing old gradually from the day you turn 20.
Drank some Margueritas, ate some fried chicken. Something about black people–they seem to like fried chicken almost as much as I do.
There was music, and some of the younger ones were dancing, and there was a little dance-off contest just like in the movies. Some of the younger (under 30) chicks walking around in bikinis, not caring how much belly rolled out. But they did have back. Yo.
Someone came in from the clubhouse and said a black Mercedes needed to be moved or it would get towed. Well, I parked my Mercedes behind a black one, So I went to check it out. Actually, I parked behind a maroon one, so I was okay. But when I said that–well, I fit in, I was accepted. There were several Mercedes at the party, and mine was one of them. Of course, I don’t have spinners on mine.
I didn’t catch alot of the names. The ones I did catch I think I got wrong. They either spelled them funny, or pronounced them funny. Or both, mostly. One young man had the oddest name. I heard his mother calling to him, "Mike! Michael! Come here."
I was still trying to get the hang of certain things. "I have a what in my what?" I was doing dishes on the other side of the kitchen. I dried my hands off and slid past her to the pizza station. I quickly banged out the pies, then looked around. Nothing else. Back to the dishes.
It was towards the end of the rush, and things had gone smoothly. Before I even got there, I got a call from BS–Blond Sean–who was the nominal manager of the place. He wanted to let me know that even though I had just been hired, I was going to be out of a job soon–Angelina’s was going to close.
As he filled me in, my mind ran down my list of other possibilities. I had option, choices. Hell, this was my "other" second job. My third job. This was not going to make or break me. I hope. But what about him? And his wife? And The Dude? These would be answered later. But I figured right away that my best option might be to go ahead and pick up a couple of driving shifts at Domino’s. That was my first choice anyway.
I arrive in a subdued mood. Not only is the place going to close–imminent gloom ahead–but I’m going to be working with the owner. Generally speaking, owners are all….wound tight. They expect you to be constantly working, or at least moving. Whatever. I’m not getting paid enough to work hard. I’m getting paid to show up and not kill people. Anything extra I do (e.g., work) is a bonus for them.
But I immediately run into Angelina’s namesake, Angie. Cheerful and nice, and cute as hell in her very short jean shorts with smooth, tan legs that went all the way up inside them (I looked). We got right to work, and she appreciated from the get-go my ability to make pizzas. Make them fast. And make them beautiful.
I got many compliments on my pizzas–"We have a supermodel here"–but I gave up long ago on being able to pick up chicks because I made good-looking pies. Like so many of my other skills, it’s not useful in the real world.
Angie was easy to work with, and fun. And she laughed at my material, which is always a plus. But we did have a bit of a falling out. Over mayonnaise.
The previous time I had worked, BS had warned me that the hot sauce used for the wings was a mixture of hot sauce and mayonnaise and something else. I don’t remember. Could be dog turds for all I remember. The point is, it has mayonnaise in it. I hate mayonaisse. I realize now that I hate even typing the word. Mayonaisse. What a stupid, ridiculous, bullshit word for a stupid, ridiculous, bullshit condiment. Mayonaisse.
Anywhosit, Angie accidentally made a sammich instead of a wrap, so we have this sammich, a buffalo chicken sammich. She offers me some. I politely decline with a look of disgust and an upturned lip. I explain how I don’t be likin the mayo. She tries to convince me, to no avail. Repeatedly. She threatens to shove a hotwing in my mouth some day when I’m not looking. It all sounded very sexual to me. I suppose, to be fair, most things do. Not like I wanted to fill her mouth with mayonnaise, or anything like that.
And–you know, I could reasonably go ahead and try mayonnaise, make it part of my menu. But now it’s a matter of principle. I don’t want to try it. I don’t want to like it. I haven’t seen the movie "Titanic" either. It’s been several years; why watch it now? In fact, it’s more a matter of personal pride that I haven’t seen the movie, and I haven’t tried mayonnaise.
But all in all it was a fun night, a good night, and not worth the cash I was paid. Angie felt bad because she thought this was my only job, my last hope–? "Nope. Sista, this isn’t even a second job, it’s a third job. I’m good."
Her and her husband were going to close down Angelina’s, and then reopen it as something else. Instead of frozen custard and pizza it would be… frozen custard and something else. Maybe burgers. But probably not delivery, and no pizza.
Well, my feeling is that it’s a great concept, but the execution is a bit off. The things they do, or they way they want things done for pizza are not entirely logical. I’ve done it for 20 years, so I know what works and what doesn’t. But–not my problem. Plus, they’re doing away with it anyway.
"It seems a shame," Angie said wistfully. "You make really pretty pizzas."
I suppose that will be my mark upon the world. I was hoping for something better.
Then I talk to him a few weeks later, and he has another job. It seems that Blond Sean, our former co-worker, had put in an application at a little restaurant, and based on whom he had worked for previously, they hired him. Who he had worked for previously was my Scott, the owner of Scooter’s, and these people all go way back. Ex-Domino’s Pizza, and so forth.
As I sit here and write this, the question occurs to me that maybe I, too, should have opened a restaurant?
Nah. Who wants to work in a restaurant all their life? Not me.
Based on a good recommendation, Sean gets the job. He happens to be talking to The Dude–helping him with a computer issue–and mentions it. Says they could use a driver. Bam, The Dude gets a job. Blond Sean also hires STP–Sean The Philosopher–another alum from Scooter’s. Blond Sean is essentially hired and promoted to General Manager, and is going to make STP an assistant manager.
STP’s personality is at best difficult, but the normal setting is volatile. After a few days he quits and storms out over a disagreement about the philosophy of tardiness. He stands by his principles. In the meantime, I had been looking for some extra hours and wasn’t necessarily thrilled with the prospect of delivering more. The price of gas plus using the truck instead of Nigel took a deeper bite into my man-sac than I was comfortable with.
I took a meeting with BS, and got a job. As I said, I wanted some hours during the week, and I wanted to keep my weekends free. I’ve worked weekends for twenty mother-fucking years, I think it’s time I had a break. BS said coolio. I did agree to come in on Saturday night–last night–to learn and train and get the idea before I started.
The place is called Angelina’s Pizza. It’s named after one of the bosses, neither of whom I have yet to meet. So, yeah, we have pizza. And frozen custard. Served, I believe, in separate dishes. The menu is actually pizza, pasta, sammiches, and some appetizers, and then a whole range of frozen shit. The whole range of frozen shit I don’t know anything about and maybe never will; that’s the front of the house. I’m in the back of the house, in the kitchen. We have some dine-in, some outdoor seating, a drive-thru, and of course, we deliver.
I walk in the door, and announce my arrival with the standard greeting: "So I jump ship in Hong Kong, and hitch-hike my way across Tibet…" The only people working are BS, his wife Jen, and The Dude. Arriving soon are players to be named later.
I take to the pizzas like a duck takes to insurance–no problem. Sandwiches and the deep fryer–again, no problem. But we get to do something new–or new to me–sautee. I like it. I like having a familiar base (pizza) and something new to learn and hopefully master. It’ll keep it from being boring. The Dude seems genuinely happy to see me, despite our heated political argument just the night before. It’s good to be here.
I learn the ropes as I go, but am mostly making pizzas. BS says this is a typical night business-wise, but more pizza than normal. I said, "Well, it’s because they know I’m here now." And I have no problem handling the pizza business. Jen starts in right away giving me shit as soon as I walked in the door. She’s teasing me, flirting with me. It’s embarrassing the way she just threw herself at me, the way girls do who want to have a threesome with me and their husband. Look, it happens all the time.
But she was giving me shit about making pizzas–trying to babysit me. I explained to her how cute it was that she thought she could show me how to make a pizza. It’s like trying to teach Ernhardt how to drive. Later she fawns over how good my pies look, and wants me to make her one. I won over another fan.
Some chick named Tara was supposed to be there at five, but she didn’t show up until after 5:30. Then Jim shows up. Jim is a guy that BS just recently fired because although Angelina’s has some pretty relaxed policies on some things, a few things they can’t tolerate are tardiness and using heroin in the bathrooms. Jim shows up to talk to Tara…his fiance. Well. Tara summarily resigns and walks out, obviously pressured into doing so by her well-intentioned and forward thinking future husband and current addict.
Jen’s happy because she "gets" to stay longer. But BS is now really happy to have me there. He left me alone in the kitchen for a while to fuck up and learn from my mistakes and fix a few things that I eventually got right–while he handled the soap opera in the front. So this is a pretty small operation. Not alot of people working here. Karl and Johnnie are the two drivers. BS and his wif, one other chick that hasn’t quit yet, and me. The owners are rarely around. BS said he’s going to hire a couple more people. He’s GM and the power is likely to go to his head if it hasn’t already. But that’s fine. I sure as shit don’t want it; I have a job. It’s a laid-back, casual atmosphere here. We seem to have purged the trouble-makers. It should be smooth sailing from here on out. Right? And if not, I can always jump ship. But I’ll ride this until we crash on the rocks.