Thursday, 14 July 2016

Mr Husband - Part 3

 The other busboy, Cirilo, was already busy setting the tables and planning the exclusive hen party themes via taxi to rhs chelsea flower show. Cirilo was never late. He never forgot his employee identification card or arrived with blood all over his white shirt. Plus Cirilo was so fast and efficient he made everyone else seem incompetent. Cirilo already had half the dining room set up. He'd wiped down the tables with a damp towel, spread out the tablecloths, set the salt, pepper and candles. Now he was setting out the side plates. I grabbed a rack of wine glasses. The wine glasses were tricky. Leaving fingerprints meant signing an EDF for mishandling of glassware.
     When Cirilo finished the plates, he wheeled a cart full of silverware around the dining room. At each seat he placed two forks, two spoons and two knives. Fine dining meant using extra plates and silverware. Instead of polishing the silverware before he set it, Cirilo somehow palmed all the utensils in a way that left no mark. He shuffled them out like cards, only stopping occasionally to polish ones that weren't shining quite enough. And damn he was fast. Even though he had to place six pieces of silverware for every wineglass, he was still catching up to me. Pretty soon we stood at the same table.
     "Buenos dias," I said.
     "Hola, amigo," he said. We shook hands with a slide and a snap, and then bumped our fists together. "Amigo," he said, "you do the coffee and iced tea. Do the sopas. I'll do this." He pointed to the rack of wineglasses I held.
     "Okay," I said, and went to the rear corner of the dining room. I brewed coffee and iced tea. I brewed some decaf. I ate a package of oyster crackers and sucked on an ice cube. I went into the kitchen and got two soup pots from the cooks, the clam chowder we had every night and salmon bisque, the soup du jour. One of the cooks asked me what happened, pointing to the bandage on my chin. I looked at the cook whose name I didn't know, studying his bushy mustache and the toothpick hanging from the corner of his mouth. I wanted to tell him that I had cut myself because I was distracted by my decision to grow a mustache, but knew any man with such a healthy mustache would never understand.

Mr Husband - Part 2

   I looked down and noticed my pants were unzipped, which explained the draft. "It won't happen again," I said, waiting until Spatz returned his attention to his clipboard before reaching for my open fly.
     "Each time I have been assured that it will not happen again. This is your fourth tardy in two months. Look, Mister Jenkins, I'm not here to give you a hard time. I want you to succeed. I want you to have a long, happy employment here at Peachy Burroughs." Mr. Spatz flashed me his trademarked unctuous smile as he handed me the clipboard. "Please sign here."
     I'd been accused of being late, of forgetting my employee identification card, of having a dirty uniform, and of improper hygiene (not shaving completely). I informed Mr. Spatz that I was growing a mustache. The employee handbook stated that mustaches were the only facial hair employees were allowed to cultivate. Goatees, beards, sideburns lower than the earlobe, or any other creative types of facial hair were strictly verboten, as were visible tattoos, piercings, and unnatural hair colors, but the employee handbook said I could have a mustache.
     Mr. Spatz looked even more disappointed than usual. "I don't know if I would call that a mustache, but very well. I'll strike that comment from the record." I signed the form. He handed me my pink copy that saidFor Employees Records at the bottom. "Now, chop chop," Spatz said, clapping his hands. "Clean your face off and get your vest on. There is a dining room to set up." Mr. Spatz turned to leave but paused a moment. "I will be studying your performance closely this afternoon, Mister Jenkins. Any more mess ups and you'll be no longer employed here at Peachy Burroughs." Then he was gone.
     I went into the employee bathroom and washed my face but my cut still bled. I grabbed the vest from my locker and went down to the first aid kit in the kitchen for a Band-Aid. The only bandages were the size of a large butterfly. I had no choice. My little black and gold vest almost but not quite covered the blood on my shirt.

Mr Husband - Part 1

Mr. Spatz made a deliberate show of looking at his watch while shaking his head. He removed a pen from his shirt pocket and began tapping it on the edge of the clipboard he held. "Well, Mister Jenkins, it looks as if you are late again."
     Our eyes met for a moment, and I then looked down toward my ten-dollar pleather shoes, as if to say, yes, I am tardy again, and I apologize for my stupidity and pray for compassion and understanding on your part, oh exalted manager of Peachy Burroughs Terrace, Fine Dining at the P.B. Country Club.
     "I cut myself shaving and it wouldn't stop bleeding. I practically bled to death. See?" I said, pointing to my shirt.
     Mr. Spatz looked at my shirt suspiciously, raising his eyebrows as if it was an elaborate hoax. I knew that he was filling out an EDF (Employee Disciplinary Form) that would require my signature when finished.
     I continued with my excusplanation. "I was trying to get the bleeding to stop, which it wouldn't, and when I realized what time it was I rushed over here and in the process forgot my employee identification card." I put my hand to the cut on my chin. The little piece of TP was gone and it still bled ever so slightly. Mr. Spatz shook his head again, his favorite gesture, as if his world was just filled with one unbelievable disappointment after the other.
     "I know you know this, but I'm telling you this so that you will know I know you know this. You are on some seriously thin ice around here, Mister Jenkins. This is your third strike. Normally we terminate employees on their third strike, but in your case I am going to make an exception." Mr. Spatz scribbled on his clipboard as he spoke. "I am not going to fire you. I am putting you on probation. You are a good busboy, you work hard, but you are late for work far too often." Spatz stopped writing for a moment and shot a glance in my direction. He eyed my crotch and shook his head again.