Doomed

“Fluvio wants you,” Maria, the busgirl, shouts.

“Tell him I didn’t do it whatever it is,” I shout over the din, frantically trying to assemble ten cappuccinos.

“He wants to know why your table outside’s pissed off,” Maria continues.

“What?”

“They said you’re a horrible waiter,” Maria giggles. She loves seeing me in trouble.

“Christ. What now?” I moan heading towards the front.

“Boloni you screwed up the table,” Fluvio barks as I arrive at the hostess stand.

“What happened?” I ask.

“The man wanted a chocolate torte and you gave him an apple pie.”

“My bad,” I say, “I’m so busy I had a busgirl run the dessert out. I must’ve handed her the wrong plate.”

In my peripheral vision I see my ten top wondering where their cappuccinos have disappeared to.

“The guy says you’ve been screwing up his table all night,” Fluvio presses.

“That’s bullshit.”

“His date wanted a half order of pasta and you gave her a full order!”

“She ordered a full portion.”

“She says no.”

“It’s right here on the pad man,” I say showing Fluvio my ticket book.

“Whatever. We’ll charge her for a half portion anyway,” Fluvio grunts.

“Fine.”

I head out onto the veranda to smooth things over. When I get to the table the lady starts in on me immediately.

“I ordered a half portion,” she says.

“I’m sorry madam. I must’ve misheard you,” I reply.

“Didn’t you write it down?” she sniffs.

“Yes, I wrote down what I heard,” I say politely.

“Well I’m right and you’re wrong,” she bitches reaching for her fourth chardonnay.

This lady’s a semi regular customer. She’s a well known attorney. Being right all the time is part of her DNA. It’s a shame aging gracefully isn’t. I’ve being watching this woman slowly disintegrate for years. She used to be pretty. But the demons of drink and a high powered lifestyle have exacted their Faustian toll.

“My apologies madam,” I say.

“Whatever,” she sighs dismissively.

Not to be outdone her date, another attorney says, “And my espresso’s cold!” This guy’s had five scotch and sodas.

“Let me get you another sir.”

“And why did you send me an apple pie when I wanted chocolate cake?” he asks. I feel like I’m on the witness stand.

“A simple mistake sir. Easily fixed,” I say soothingly.

“You’re incompetent.”

The real incompetent is the doctor who did this guy’s hair transplant. I decide to keep that observation to myself.

“I’m sorry,” I repeat for the umpteenth time.

“You’ve ruined my entire evening,” Bad Hair pouts.

I’m a little waiter in a little bistro. I wrecked this high powered lawyer’s night. I never realized I wielded such power.

“Desserts on us,” I say. I need to shut these guys down. I have other table waiting.

“Take this,” Bad Hair says shoving his espresso towards me.

“Yes sir.”

I run inside and make the man another espresso. My ten top yells. “Where are our cappuccinos?”

“Coming right up!” I shout back.

I place Bad Hair’s demitasse on the table. He pretends not too see me.

I’m pissed. I don’t like being called incompetent. My mind races with devilish schemes of revenge. But then I look at Bad Hair. His face is pockmarked and the flesh of his nose is starting to spider with busted capillaries. I don’t need to do a thing.

Life’s punishing him far better than I ever could.

I bang out my ten top’s caps and try and catch up on my tables. Through the window I see Bad Hair signaling for his check.

When I deliver the bill he hands me two credit cards. “Spilt it,” he says.

Way to go studly. Make the lady pay for her share.

At the credit card terminal Louis is busying processing a mound of checks.

“Those assholes giving you a hard time?” he asks.

“Nothing I can’t handle,” I reply.

“They’re quite a pair,” he observes.

“They deserve each other.”

“I guess.”

“Those two have been dating for years but they always split the check. What’s that about?” I wonder aloud.

“They split the check so they can submit the charges as a business expense,” Louis says.

“So they’ve been eating here, for years, on the company dime?” I reply.

“Well – they are lawyers.”

“True.”

I return to the outside table. They sign the receipts and get up to leave. I sneak a peek at the checkbook. 16%. It could’ve been worse.

As the legal eagles start walking down the street the woman looks at me over her shoulder.

“I was right about the pasta,” she says drunkenly.

She just can’t let it go. Maybe that’s why she’s such a good lawyer. Maybe it’s why she seems so miserable. A person’s greatest strength is always their greatest weakness.

Silence seems the best response.

I watch the couple walk down the avenue. I notice they don’t hold hands. They keep a healthy distance between each other. The woman’s heel catches a crack on the pavement and she stumbles slightly. Her date makes no effort to steady her.

I shake my head and go back inside the bistro.

Those two are doomed.


Comments

Doomed — 14 Comments

  1. At first I thought you were fired. That would’ve been awful news. Damn, “some” lawyers make a bad name for their brethren. Some other lawyers make up for their nasty counterparts. Luckily, I’ve run into more “nice” lawyers than these you’ve described. Such a sad, sorry taste in my mouth after that story. I’m sorry you had to deal with them, truely. No good will come of their nastiness. Only a sad, bitter, yes, doomed existence. Ugh. Meanwhile I’m writing my novel about two people who do love each other. Yes, sometimes we do love without greed, avarice or malice or whatever. I don’t think either of these two would know that kind of love if it came up and bit them on the ass, excuse the expression. Keep your good standards up, Waiter and know that the majority appreciates your high standards. :)

    ((((((((Waiter))))))))) hugs

  2. You have real clarity and an eyefor detail. As a former waitress and exotic dancer, I love to see others in the service industries with high intellect. Keep up the good work.

  3. Just discovered you… great post and great fun. Love the advice “Balance out your karma. Leave a tip.”

    You’ve reminded me of my favorite waiter of all time, Sergio. We discovered him on “Girls Night Out” in 1992 and followed him from restaurant to restaurant for years. Probably responsible for getting him fired from a couple because he would rather talk to us than take care of others. We would wait for his table for an hour rather that take earlier service from someone else. In those days I couldn’t afford much, but he still got 25% just because he was worth it. These days I rarely find that type of service even in the better restaurants I can now afford, but always feel it’s good to tip well just because they may need it more than I do… unless it’s someone with really bad “you owe me” attitude. Look forward to visiting again soon.

  4. Trust me: I feel your pain. It’s all in a night’s work.
    My Saturday was a ten hour double that ended with people grabbing my elbows and demanding IMMEDIATE coffee and dessert with plates still on the table. Theater district can be rough, especially on metered timing.
    Another poor waitress caught worse that night than I did tho’: 160 dollar credit slip came back with a circled “0″ under the tip with the following friendly message penned on the back: “The service sucked and the food was worse! Here’s a tip, Get Out of the Business!”
    As we pool, joke’s on me too.

  5. That is just wrong. Your manager shouldn’t let people get away with that. He gets part of the blame as far as I am concerned.

  6. Bleh…I have the same problem she has. I always need to be right.

    But I can admit when I’m not. I’ll fight tooth and nail to prove I’m right, even when it’s blatantly not in my best interest, but if you show me proof, I’ll apologize and shut right up.

  7. Steve,

    impressed with your Faustus reference.
    I notice you often pepper your blog with Shakespeare. I know you’re a lit guy, but were you ever into theatre? Or an actor? Just curious.

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