No Mas Shakira!

It’s 3 o’clock. I step inside the Bistro to work my 300th Saturday night. Carrying my dry cleaned uniform over my shoulder I walk around and start saying my hellos.

“Hi Maria,” I call out to one of the busgirls. “How’s your daughter?”

“She went to the dentist today,” Maria replies. “Dios mio!”

“That good huh?”

“She screamed the entire time.”

“Poor baby.”

“Whatcha gonna do?” Maria says, shrugging.

“At least she’s too young for root canals and crowns,” I say.

“Man,” Maria says, “I’ve got to get one of those.”

“Ouch.”

“Tell me about it,” Maria says, walking away.

“Hey Yeva,” I say, nodding at the new hostess.

Yeva doesn’t respond. She’s too busy shouting rapid fire Hebrew into her cell phone. I don’t know the lingo but some things need no translation – her boyfriend’s getting a tongue lashing. I leave Yeva to her relationship drama, clock in, hang up my black and whites, and head inside the kitchen.

“Como estan ustedes amigos!” I call out. A chorus of rough hewn voices responds.

“Cabron!”

“Maricón!”

“Pendejo!”

Ah – kitchen guys. You gotta love ‘em.

“Nice to see you too,” I say, flipping them all the bird. “Don’t fuck up tonight.”

“Culero!”

“Puta!”

Don’t be alarmed. This is what passes for kitchen/waitstaff repartee.

“It’s a miracle you guys haven’t poisoned a customer yet,” I shout. “And start cursing in English!”

“Fuckface!”

“Bitch!”

OK. So they can curse in English. My bad.

I notice Eduardo, our young dishwasher, isn’t saying anything. He’s keeping to himself, busily scraping food off dishes. He looks sullen and upset. Not an unusual state of affairs for an eighteen year old.

“Eduardo,” I ask. What’s up?”

“Nothing,” he says.

“C’mon Eduardo,” I say. “You look like someone ran over your cat. What’s up?”

“The CD player’s broken,” Eduardo says. “No mas Shakira.”

I look at Armando, the chef. “Is what he saying true?” I ask.

“Yeah,” Armando says. “All that playing Shakira over and over broke the fucking thing.”

I fold my hands prayerfully together and gaze heavenward. “Thank you God!” I murmur. “No more Shakira! Thank you!”

Eduardo looks hurt.

“Don’t worry Eduardo,” I say consolingly. “You guys’ll get another CD player.”

Eduardo stares at me. He doesn’t understand. Armando translates. Eduardo shrugs and goes back to work.

“A radio can’t last long in here,” Armando says. “Not with all the heat and shit flying around.”

A thought hits me.

“The CD player didn’t break Armando,” I say.

“What happened then?” Armando asks.

I look at the grease encrusted radio in the corner. It must’ve played Hips Don’t Lie ten thousand times.

“It committed suicide.”


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