<HONEA EXPRESS: Quit Giving Me Fucking Popsicles
honeaexpress

It finally happened. Honea Express has moved to greener pastures, or possibly just out to pasture -- you make the call.

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
http://www.whithonea.com/
Please pardon the dust and update your feed readers accordingly. Thank you - Whit

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Quit Giving Me Fucking Popsicles

This story is for Anthony

Back when I worked at the Place That Must Not Be Named, I had many buttons ripe for pushing, and that is just what happened. My buttons were tweaked, twisted, and pinched like the Braille on a sow's underbelly. I was angry, and my buttons were red and tender.

I tended bar, usually, but there were other shifts that I handled as well. For instance, every Saturday night I took over the front of the kitchen. I was responsible for ensuring quality of product and service. I was the liaison between the cooks and the servers.

Your server, that was running around like a chicken with it's yada, yada, yada, well they only had 4 tables. I had every table in the restaurant. Basically, so as not to make it sound more important than it actually was, I was the captain on a ship of fools- rising up to hear the bells and bugle trills that were the demands of your order and frankly, the bane of my existence. Tempers ran high.

There was a cook there, briefly in the big picture, but forever when you stood there waiting for a new batch of gravy, that, on a good day, could be the poster child for meth. He barely had a hold on his surroundings, and his teeth had a grasp even lighter. You could see the nerves stretching like bungee cords between tooth and gum. His tongue paced behind the sparse teeth, looking like a prisoner in a jail of slack jawed mumblings. He was terrible at his job.

I walked a line roughly 20 feet wide, with this cook being on the far end, separated from me by heated shelves and 14 years of education. Of course, who was I to point fingers? I was way too old to be doing what I was doing, still, the cook was older.

One night, like every night, he was bringing the restaurant to it's knees by doubling the time and texture of every item he was responsible for, the least of which being corn dogs. My four-year-old could heat up a corn dog (but I don't let him). This night, with the time for food to be served dragging over 30 minutes, I could feel my frustration rising. I had been running in place for nearly six hours, and more pressure than anyone in a kitchen should ever feel was upon me.

I must have had him make five or six new corn dogs in a 10 minute period. Servers were yelling, other cooks were yelling, this cook, this dipshit that couldn't cook a damn corn dog, was screaming obscenities and threats. His tooth was mocking me.

To this point I had remained stoic. I was the captain after all, and I needed my people to feed off the calm I carried. Yet, inside I was boiling. The tooth, that damn tooth, I swear it winked at me just as I was handed, literally, another frozen corn dog with the tiniest of childlike attempts engraved in the rock-hard batter. I broke.

I hurled that frozen corn dog twenty feet, past trays and heads and glasses of beer. I threw it long and I threw it hard. My aim was true. Time stopped as every face turned to watch this weapon of frustration fly cleanly between shelves and straight at the cook, surely clutching in it's frozen batter his very doom.

"Quit giving me fucking popsicles!" I yelled. I yelled louder than the dipshit and the fools, louder than the cooks and the servers, and still louder than the throngs of the unhappy that filled the restaurant.

The cook fell backwards towards the fryer. His tooth held on for dear life. I turned and walked out of the kitchen, past the sad kids and cold plates, straight out the door and to my car. I had been working the job for six years and hated most of them. I got in my car, told myself that I was through and prepared to drive away, forever.

My car wouldn't start. I got out of it, cursed the wind, put on my hat and apron and walked back inside to right the ship. I stayed there until we closed that night, and I stayed there for two years after.

Labels: , , , ,