I've contributed to perhaps the best humor compilation I've ever read. Available now on Amazon!

My second chapbook, "The Second Book of Pearl: The Cats" is now available as either a paper chapbook or as a downloadable item. See below for the Pay Pal link or click on its cover just to the right of the newest blog post to download to your Kindle, iPad, or Nook. Just $3.99 for inspired tales of gin, gambling addiction and inter-feline betrayal.

My first chapbook, I Was Raised to be A Lert is in its third printing and is available both via the PayPal link below and on smashwords! Order one? Download one? It's all for you, baby!

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Secret Life of the Servers, or May I Lick Your Plate, Sir?


We are standing behind the buffet table.

We've a job to do, dagnabit.  It is 7:30 on a Friday night, and we are working a wedding rehearsal dinner in the basement of Nye’s.  Black-pantsed and white-shirted, we smile at the crowd of happy people collected. 

Starched and pony-tailed, we are a vision of servitude. 

We have also forgotten to eat before work.

The food calls us to in a seductive – nay, wanton – display of epicurean teasery.  I am relatively sure that I can hear my stomach growl above the noise of a room with an open bar.

“I will give you five dollars for one of those pieces of cheese,” Mary whispers at me, lips scarcely.  I nod and smile, hands clasped behind my back.

“And I,” I whisper, through the smile I keep on my face for these occasions, “will give you five dollars for one of those Special K bars over on the dessert table.”

We sigh.

“What about the spinach dip?” Mary whispers.  “What’ll you give me for fistful of spinach dip?”

Purloining bits of food while on the job, of course, is a no-no. 

It doesn’t stop us from talking about it.

“Do you think,” Mary whispers, “that if I were to, say, feign a seizure of some sort, that it would provide enough of a distraction for you to pocket a couple of those ribs?”

“I think that’s a brilliant idea,” I whisper, nodding at the bride and groom.  “Let’s do that.”

Mary sighs.  “We’re not going to do it, are we?”

I shake my head slightly.  “No,” I say, “but I shall fantasize about it for the next few hours.”

By 10:30, the wedding party has departed and we are running mostly-empty platters back upstairs, to the delight of the waitresses and kitchen staff milling about in hopes of snatching a bite or two.  I leave Mary to struggle with getting things to the dishwasher as I run back down to pull the remaining tablecloths and blow out the candles.

When I return, she is surrounded.  There is a slight smear of barbecue sauce on her lips.

“ – and I can count to ten, but that’s about it,” she’s saying.  She spies me.  “Hey!  Pearl!  While you were gone I got engaged!”

I look around the tight quarters.  There are three men and two women grinning at her.

“We getting married,” one of the men says, “Ees love!”

I clap him on the back on my way to the spinach dip. “I hope you two will be very happy together,” I say.

The statement is translated to the room, and they erupt in laughter.

Mary grins.  “We done here?”

“Yep,” I say, dipping a piece of bread into the remaining spinach dip.  “We served, we cleaned, and one of us is betrothed to a man she just met."  I stuff the bread in my mouth.  "Our job here is done.”

34 comments:

Simply Suthern said...

Who needs Match.com with jobs like that?

Buttons said...

Oh now I know the secret to getting a good man. The stomach is the path to the heart.
This job sounds fullfilling, deeminging yet horribly interesting:)
I know I have done it. Never got married though have dumped things in pinching butt laps though:) B

Candy's daily Dandy said...

My son is a bus boy at a restaurant. He tells me that no matter how much he eats before he goes to work, he still longs for the fine, untouched foods he clears from tables.

Hazard of the job.

Shelly said...

Spinach dip and an engagement? Sounds like a noche grande~

Scarlet Blue said...

I feel like I ought to be fixing you a packed lunch before you go to work... I can't work on an empty stomach.
Sx

Leenie said...

Wills of steel, Mary and Pearl. Also a good example of how extreme hunger (so hungry the gas you pass is fresh air) can lead to foolish promises to French waiters. I'll keep that in mind next time I go out for foie gras.

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

Just another day in the black pants. Leftovers and fake marriages.

Sausage said...

I know the feeling, I worked as a busboy and behind the bar at La Vale de Loire a French restaurant when in high school. It was there at La Val where my love for French food,ladies, wine, and beer was developed especially when sneaking a plate of beef burgignone under the bar washed down with a pint of Kronenbourg. All this under the guise of work, hey a growing lad has to eat and drink..

bill lisleman said...

serving food while hungry - what torture.
So the lesson here is starve a woman until she agrees to marriage?

Vapid Vixen said...

I never understood the white shirt uniform for servers. Was I the only one who always ended up with a variety of colored stains by the end of the night?

Joanne Noragon said...

Spinach dip, ribs,cheese cubes and tight quarters. Doesn't take much in cold climates.

Eva Gallant said...

NOW I'm hungry for some ribs and spinach dip!!!

esbboston said...

Servo'd, Cleano'd, Conquero'd

Twisted Scottish Bastard said...

I'm surprised the management didn't arrange to feed you before service started.

TexWisGirl said...

too funny. :)

sage said...

I'm not hungry... Great story, I hope their hunger for each other last longer than the hunger of their stomachs that was satisfied as they cleaned.

jabblog said...

The servers are so often overlooked and it's wrong. Like the musicians who play to (mostly) deaf audiences - I applaud you and all of your co-workers (or is that condescending??)
There's been many a time I've wanted to eat the left-overs . . .

Indigo Roth said...

Hey Pearl! I know the feeling; right now, I'd saw my own leg off for a pizza. What's that ou say? I can just pick up the photo and order one? Oh. Well, that seems simpler. Indigo x

Linda Sue said...

HAHA what Leenie said! By the way, I will give you five dollars to come over here and serve me a handful of dip...

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

Pearl's friend Mary. My superhero.
Incidentally, because of you two, i can no longer wear black pants with my white shirt into the office. I'm afraid someone will ask me to serve food.

Ms Sparrow said...

Gee, a piece of bread after a night of running yourself ragged doesn't seem like much of a reward!

jenny_o said...

Your titles are always worth another look after reading your post... or is it just that my memory is so bad I need to re-read it? Whatever, your titles rule :)

Paula Wooters said...

And they lived happily ever after....

Gigi said...

*drool* sorry you lost me at spinach dip.

Stephen Hayes said...

Yep--sounds like a productive evening.

Elsie said...

I'd never survive, I'd be drooling into the plates before the night was over.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'd never be able to keep from eating the tidbits. Just wouldn't happen.

Cloudia said...

is that the night Mitt made the 47% remark? Did YOU secretly record it??!!

BTW, masterful ending.

Aloha from Honolulu,
Wishing YOU the Best
Comfort Spiral
=^..^=

> < } } ( ° >

Rose L said...

I think I would have been trying to find the sneakiest ways to get a taste of the food. Maybe say that you are the official food taster to check for poison. Or have an apron with plastic lined pockets and make a lot of trips to the kitchen area to eat what had "slipped" into them.

The Elephant's Child said...

Loud smiles here. Thank you.

Geo. said...

I've read this three times now and each reading sends me back to the fridge. That's fun. But encountering a perfect focal point to an already excellent anecdote --“We getting married,” one of the men says, “Ees love!” That's a privilege. Thanks.

Lynn said...

Oh - I have so been there. I'm glad you got your mouthful of spinach dip. :)

Linda O'Connell said...

A server at the casino was fired for eating a strip of bacon destined for the trash can. They toss the food between meal shifts. Sad. But glad you got a smear of spinach dip.

Jocelyn said...

I so love that you bring us into the room with you two.