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Thursday, May 30, 2013

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 moving.  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 a 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 geetting 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.”

20 comments:

haphazardlife said...

These stories totally remind me of the unfortunately short lived show, "Party Down".

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
Oh Pearl, I had to steer clear of the dentistry, it was all too much for me.

Epicurean teasery, albeit purely verbal imagery, is much preferred!!!

A post well done. YAM xx

Shelly said...

All in all, productive evening, including the spontaneous betrothal. Hunger'll do that to you-

Nessa Locke said...

Those wedding events always put me in the mood for love and barbecue. I think it was a good trade.

Jocelyn said...

I'm pretty sure I'd propose to anyone I saw chomping into ribs with great gusto, too. Excellent character recommendation, that.

Also: Nye's. Good times.

Plus, finally: Fistful of Spinach Dip should be the title of your next book.

Simply Suthern said...

Maybe there should be a spinoff of "Wedding Crashers" starring you and Mary. "Wedding Crashers 2, Feed the Help"

Pearl said...

:-) Fun is where you find it, and it's always at Nye's.

Also? "Fistful of Spinach Dip" would be an excellent title for the Mary and Pearl Will Work for Cash book...

sage said...

I should have waited till after lunch to read this... I'm wanting ribs and have salad...

jenny_o said...

There's going to be a Mary and Pearl Will Work for Cash book? Called "Fistful of Spinach Dip"?

Be still, my heart! Sold, on the spot. I hope it's not just a rumour :)

jabblog said...

Better to serve on an empty stomach than a full one, I think. Can't bear the sight and smell of food when I'm not hungry . . .

Sioux said...

Pearl--When I was a server, I ate a lot of customers' food. They only ate part of the steak? Cut a hunk off the other end...

Oh, those were the days...

Gigi said...

I have a good feeling about Mary and her new betrothed and I have a feeling that Mary's husband will NOT have a good feeling about that.

Diane Tolley said...

Yep. When you can fit serving, cleaning, eating and betrothal into one evening, you are well and truly prepared for marriage! Better not tell John . . .

Christian at Point Counter-Point Point Point said...

The show "Party Down" was also my first thought when reading this. If you are not familiar with it you should check it out. Every friend I have that has ever worked in catering loves that show.

HermanTurnip said...

When I attending any catered function, I make it my duty to keep the DJ stocked up on rum & cokes. After a while they begin to loosen up and play some more of their eclectic offerings. Always makes for a fun evening!

Daisy said...

All in a day's work! :D And now I'm hungry.

Kymbo Whitford said...

Have you not considered changing clothes and joining the party...after a few drinks Im sure no one would notice

Linda O'Connell said...

You two are dangerous together...a fistful of spinach dip HA HA.

River said...

I've never worked a catered party (although I've attended a couple), if I was hungry and staring at a platter of cheese cubes I'd have to Taste test at least one or tow before moving over to another platter.

Joan said...

Now I'm thinking of Special K Bars. :)