I put my index finger in front of my lips and shushed Thomas as I briefly held the phone away from my mouth and informed him that this was an important call.
He was trying to get my attention because Tim had made a debut at the club bright and early today. I hastily grabbed Tim a Bud Light out of the beer cooler and mouthed an apology to him.
“Hi, yes,” I said into my phone. “I’m calling because, well, I don’t like to complain but I purchased the confetti cake mix and the double chocolate fudge cake mix yesterday. I was really excited to bake one or both of them as soon as I got home but discovered that the icing was not included.”
The lady kindly informed me that this is labeled on the box.
“Ma’am, I’m illiterate.” Silence. “Anyway, I know it’s not your fault Brenda but as a woman on day two of her period, this was devastating news to me. I’m sure you can relate.”
Her name was not Brenda but she sounded like a Brenda, so I called that bitch Brenda.
Let me tell y’all, she is Mother Teresa. She promptly emailed me a coupon for my next purchase.
“Gosh, what a sweet lady she is,” I said aloud as I ended my phone call with Brenda the Good Witch.
Thomas blinked at me. “Who was that?”
“Betty Crocker corporate, obviously.”
“Are you serious?”
“Until you have a uterus, do not judge me, Thomas.” I pursed my lips at him and then held up a bottle of Tuaca, suggesting shot time to Tim. Thomas shook his head before I could ask if he wanted to partake and paid attention to the TV instead. He wasn’t much of one to drink first thing in the morning but Tim was always down. Tuaca wasn’t my shot of choice either but I always had room for one or two when Tim was in the house.
“Oh, Forest’s working today? Great. Everybody’s gonna get wasted,” a waitress named Lindsey, or something, declared as she casually leaned on the bar.
She typically worked Richard’s day shifts but, for whatever reason, was working today. I only knew who she was because I was the bartender on her very first day a couple of months ago.
She seemed like a pretty solid chick but since I had never actually worked a real shift with her, there was no guarantee that she wasn’t the biggest fucking imbecile that ever lived on the face of the planet.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
People claim that they always get the most inebriated when they are in my presence, whether I’m working or not. I say they are foolish for trying to hang with me for one, and two — have some self-control, ya rookie.
“Bitch, please. I heard you down half a bottle of Jameson a shift like you gettin’ paid to do it.” She playfully rolled her eyes.
This silly girl. She doesn’t know about the art of the fake shot.
“Technically, I am getting paid for it because I ain’t paying for those shots and on top of that, I get tipped on the ones people buy for me.” I defended myself. “Anyway, I’m not drinking until later this afternoon because I’m responsible.”
“You already had a shot.” Thomas pointed out.
“Shut up, Thomas,” I said as I turned to the Red Bull cooler to retrieve the sugar-free elixir of life.
“What’s up girl!” the familiar voice of Stella came from behind me.
I hastily shut the cooler door and made my way over to her for a hug.
She was a day shift girl like me and just about every shift I worked, Stella was there too. Stella was hands down my favorite dancer. We always had fun together when we were at work. She was often an eye-witness of catastrophes inflicted by me and other miscellaneous shenanigans.
Oftentimes she participated in the debauchery whether it was directly or indirectly.
My jacket got caught in the cooler door as I walked her way and I quickly yanked it out.
I heard a crash behind me and whipped around only to see — in slow motion — a domino effect of liquor bottles tumbling to the floor.
A bottle on top of the cooler had tipped over and, with my reckless door shutting abilities mixed with my snagged jacket, it managed to take down every civilian bottle in its way.
They crashed on the floor one by one.
When the fiasco finally ended and all bottles shattered to pieces, I slowly turned to Thomas who had his face buried in his hands.
I turned the other way, looking at Stella, and had to divert eye contact almost immediately because we had both formed shit grins on our faces. I didn’t know what else to do at that point other than laugh. Stella mumbled something about going for a smoke as she took off from the awkwardness that was my life. I can’t say I blame her.
“Damn,” I managed to whisper to Thomas before promptly turning around to use some serious mental and physical strength to rid my face of its nervous smirk and pull myself together. It’s not that I thought it was funny — well, it kind of was, it’s just that when I’m in an uncomfortable situation I tend to laugh. I processed the catastrophe on the floor behind the bar and could hardly breathe because the smell of alcohol was so strong. Everyone around the bar awkwardly cleared out after trying to pretend like they hadn’t noticed anything so, I just did the exact same thing.
“Smooth.” Tim welcomed me to the smoking patio.
“Yo!” I finally was able to release my laughter. Tim offered me a cigarette and then lit it for me like a gentleman. “I cannot believe I just did that shit.” I was uncontrollably laughing now. “Holy shit,” I tried to catch my breath as tears streamed down my cheeks.
“How many bottles did you break?” Stella giggled. I held up five fingers.
“Could be worse.” Tim shrugged.
I slowly added my other thumb, forming six, and offered a sheepish smile.
“That’s my girl!” The two of them snickered.
“Luckily, I’ve only had one shot today. I know that’s the first thing Dick is gonna say … ‘How drunk was she?’” I mimicked his voice.
“Forest.” Thomas popped his head out the door and then quickly disappeared back inside.
This was my cue to get back behind the bar. I bid the pair farewell as I made my return to the danger zone and they promised to come back to the bar once they finished their smokes.
Lindsey or Laura or Lola, whatever the waitress’s name was, urgently called me over to the bar where she had been waiting to place an order.
“Archduke Ferdinand’s here. I need an Archduke Ferdinand set up. Fast!” she pressed.
Aw, shit. I halted my entire life’s existence to cater to the woman’s needs.
Whipping myself around the bar at lightning speed as I began to concoct the now memorized order.
Archduke Ferdinand was kind of a big deal.
As she scurried away, Stella and Tim strolled past her and made their way back to the bar. Tim offered to buy everyone a shot. I skeptically glanced over at Thomas for approval.
“I need one too,” he sighed. After we took the shots, I asked Thomas what the hell the waitress’s name was.
“No, it starts with an ‘L’ I’m pretty sure,” I said.
“It’s Laura,” Tim chimed in.
“No, it’s not.” Stella giggled. “Her name is Carmen.”
Thomas made his way behind the bar so that we could make a tab to account for all of that spilled liquor. Since there was no way to tell how much alcohol was in each broken bottle, we just rang up everything as if each bottle were almost full.
I tried to hide my giggles as the tab got longer and longer and I almost lost all control when I printed it out and it was half the length of my body.
A few minutes later when Thomas seemed to be feeling a little better, I commented on his speedy cleaning skills. I worked my charm and got him laughing in no time.
On top of my need to smooth things over with him, I also really wanted to take a picture with the epic spill tab.