Tick… Tick… Tick… (Fifteen more seconds to freedom!)
Keys in hand, the manager approaches the door. Tick… Tick… Tick… (Ten more seconds to freedom!)
I hear voices. Is that a customer? Oh, no!
Oh, my God, is he is going to sit at the bar? The dark bar? The very obviously closed bar? The bar where the bartender has her pocketbook on her shoulder and her drawer in her hand? You bet he is. Why? Why? Why? Because that’s just the way it goes, that’s why.
He apologizes. He will be quick. Oh, my God! I just want to go home. I am cleaned up and finished. I have not had a customer in an HOUR. An HOUR! Kill me now! I put the drawer back and my pocketbook down. Whomp-whomp-wah.
The servers still have tables. Why didn’t he sit over there? Why? Why? Why? Because I must have been a very bad person in a past life, that’s why.
He orders. He did know what he wanted, I’ll give him that. Guys like him, the “ten seconds to close guys” (and, yes, it is ALWAYS a man), normally only SAY that they know what they want and then force me to read them the menu, make recommendations, blah, blah, blah. This guy was actually true to his word. Still.
In what may just be record time — and I have been doing this for a long time, don’t forget — I bring him a drink, some bread, and his salad. Ready. Set. Eat!
He wants to talk. He begins to throw names around, manager’s names, people he knows in corporate. That’s nice. I don’t care. Is he doing this to let me know that I should continue to be nice to him? I’ve been nice. Very nice. He is very nice, too. Still, we are closed. Please just eat your salad, Mother Teresa. I am going to go and check on your steak. I will cook it if I have to.
Just another minute. Tick… Tick… Tick…
Yes, The Mets lost. Again. No, I do not think it’s tragic. Let’s give them a few more games before we use the word “collapse”. Let’s not be dramatic.
Here you go! I hope it’s cooked just the way you ordered it!
Oh, you like horseradish with your steak. No problem. Let me just go ahead and climb over everything in the back and fetch that for ya! Yay!
More iced tea? Sure. Luckily, I had the forethought to fill another glass before the container was tossed for the night. Here you go! Oh, you want more lemons? Of course you do! Sure. Could you have told me that when I went to forage for the horseradish? Yes, you could have, but you did not. I will be back in a jiffy. Don’t let my absence stop you from eating!
Please stop apologizing for keeping me here and just eat. Please. It is going on thirty minutes now, our relationship. That is thirty minutes too long, just so you know.
You had a long day and that big old steak is the pot of gold at the end of your rainbow. I understand. Let’s just make this a short rainbow, though, okay? If you must continue to converse with me can you please do so WHILE you chew. I will not judge you for speaking with your mouth full. Not tonight. I just want to get home. I have been here for twelve hours.
Yes, it is possible that The Yankees will get the wild card. No, I am not a fan of the one-game wild card playoff, but, as you can see, I do not work for Major League Baseball. If only. Perhaps I will get on that tomorrow.
I am telepathically letting you know that if you order dessert I will have to reassess how nice you are. Can you sense the murderous thoughts that are creeping into my head? I have no shoelaces with which to fashion a garrote, but there is plenty of cutlery with which to do the job. (Wow, I really may have been a bad person in a past life!)
Luckily all of the dessert menus have been put to bed for the night. Stop looking around for them. It is not happening. You are going to ask me about dessert, aren’t you? You are.
We no longer have the brownie. (Thank God!) It was the only thing you liked? I’m sorry. Let me give you directions to Dairy Queen. They have a delicious brownie sundae. Yes, they’re still open for a few more minutes. If you hurry, you can make it. They are likely cleaned up, too, but I am sure that they will be just as excited to see you as I was. Please do not tell them I sent you. They like me up there. Let’s keep it that way.