More than most days spent in a restaurant, I dread the day after Thanksgiving.
The rich are out shopping, the poor are out begging, and the Persians are out permeating society with their toxic stench of Rite Aid-brand cologne and homemade cigars.
And no one, including the wait staff, is in a pleasant mood.
So when Grandpa Gay and his dainty house boy, an irritating Latino number, strolled into the restaurant and sat themselves in my section, I thought my pretty little head was going to explode.
"This table is dirty," Grandpa barked at me while I was talking to another customer. He was dressed in what appeared to be a cloak and some slacks that were no doubt expensive. In 1976.
"That's because you sat yourselves at a dirty table," I said, barely turning my head in his direction. "Maybe if you ask the host nicely, he'll clean it off for you. Hell, he might even throw in a menu and some utensils."
"SO WHERE DO I FIND THE HOST?" Grandpa snapped.
"Think hard...where's the last place you remember seeing him?" I asked.
Granpda fired off an order to Lucy Ricardo to go fetch the host, which caused the house boy to get quite sassy. Arms folded, shades drawn, and nose in the air, he sauntered up to the host stand with the poise of Carmen Miranda and the speed of any common bus boy.
I grabbed chips and salsa and braced myself for Grandpa.
"Well hi there!" I sang. "May I bring you two anything to drink?"
"We'll take two iced teas," Gramps said while scowling at the tortilla chip in his hand.
"Aye, NOOOOOO!" Lucy Ricardo protested. "Jew said we coot have margaritath!?!?!"
"No," Grandpa replied coldly. "Iced teas."
"HMPH!" Lucy exclaimed, trying his best to rotate 180 degrees in the booth and turn his back to Gramps and me. He busted out his Blackberry, no doubt Tweeting to his fellow house boys that he hoped they fared better in the border slave auction.
I returned with the two iced teas. Before I could set them down, Grandpa waved the menus in my face and said, "Two cobb salads."
"Aye, NOOOOO!" Lucy protested. "But I'm tho HUNgry!"
Funny, and I was under the impression you'd recently been stuffed with white meat.
"Then have a chip," Grandpa replied.
"HMPH!" she exclaimed again and retreated to her Blackberry.
As I collected the menus, grandpa waved his wrist at me in expediting annoyance as if to say, "That's all."
No shit, Angela Lansbury, what did you think I was going to do, stick around and sing The National Anthem?
The salads were prepared and delivered with merciful speed. Minutes later, Grandpa set his empty plate and silverware on the very edge of the table. I grabbed the plate and began to walk off, until Lucy shrieked, "Wait!!! I'm almoth done with myyyyne!"
I stood there, watching him finish the remains of his salad. In the time it took to complete this, I could have accomplished any number of more important things, like doing magic tricks with Grandpa's cloak or calling the authorities to verify if Lucy was legally staying in the states.
Hours later Lucy was finished and I took the dirty plates back to the dish pit. When I returned, Grandpa demanded, "Where's my to-go box?"
"I beg your pardon, madam?"
"I wanted you to put the rest of my salad in a to-go box," he said, eyes closed.
"There was nothing left on your plate except your fork and knife," I replied.
"There was a small piece of chicken. I wanted to give that to my dog."
Then you should have reached across the table and handed it to him.
"Your plate's already being meticulously cleaned by Mario, our dishwasher," I said. "I can bring you a small piece of chicken if you insist."
"Idiot," he muttered under his breath.
"Ja ja ja!!" Lucy giggled.
I had to think fast. Nevermind whether or not to bring out chicken, I needed to figure out how I could get my comeuppance in this situation. Like I said in posts earlier, the years spent working at this place are starting to get to me, thus I must find new and inventive ways of making my job fun.
And then Grandpa interrupted my deep thinking.
"You just bring the bill," he announced. "I'm going to the restroom."
To emphasize this point, Lucy made the infamous "We'll take the bill" motion with his free, non-Twittering hand. And then inspiration arrived.
As quickly as I could, I rang in a margarita and flew to the bar to retrieve it. While Gramps was still powdering his nose, I quickly and quietly set the margarita in front of Lucy while she was busy Tweeting.
Minutes later I returned.
"What's this?" Grandpa asked.
"That's a margarita," I replied.
"Why is it on the table?"
"Jeah, why ees it on de taay-bull?" repeated Lucy.
"Because I thought you ordered one while he was in the restroom, remember?" I said with doe eyes.
"You ordered a MARGARITA?!" Grandpa demanded.
"Non, non!" Lucy begged in fear of the belt.
"I'm...pretty sure you did," I said. "Oh, and here's your bill. Whenever you're ready..."
I stayed within close enough proximity to hear the exchange. Try as he might to defend himself, Lucy failed to convince Grandpa that he hadn't attempted to sneak a libation while not under watch. They exchanged haughty words, then Lucy stormed out. Grandpa paid the bill (minus the margarita, plus a 10 percent tip), flung his cloak over his JC Penney blouse and slacks, and strolled out.
I took the untouched margarita to the back, away from the line of the security camera, and once again savored the sweet taste of revenge.