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I had finally come to the end of my rope. College simply wasn’t for me, at least not at that time. I had spent nine semesters bumbling my way through psychology, sociology, literature, history, philosophy, and theology courses. It had finally become clear to me that in my efforts to “find myself,” I was wasting a lot of money on coursework that ultimately had no end game.
In other words, I didn’t know what the hell I wanted to do. And considering the fact that I had had to take out student loans to pay for some of those courses, it appeared that I was also failing to grasp even the most rudimentary economics principles — don’t borrow money, unless borrowing it will ultimately help you to get ahead.
I had over 140 credits now, but was no closer to earning a degree than I had been three years ago. I couldn’t “get ahead” until I graduated, and I couldn’t graduate until I knew what I wanted to do. So I decided to quit. I was soon to join an august, but somewhat pathetic club of really well-read college dropouts.
Of course, the more sobering reality was that dropping out meant getting a job. It was not that I was adverse to work — quite the contrary. The only reason my college debt wasn’t a more serious problem was because I had been working and saving money since I was 15 years old. But all of those jobs had been menial, unskilled positions that I held while in high school or during summer breaks from college.
I had alternately been employed as a cashier in a fast-food restaurant, a stock boy at a large department store, an insert stuffer at the local newspaper, a warehouse worker at a window and door manufacturer, a housekeeper at a hospital, and a landscape maintenance worker for a number of different businesses.
I wasn’t looking for another one of those jobs. I wanted to work in a place where I got to hang out with people I could actually talk to — people that could carry on conversations that were at least interesting, if not earth-shatteringly significant.
I didn’t need to be the boss; I just didn’t want another supervisor treating me like I was a complete idiot — like the snaggletoothed lady at the hospital last summer, who spent a good fifteen minutes one sadly memorable day explaining to me and one of my co-workers the “tricks” to arranging the correct number of chairs in a large conference room so that the rows of seats were straight.
“If you put 10 chairs in each row,” she had said, “and you have 10 rows; that’s 100 chairs! So if you want to have 250 chairs on each side, how many rows of 10 do you need?” And, even worse, “Look, if you line up the front legs of each chair so they touch the edges of the squares of linoleum, each row will be nice and straight!”
It should have been enough to have said to us, “just make sure that the room looks neat and presentable with 500 chairs set up and a 10 foot aisle down the middle,” or perhaps even more crudely, “I want 500 goddamn chairs arranged with 250 on this side of the freaking room and 250 on that side with a wide aisle right in front of the podium. And make damn sure they’re all in straight lines, got it?” At least the direct approach didn’t assume that we hadn’t passed 4th grade mathematics.
I wasn’t assuming that I had “intellectual talent,” and I knew that I wasn’t qualified for a professional position. There weren’t that many of those types of jobs in the small college town where I lived anyway. I just didn’t want to be a peon any more. I didn’t think that was asking too much.
So, one mild winter afternoon, just a week or so after the first of the year, I went downtown to apply for a job bartending at a local restaurant and bar — The Bike Club Pub — a funky little place that catered to an older college crowd and downtown business types. I knew it pretty well, had eaten and drank there on a number occasions, and it seemed like it had a good vibe and drew a nice mix of people. I thought it might not be a bad place to work.
I had never bartended before, but god knows I had done plenty of drinking! I figured I was safe with most of the well drinks, obviously beers and wines, and at least a fair number of blended cocktails as well, like Bloody Marys, Margaritas, Daiquiris, Manhattans, Martinis, Old-Fashioneds, and Gimlets, to name a few. If it took me a little while to memorize the difference between a Rusty Nail and a Sidecar, I would probably be okay.
I met with the manager of the place, a guy by the name of Todd Farnham, who, from the get-go, I surmised was a total asshole. After asking me a little bit about myself, Todd quizzed me on a few drink recipes. Apparently, I did well enough, because before I left the place, he offered me a part-time job, working 25 hours a week.
This part-time offer was pretty typical. Most of the bartenders, waitresses, hostesses, and cooks that worked at the place were students at the university, and held down 20 hours a week or so in addition to attending classes full-time. I was okay with the part-time gig for now, but I made it clear to Todd that I was really looking bahis firmaları for full-time work, since I had decided not to go back to school for the spring semester.
Todd, in return, made it clear to me that he didn’t have anything full-time, so I could take or leave the 25 hours a week. I took it. He told me to come back the following Friday, and I went back home and studied drink recipes for a couple of days.
I reported to work a few minutes before 6:00 p.m. on a Friday night, the weekend before the new semester began. When I walked in the joint, it was already nuts. The place was packed with people and the bar area was more crowded than I had ever seen it. There was another bartender already working, and both Todd and a guy by the name of Mark, that I came to learn was the assistant manager, were behind the sizable bar that was situated along one wall in the middle of the long, narrow restaurant. Both were working like mad themselves.
Two dining areas occupied either side of the bar area, each seating perhaps 100 people. There was also a second level, that contained another bar, but that was only used for special parties or when we booked a band. Tonight it wasn’t in use, so everyone in the place was crowded into three really small areas, and if I had to guess, I would have said there were probably 300 customers in the pub at the time. It was a madhouse.
I jumped behind one end of the bar, not bothering to ask whether or not I was supposed to punch a time clock before I started my shift. It was clear that my help was needed immediately, and without asking anyone what I should do first, I just started taking orders from customers or waitresses and mixing drinks, or pouring beers or glasses of wine. After a steady hour of running like crazy, things calmed down long enough for me to at least distinguish between the customers and my fellow employees.
Todd, who was irritated about the fact that he was still working at 7:00 p.m. on a Friday night, when he thought he should have been out spending money at some other drinking establishment instead of earning his salary at the one that employed him, finally confronted me after things had settled down. “When did you get here?” he snarled, clearly interested in taking out his frustrations on me. It particularly annoyed me, because I knew he had seen me right after I came in and took my place behind the bar. I had even talked to him momentarily.
“About an hour ago. You told me to be here at 6:00 p.m.”
“And I supposed you were here at 6:00 p.m.?”
“Actually, I got here about 10 minutes before that. I thought maybe you wanted to show me where to clock in, or fill out paperwork, or maybe some other stuff.”
“So did you clock in?”
“No, I didn’t know where the time clock was. You didn’t mention that when you hired me, and things looked awful busy, so I just went behind the bar and tried to help, as best I could.”
“Oh, so it’s my fault that you didn’t clock in like you were supposed to?”
“No, I just didn’t know what I was supposed to do.”
“Obviously, you clock in as soon as you’re scheduled to go to work. I assumed everyone knew that! I guess I have to make an exception for tonight, so I’ll have to write in your start time, and initial it, but this is the last I do that. If it happens again, you’ll lose the time. Understand?”
“Sure, you just have to show me where I am supposed to go.”
“Just what I want to do now, when I’m already over two hours late in getting out of this shithole!” I thought it was a really poor decision for the manager of the place to refer to it as a “shithole.” Besides, it clearly wasn’t. But that was Todd Farnham for you.
“I guess we can do it later, whenever I’m scheduled to work again, if that’s better.”
“How are you going to know when you’re scheduled to work again if I don’t show you where the schedule and the time clock are? We’ll do it now.”
So I followed him into the kitchen, which was directly behind the bar, and not more than 10 feet from where we’d been standing. Todd could have told me to go back there any time over the past hour plus. Besides, he made it sound like he was going to give me a three-hour orientation, when all he actually did was point at the bulletin board on which the schedule was posted, as well as the time clock that hung on the wall next to the bulletin board.
It took him no more than 10 seconds to write “6:00 p.m.” along with his initials on a blank time card next to the words “Friday In.” He tossed me the card, and said brusquely, “Write your name at the top, and the date next to the time and leave the card in the time card rack.” He was out the door, before I had finished writing my name! I felt so horrible about inconveniencing the fucking asshole!
When I walked back behind the bar, the assistant manager approached me to apologize for Todd. He had clearly overheard the conversation, and he must have felt like he needed to say something to smooth things over. “Don’t let him bother you,” he said with a smile. “He’s only an asshole kaçak iddaa about 95% of the time! I’m Mark, by the way. You must be Tom. Welcome to the Bike Club!” He stuck out his hand to shake mine.
I smiled and shook his hand, but we didn’t have long to talk. Just as we finished shaking hands, Lauren, a short, pretty blonde waitress with impressive breasts approached the waitress station with a wide-eyed look. A group of about a dozen nurses from the hospital were in the back section and had just ordered a table full of ice cream drinks.
“Drunkard Alert,” she announced half facetiously and half in terror, “we’ve got a post-holiday party for the Intensive Care Unit nurses! I need six Pink Squirrels, four Grasshoppers, and two Brandy Alexanders.” As she was talking, she hung the order ticket from a hook that represented the first spot in the drink order queue. Ice cream drinks were our specialty, but, as I found out later, the bartenders hated making them.
Mark and I looked at each other. “Do you know how to make a Pink Squirrel?” he asked politely.
“It’s just blended Crème de Almond, Crème de Cacao, and ice cream, right?”
“Exactly! We serve them in up martini glasses and garnish them with Maraschino cherries. Why don’t you make those, and I’ll make the others. You can do two drinks in one blender glass.” I got started and had the six, pink monstrosities finished just after Mark finished mixing the other six drinks.
When Lauren returned to the bar, she was able to load all six of the drinks Mark had made on one drink tray. I grabbed another tray and carefully arranged all of the Pink Squirrels on it. “Would you like me to help you carry the rest of the drinks to your table?” I asked timidly.
She smiled, really brightly, kind of sizing me up and down, “You tryin’ to horn in on my tip?” she asked jokingly. “Seriously, that would be great if you could help.” So, I picked up the tray and followed her to the table. Twelve nurses all in their early 30s to early 40s greeted our arrival with cheers. They appeared primed for a big night. I asked which of them had the Pink Squirrels, and as I delivered each drink to the appropriate recipient, I soon realized I had walked into an aggressive gathering of cougars.
“Ooh, I like the looks of this one! You keep bringing me my drinks, okay, honey!” said the first lady, a 40-something brunette in a low-cut, sparkly blouse. I smiled back sheepishly. “He is kinda cute, isn’t he, Maureen?” said the second. Each of the others continued similarly. By the time, I finished my last delivery, one of the ladies — which one I don’t know — reached out and pinched me hard on my butt just as I was about to walk away from the table. They all giggled, and I started blushing.
We turned to go back to the bar, and I whispered to Lauren, “I wish I hadn’t volunteered for that!”
“Yeah, they sure seemed to take to you! You’re probably gonna have a bruise on your butt tomorrow!”
“You saw that, huh? Which one was it?”
“The young blonde one with the glasses,” she said. She stopped walking, and though we were far enough away from any of the tables for anyone to hear, she whispered in my ear, “I swear she was drooling over your ass! Here’s the thing, though. If you keep helping me to bring their drinks to them, they’re gonna leave a huge tip. Ladies like that go nuts for cute, young guys. I’ll share it with you if you help! Whadaya say?” I blushed at the suggestion that I was a “cute, young guy.”
“Of course I’ll help you, but you don’t have to share your tip with me,” I said. Then, as we walked back to the bar, I continued jokingly, “I just had no idea being a bartender meant I was going to be subjected to sexual harassment!”
It was my first opportunity to get a good look at her. Lauren Laudner — I soon learned her surname — was really short, probably no taller than an even five feet. Her butterscotch blonde hair was styled in a feathered cut that was parted on the side and fell about her shoulders in soft curls. Her big eyes were a pale blue color, and above them were suspended slender dark blonde eyebrows. She had a toothy smile with perfect, beautifully white teeth, and her pouty pink lips were framed by cute dimples situated beneath her high cheekbones.
Perhaps the only flaw to her face was her nose, which though it was slender and feminine, sported a small, but noticeable bump about half way down it, as if maybe she had broken it when she was younger. But instead of despoiling her beauty, it gave her face a uniqueness, a distinctive quality that enhanced, rather than marred her looks.
But then there was her body! Her compact frame featured very slender legs, narrow hips, and a tiny waist. Above that willowy waist, she displayed a prodigious rack — full, round, firm tits that jutted out from her chest, producing enticing cleavage that was now bubbling out her blouse.
Lauren was only one of a good half dozen really pretty waitresses that worked at The Bike Club Pub, but she was the one that really caught my attention, and for some kaçak bahis reason, I seemed to have attracted her interest as well.
Soon after I returned to the bar, we found ourselves in the middle of another huge rush. People seemed to be drinking like crazy that night, and we got a lot of orders for labor-intensive drinks, like Singapore Slings and Mojitos. We had to make three more rounds of ice cream drinks for the nurses, and each time I helped Lauren carry them out to the table. Every time I arrived with the drinks, the ladies got more aggressive.
Finally, about quarter to 11:00, long after they had finished dinner, I was bending over their table to retrieve spent martini glasses, when one of the women — I think it was the blonde that was wearing glasses — bit me on my butt… hard — right through my jeans! So hard, I thought she might have drawn blood.
I jerked violently in reaction, bumping the table and knocking over a glass in the process. The cougars were all laughing hysterically, and again I was embarrassed and turned beet red. Thankfully, the glass didn’t break, and even more thankfully the ladies left only a few minutes later, laughing and blowing kisses at me when they passed the bar on their way out. I think everyone in the restaurant took notice. For the fourth time that night, I was really embarrassed and blushed noticeably.
A couple minutes later, Lauren thanked me for the help and showed me the tip the women had left — $100! She said it was the biggest tip she had ever received. She tried to make me take half of it, but I wouldn’t do it. I know she felt bad that I had been taken advantage of by the ladies, but I also realized that in helping her, I had won an ally — and an awful pretty one at that!
That night had been trial by fire for me, and I had to ask Mark how to make a number of drinks or how to do other things behind the bar, but finally around 11:30 p.m. things died down, and when Mark, Lauren, some of the other waitresses and I were able to sit down to take a break for a couple of minutes, they all told me I had done really well for my first night.
About 12:30 a.m. as the waitresses were cleaning up the last few tables, and I was washing the remaining dirty glassware, the last of the customers left, and Mark locked the front door. Soon after, all of us gathered at a table right in front of the bar to have a drink. Mark asked me what I wanted — explaining that everyone was entitled to one free drink at the end of their shift. I asked for a martini, and after he made both of us one, he joined several of us at the table.
“To a big night,” he said raising his glass in a toast, “that may have been the most money we’ve made in any one night since I’ve been here!” We all raised our glasses in unison, but at first I was too tired to talk.
So instead, I just relaxed with my drink, until Lauren finished clearing the last table and sat down next to me with a glass of wine. “So you survived the cougars and lived to tell about it?” she said sarcastically.
“I’m not going to tell about it. I hope you’re not either!” I answered smiling.
“Okay, it’ll be our little secret. But speaking of secrets, I found out one of yours!”
“You’re shy around girls.”
“No, I’m not!” I said defensively, but then I knew that I was starting to blush again.
“See, you’re blushing! You know what! I think you’re not just shy; I think you’re afraid of girls!”
“I’m not afraid of them, but I don’t like to be the center of attention, at least not most of the time. Those ladies tonight had everyone in the place looking at me. That makes me uncomfortable. I think it would make anyone uncomfortable.”
“Well, you better get used to it.”
“Self-awareness is not your strong suit, is it?”
“What do you mean?”
“You have no idea that women find you attractive, do you? You better figure it out and fast, because it’s going to happen to you an awful lot if you’re working here. I’ll bet you don’t even know when a girl is flirting with you!”
“Uh, well, I have a strong inkling that it’s happening right now!”
She laughed. “Oh dear boy, I’ve barely gotten started!”
We all finished that round of drinks and two more, and on our way out the door, Lauren asked me if I was working on Saturday night. I told her I was scheduled at 5:00, and she smiled and said loud enough for everyone to hear, “Good, I always get better tips when the cute bartenders are working! See you tomorrow at 5:00, Tom!” She walked away from me toward a Volkswagen Beetle, swinging her tight ass as she did.
Mark smiled at me when he heard what she had said to me, “Looks like you’ve got a new admirer, Tom! You’re a lucky guy. Lauren’s the best. See you tomorrow, okay. Oh, and Tom, great job tonight! You’re going to fit in really well here!” He got in his own car and drove away.
Mark turned out to be a good guy, and it became clear to me from that night on that he was the person that actually ran The Bike Club Pub. It never made sense to me that Todd, as the manager, almost always worked the day shift, while Mark as the assistant manager worked from about 5:00 in the afternoon until closing. But as I learned, that was the way it was done.
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