As promised in the last post, I’ll reveal the results from a test case of my theory regarding Frank the Bartender and his Vicodin addiction.
When I left you last, Frank had a hell of a night Friday from the servers’ and customers’ perspectives. He was cool and level-headed at the start of his shift (usually not the case), and he was an animal of efficiency making drinks.
Saturday night was a different story. Starting the evening, before guests had begun to fill his bar and the restaurant, he was like a feral cat, clawing and howling, jumpy and aggressive, scared of shadows, so hyper he was incoherent. Through the shift he couldn’t focus. Prying his attention from his newest canned soliloquy (his wife broke her femur and had to adjust her medication to be functional) was impossible. When he would cast his gaze at our arm-waving, we’d call orders – simple ones like two Ketel rocks and a Cosmo – and he’d grab a glass, hesitate looking into the air, then beg a repeat of the order. A typical mess.
Friday is when Jacqueline comes in with his weekend Vicodin baggie. As mentioned before, Jacqueline’s husband, Bart, is a bartender at a nearby establishment. He’s had health problems over the years, like bad shoulders, bad back, bad knees. And hence he’s on the Vicodin train. Though Bart uses Vicodin recreationally – Jacqueline says he pops one and watches football on his days off – he doesn’t need or want anywhere near the volume prescribed. As a side note, Bart like Frank is also a long-time ‘sober’ bartender. Also like Frank, Bart has an elastic idea about the meaning of sober. He smokes pot from breakfast to bedtime, and of course takes the occasional Vicodin excursion.
So, since Frank chews Vicodin like Smartees, he can’t hold on to a supply for more than a day or two. I don’t know what his supply system is during the week, but when Friday comes around, he’s probably been dry or nearly so for at least a day. At five o’clock he’s just normally medicated, probably having gulped his last pill before getting to work. He’s calm. Jacqueline gives him the baggie when she gets in at 5:30. Frank visits the restroom. For the next four hours, he’s Vicodin-charged, but not overdosed.
Saturday, that baggie has been beckoning him since he woke up in the morning. He can’t resist. He pops three or four before work to feel extra good. The result is that he’s crazed. He probably does a couple more during the shift to get completely out of his head.
I think my theory was proven.
Saturday also had a funny story from Ciera the Open Book. Ciera is fun and funny and loose and a daily drinker. She always has one ‘boyfriend’ or more, as well as two or three guys she’s dating/being pursued by. I’ve talked about her before. She had us in the back, telling about her Friday night (she was off work):
‘It was a nightmare! I had Rod (her long-time on/off boyfriend who lives in San Diego) calling me saying he was coming over. I had Angus (her most recent boyfriend who is now also on/off) texting he was coming over. (Neither knows about the other.) I told Angus I was going out with Candy but he said it was too late, he was coming anyway. And Rod is already driving on the 5. I didn’t know what to do. So I called Rod and tried to start a fight so he’d say fuck you, I’m going back home. But not too bad of a fight because he’s taking me to the Charger game tomorrow and I really want to go.’
‘Quite a highwire act, huh?’ I said.
‘You have no idea. But it didn’t work. I couldn’t really light him up because of the Charger game, so he didn’t get pissed enough. Luckily, he got there first and I said, “Let’s go get a room!” So he said “Okay,” and we went to the Hilton. I kept getting texts from Angus – “I’m outside your house. Where the fuck are you?”‘
That was a particularly delicious story from Ciera, but that should give you a whiff of what she’s like. Without embarrassment, she’ll tell you anything about her life you’d like to hear – and some stuff you might not. Like when she was walking gingerly one night. She said, ‘God, my ass hurts. Me and Angus fucked all night last night and towards the end he started going in the ass.’
‘You didn’t want to do it?’ I asked.
‘No, that was all right. I don’t prefer it, but I’ll do it when my pussy gets tired.’
* * * * *
Saturday continued the strong weekend – $255. It was a curious repeat of the previous Saturday where there was a flush of people early, as I was still opening the restaurant. It made for a good early turn, after which I was first cut. My turn-in to the tip pool was a solid $210.
Sunday I paid all the bills stacking up on the secretary downstairs. I use my bank’s website in lieu of an actual checkbook. I’m sure there are downsides, but once you get set up, it makes the arduous process a lot simpler. It also yields really fast turnaround times. If, for instance, you’re paying a Citibank credit card, you can log in just two days before your due date and still get the ‘check’ there on time. Likewise, you can schedule payments automatically; you can schedule one-time payments to deliver any date you specify.
I worked for Ciera tonight (remember the Charger game date?). Not too busy. Made $103. Had a late table featuring a gorgeous blonde of about 45 years. She’s had some work done, and I thoroughly approve. She’s been coming in for a couple years with her boyfriend, and I think I’ve served them 90% of the time. She always looks stunning – think Heather Locklear, the way she still looks today (she even looked pretty good in her mug shot!) – and I always compliment her when she sits down. Her boyfriend is always preoccupied though courteous. He is always impatient with her indecision ordering and with her positions in their conversations. He doesn’t drink. She drinks Chardonnay.
For some reason tonight, she leaves the table and finds me in the hallway, out of sight of her table. She grabs my hand and thanks me profusely for putting up with him. She says I always make her feel so good, and I’m so good to her. She apologizes for him again, and says they’re no longer together. She says she’s dating now. She asks when I work? I tell her, and she says she’ll come in alone and sit with me next week.
Sounds good. But it’ll probably be the following week if ever, as Carney’s is closed Thanksgiving and I might be off Friday.
Every man is different. I’ve been best friends with some who could stroll a cemetery at midnight and be propositioned by a beautiful woman. I’ve been best friends with others who could strike out on Spring Break in Cancun. Myself, I will make advances and be accepted and get no follow-through; I’ll be propositioned and never hear from her again; or sometimes it’ll just come together. I’m neither a Closer nor Elvis: I have a hard time ‘making it happen,’ and I don’t have an abundance falling in my lap.
But it’s always exciting.