Thursday, April 5, 2007

I crashed into his fist

Its almost five o'clock. I look at the clock on the far side of the wall, behind the glass screen between the grill and the restaraunt floor. Five minutes until I'm out of this shit hole. Another ticket comes up, for a cheeseburger with american, well done. After slipping my hands into the plastic gloves and throwing on the chunky meat patty I scratch my ass. My ass is covered by a thin blue overall, the management team thought it would be cute for all the staff to wear blue overalls. It gives the staff the look of mechanics, hamburger mechanics.
The little dive of a restaraunt, all capitalist kitchens are dives if you spend any time in them, is part of a small chain. The chain started about seven years ago and now includes four restaraunts within the county. It originally started in the city as an attempt to combine old style diner food, with new healthy living values. So instead of chunks of cow flesh we have shredded turkey, we only use organic tomatoes and lettuce on our burgers, and our canola oil for our french fries contains little trans fat, but a decent helping of Douglas' spit.
Douglas has been working here for almost a year now. He's trying to put himself through community college and is 19. His step father won't give him any financial aid, rather stating that he'd given him plenty of aid in the form of a roof over his head and all the kraft macaroni and cheese he could eat. According to Douglas' stepfather he should be happy for "All the fucking pink hot tubes (cheap ass hot dogs) of love he'd gotten in his mac and cheese."
The clock now says three of five, and I poke at the burger with a spatula. About one third of the burger are burnt, no matter what the customer orders. Making only nine bucks an hour plus tips doesn't make me, and most of the rest of the staff, care about food quality. The tip structure is pretty sad. We have a small tub by the cash register. If we're lucky we'll get the change off the sale. Getting tipped is as much about how sunny it is outside as the food quality, and most of the days seem pretty fucking grey.
The burger is getting to get a little black around the corners. Not wanting to have to remake the burger before leaving I ingeniously cover the char with double the amount of cheese. The cheese melts like velveeta, but higher quality. Slipping the burger onto a toasted oat bun I put it up on the counter. I shake the tub that contains the fries and dump some onto the plate.
"Food up. I'm off." I yell to the front of the house staff.
I walk to the back of the restaraunt, away from the grill, away from the tickets, away from that greasy dump. I can hear tickets start to come up as I walk away. Guess they should have had the 5:30 cook come in at five instead of thinking the five o'clock cook would stay late out of obligation. I walk into the small staff room with its lockers, half table (for staff to eat our free staff meal), poster of the year 2000 labor laws and a bin for our dirty overalls. I zip down the overalls and shrug out of them. I open up my locker and throw on some wind pants and a hoodie. Off to the gym.

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