Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What I Had Always Done

Another installment of "Spanish Trace." Thanks for all the great comments yesterday -- I'm still thinking about a good response in regards to some of them.

I put my hammer and nails away and got out my clothes for my job as manager of the Ponderosa. I had been working there for about eight months. The job was a favor from a friend to tide me over until something better happened. Nothing better happened. I'd been teaching at a high school that didn't have enough money to stay afloat so when the place shut down, I didn't have the heart to go through the whole job search and thought that managing the Ponderosa might just be the place to be. At the school, I'd had to spend a lot of time making sure that everything was in order and was constantly getting nagged by the administrators about my paperwork, my attitude, my way of conducting a classroom. I knew that at a place like the Ponderosa, the bullshit would be at a minimum. I had decided to try and get myself together, not jump into something I didn't want just because it was what I had always done.

I didn't much care for most of the waitresses who were a bitter crew, lifers who sat around worrying about getting their daughters married off and talking shit about men on their breaks. Mostly, I went in the back and smoked and talked to this fucked up dishwasher named Jimmy Sanders, a guy I knew from grade school. He had Tourettes and would sit around and go into these weird spasms from time to time where his head jutted out and his arms looked like he was trying to catch flies. He'd broken a few dishes this way, but the Ponderosa's owner didn't care because it was almost impossible to find anyone to dishwash, and Jimmy had been with them since he graduated from high school fifteen years ago. Jimmy lived with his mother and had an extensive collection of Nazi paraphernalia that he wanted me to come see. He didn't bother me, but no way was there going to be a visit to see that collection any time soon.

"Hey Jimmy," I said.

H ehad his hands plunged into the soapy water and lifted them, shaking them around like a dog. "Hello Mark. Want some Comfort?"

"Not right now."

He sat down on the stool next to me, wiped his hands on his stained apron and took a flask out of the pocket. Southern Comfort tastes so sweet that I could barely stand it, but it was all Jimmy drank.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"How many of us persist in a precipitate course which, but for a moment of heedlessness, we might never have entered upon, simply because we hate to 'change our minds.'" William James

Cocktail Hour
Drinking cocktail suggestion:
Could The Holidays Be Starting Again?
one shot of vodka poured into hot chocolate
garnish with festive candy cane leftover from last year

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!


Charles Gramlich said...

I like the term "lifers" for the waitresses. Jimmy is developing into an interesting character.

the walking man said...

This Mark also has some bittersweet southern Comfort tales to tell...

Joe said...

Awesome story.

(Nice booty, too.)