Grinder with Cheese

January 1, 2008 at 1:40 pm (Cussed Dumbers)

I enjoy working New Year’s Eve.

I do the ‘early’ shift, which means I get off at midnight, leaving the graveyard guy to deal with the people I’ve been getting drunk all evening. My shift is nice. People are happy to see me. They’ve usually had a couple of drinks, and when they see me I upsell them so they don’t have to come back out. New Year’s Eve is different. Everybody is out to get drunk, and we facilitate that, up to the letter of the law.

It’s one of the few times a year management is expected to work a night shift. Starlight Parade, 4th of July, opening of Rose Festival are a few others. With all the drinking and carousing, trouble often ensues and the boss likes having official eyes nearby.

I got to work with Grinder last night.

There was a time working with the boss would cramp my style, but I’ve grown up enough that supervision doesn’t bother me. And while Grinder scares some employees, if you follow a few simple rules and give the job half an effort he will back you up. He has been doing office work, and spending little time at the cash register of late. He decided to jump back into the fray last night.

It was a productive night. Master P called, and said, “I’m parked in the loading zone out front. Come out when you get a chance and pick up these drop bags. I see you’ve got customers, I’ll wait.”

It took me ten minutes to get to him. “Sorry about that, but I just pulled in $170.”

“I see that! Keep doin’ it!” Zoom, he was off.

Grinder showed up 45 minutes early, with a bag full of munchies. He’d invited the other managers to stop by on their breaks. After making sure we had enough change to get through the onslaught of $20s and $50s, he began stocking while I sold. Thirteen bottles of Gatorade. Hangover cures for the nightclub staff tomorrow? They also wanted whipped cream, which conjured up nasty images of the latest new drink today’s youth are consuming. An all-around ick.

Busloads of tuxedo-clad drunks pulled up outside. We sold them cameras and condoms, carding thirty-year-old women for cigarettes, flattering their drunken asses. All were in a great mood.

Inside the store. Outside was different.

Dr T didn’t want to walk up to our store for lunch, so I offered to deliver hot dogs and drop bags to him. Since Grinder was getting all the hot girls at his register, (such a waste!) I would get out, get some exercise and see what was happening around downtown.

I cut through the Upscale Mall. Folks were coming out of the movie theater, and I saw a couple of teenagers dash down the out-of-service escalator toward the basement. Where’s mall security when you need them?

They were out on the sidewalk, watching a crowd of twenty-something drunks. I recognized the sergeant, and told him about the youngsters running off-limits in his basement. He looked to his subordinates and said, “Get that, will you?” They gave him a look, then went off. As soon as they were away, Sarge pulled out his can of pepper spray. “That motherfucker is gonna get gassed.”

One of the twenty-something drunks was yelling at his friends. “C’mon, faggot! You’re all faggots! I’ll fight any one of you!” He looked like a member of the backfield on a football team. “Yeah, I’m drunk! Who’s not a pussy?”

I stepped back, and just when I thought Sarge was going to let him have it, Drunky saw the bar he was trying to find. They all stumbled off. Sarge put his mace away, and I followed at a reasonable distance. Drunky avoided eye contact with me, thankfully.

When I got back to the store, Whitney had arrived for his lunch, hot dogs. “Aha!” I said. “Finally caught Grinder slipping you the wiener, huh?”

Whitney rolled his eyes. “Yeah, but he gave me the BIG one.”

“Hey, we better be careful. Someone just got fired for sexual harassment.” I winked at Grinder, who was eating dessert out of a reused container from home.

Whitney noticed the container. “Are you eating sour cream?” There was a moment of awkward silence.

“It’s a gay thing, Whitney,” I said.

They both stared at me with a ‘Did he say that?’ look. Another ten seconds silence. Then they burst out laughing. “Look! He’s blushing!”

It sure felt like I was. “I just figured maybe I’d finally said something that crossed the line…”

Grinder laughed. “Actually, I’m eating pineapple upside-down cake. The top is the bottom, the bottom is the top, and it’s all so yummy!”

“Grinder, pineapple means a whole different thing in my world.” All eyes shifted my way, but before they could ask for an explanation a cute customer interrupted us. Timing is everything!

Work ended on an up note, but venturing out into the street brought me down a bit. Drunken yahoos everywhere. A middle-aged guy had to shake my hand, insisting I smile. I moved on. An inebriated lady stumbled down 4th Avenue, trying to catch her friends. “They won’t wait for me! Sir? If it were your friends, would they wait for you to pee? Where’s a bathroom?” Before I could answer, she began dropping her pants and heading for the doorway of the Upscale Mall. I thought of standing there with my back to her, giving her some blockage, but I saw her friends coming back for her. One was the insistent Smiley Guy. Sorry honey, you’re on your own.

I reached the bus stop right at midnight, and heard the fireworks, gunshots, drunken shouts and other cacophony announcing such. I was tired of drunk people, but still had a thirty minute bus ride to deal with.

My hottie bus driver had her kazoo noisemaker, and announced every passenger. She gets into the holidays, and kept the ride lively. The drunks were having too much fun to be belligerent. By the time I got home, I was in serious need of decompression.

After an hour of silence, my nephew stuck his head in. “The South Park movie is on channel 60. I saw part of it earlier.” He winked and shut my door. Soon I was hearing about how Kyle’s mom is a bitch, and Mr Mackey was doing a song and dance number teaching kids not to swear. The crankies evaporated, and I began relaxing.

Today, I work by myself. Thank god! I need the rest.

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