Café Rio closes at 8 pm. It seems a little early, especially in the summer, but by now Ananda and Josh have been working for over nine hours…Marissa worked her six and went home at 4…Jerry relieved Sonja around 5 so that she could go out.
I have been here for twelve hours.
At 8:20 Jerry is putting the last pie in the oven and the dining room is still half full with a four top, a couple of deuces and a fourteen top that lingers over dessert and coffee and will stay until almost 9 as Ananda closes around them…sweeping, collecting parmesan shakers and putting them in the fridge, filling the napkins.
New Kid Josh has stayed caught up through what turned out to be a pretty busy Thursday, the place nearly full most of the day, going on a wait during dinner service. I walk through the dish room and, without realizing it, start bouncing my head to his music. He’s doing the same, his ‘fro bouncing forward and back. I think again how much he looks like Epstein from Welcome Back, Kotter…Zack could definitely be Horshack. Great, I have Sweathogs.
I start looking around at what needs to be done the next morning, and what’s needed from the store, the usual bananas, cucumbers, yogurt…gonna need more beer…then I sit and wait for the others to be done. There is stuff I could do now, but then what will Marissa do tomorrow morning? It can wait.
I check the news, then starting looking for Green Hornet stuff online. The other night I saw something from ComicCon on TV and Seth Rogen was showing off a new Black Beauty, so there must be a new movie in the works. Yep, next summer. I’ve always liked the Green Hornet, Batman’s always been my favorite, but I could never afford to be Batman. The Green Hornet though? Yeah, a regular guy could be the Green Hornet.
Jerry finishes first, then Josh and Ananada. “Is it ok if I leave a bus tub for tomorrow?” Josh askes. “Yeah.”
He hauls all the trash up the back stairs and then the half-block to where the dumpsters are. Then he and Ananda smoke while I settle out the credit card machine. The change bag can wait for morning. I hate the change bag; don’t know why.
Josh and Ananda leave, I lock the door behind them and, as I was this morning, I am alone with Café Rio. Metal is playing in the dining room, but in the office I can barely hear it, it is almost drowned out by the freezer’s compressor, the rattle of the fan brushing the shroud on the low-boy cooler, and the swamp cooler.
I count out the cash and checks, filling in the blanks on the daily report, adding in the credit card sales. Not bad, way up from the last two days and tomorrow should be as good or better, lots of white license plates in town again.
I turn out the lights in pretty much the same order that I turned them on, back to front, checking that ovens are off, pilot lights are on, turning off exhaust fans, double checking that no one has hidden in the bathrooms or walk-in cooler and then I switch the radio to the ‘40s channel for the night. I go out the front door, locking it behind me and, after taking a look inside through the window at my dimly lit pizzeria, I turn and walk away.
It is 10 pm.
The Christmas Elf
6 hours ago