"Yo, Peter Pan, bring some of that juice over this way."
He was an obnoxious little prick and we all knew him by his first name only, Eddie. We watched him come into the cafe every single day at four in the afternoon, sit at a table by the window and begin picking his teeth with one of the scented toothpicks we kept by the cash register. If whoever got lucky enough to have his table that day did not come rushing to his side within twenty seconds, he would shriek. Not just an ordinary "hey, can I get some service" screech. This was a blood curdling animal killing screech that caused pictures to fall off the walls. So, we had a policy. Whoever saw him enter the restaurant had to serve him. Sometimes we ducked that responsibility, but beyond the pain of his misbehavior, there was the reward of his always "generous" tip. The little prick would order tea and crackers, slip a little rum from a flask in his jacket into the tea, and leave anywhere from twenty dollars to two hundred dollars for a tip on a two dollar tab.
Over the course of my five years as a waitress, I have managed to meet all sorts. Bad tippers, rude bastards, ass grabbers, families who find it amusing when their kids puke on the floor... you name it. Usually I take it all in stride, keep smiling, and realize that it will all be over within a reasonably short time frame. With Eddie it was different. There was something about him that set him apart from any other customer. If he touched you, usually just the brush of his hand against yours as you set his tea down, you would lose time. You would go into some kind of trance and your behavior would change dramatically. It was as if he took control of your mind and body for several seconds. Everyone knew what was happening because everyone had experienced it, but that did little to lessen the embarrassment you felt when your co-workers told you about it later on.
The first time I had been called on to serve Eddie, I was nervous as I knew my best friend Cindy had experienced something weird the last time she had waited on him. The hostess, who has since been fired for stealing coins out of the lobby gumball machine, told me that Cindy had pulled up her skirt and bragged about her purple panties in front of a packed cafe. Since then, we had all been instructed to wear either shorts or long pants. Our manager, Mucky, had to do a lot of explaining to keep some of our regular elderly patrons from terminating their business with us. Mucky had been right, but I never saw the elimination of skirts as the answer. The elimination of Eddie was the answer, but no one could prove he was behind the shifting mental states of the cafe's waitresses.
Now, just as an aside, I will tell you that I am a really big fan of Swedish actors and directors. I mean, they have a special flavor to them that you don't get with your average Hollywood production. Check out something with Elke Sommer in it sometime if you don't believe me. Yes, I know she's German, but you are missing my point. Sheesh.
So, on this particular day it was my turn for the challenge of waiting on Eddie. Being accustomed to his antics, I crept up on his table quietly and stood across the table from him so he could not touch me unless he got up and pounced on me. That wasn't likely to happen, as Eddie was rarely that rambunctious. He liked to get the young women to do his active stuff while he sat and grinned like a maniac. Did I mention he has a black tooth in the front of his mouth? Well, if I didn't, there you go.
Eddie ordered his usual, the special house tea with spearmint and an order of soda crackers with tabasco sauce to pour on them. A weird mix, to be sure, but we were all pretty much used to it. He brought his own rum, and we didn't say anything, even though we had no liquor license and this would get us in some kind of trouble if the wrong people saw what he was doing. This was all he ordered, and as soon as Eddie walked in, the back line cooks barked at whomever would listen to get the crackers and tea up. Kind of a tradition, and it might have been funny if Eddie, well, if Eddie hadn't been Eddie.
Aside from the touching trance thing (which I have called those psychic hotline numbers about), there is this odor to Eddie that makes it uncomfortable to stand near him for very long. Its a sulphuric smell, and I don't really know what that means, but my old boyfriend Denny was a chemistry major and he told me sulfur stinks, so I have that to go on. Anyway, you should have a pretty clear picture now. Eddie is this little freaky prick who smells like sulphur and can put you in a trance by touching you. He also has bad breath and always stares at your boobs. Talk about uncomfortable, I don't care what kind of tip he leaves, Eddie needs to get the hell out of my cafe. See, though, I don't have any control over that. Mucky is the only one who can get someone, like, banned from the cafe.
Did I mention that we have this little Mexican trio that plays mariachi music on Thursdays? Well, we do, and its pretty cool, so if you are into that kind of thing come by on Thursdays. They play from, I think, three in the afternoon until around eight, which is when we close.
I don't want to lose my place in the story, but I get distracted pretty easily. My old boyfriend Doug, who had the coolest sideburns, told me I was scatter-brained. You might think that is an insult, but he said I just have too many thoughts in my head and it is hard to sort them all in the right directions all the time. I mean, come on, I am only human for crying out loud.
So, there I am, standing on the opposite side of the table from this prick Eddie, and I see they already have his tea and crackers up. I pick up the crackers and tea, carefully place it down in front of him, and ask "will there be anything else, sir?" You know what this canker sore of a human being tells me? He says "How about a threesome at my place tonight?"
Now, okay, I have gotten all kinds of weird propositions from guys while I'm waiting on them in the past. Once these four football player type guys asked if I would come to their fraternity party, and they kept putting way too much emphasis on the word "come," which immediately made me suspicious of their real intentions. This proposition from Eddie, however, was really bizarre because he has never said anything to anyone except to give them his order and ask for extra napkins. He never gets into the gross talk that way too many guys think is a turn on for girls like me (let me just tell you, it isn't, most of the time, but if you're cute I'll think about it). Now I was worried, because I figured he had some sick reason to single me out.
I more or less walked away, but I could feel his beady little eyes on my buttocks the entire time, from when I walked off to get his tea and crackers to when he paid his check. Then, believe it or not, when I got home that night my buttocks would not stop quivering. You know when you make a Jell-O mold, slip it out onto a platter and it shakes like crazy for a few minutes? Well, my buttocks did that all night. It was very difficult to fall asleep. Eventually, I did, and I had some very strange dreams (some of which involved marsupials and camping gear, but you probably don't want to hear about that). When I woke up the next morning, I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth and take a shower. Standing there I realized my buttocks were still quivering. I mean, they were doing this Jell-O shaky thing and it was very visible. Even if I put a pair of pants or shorts on, you could still tell that my buttocks were quivering. Honestly, I was like, "what the hell am I going to do? I'm meeting this really cool guy Eric for lunch and he will notice, because I know he is definitely an ass man."
I had a really tough time deciding what to wear, because I've never faced the quandary of how to hide quivering buttocks before. I've dressed to hide pimples and bruises before, but this was an entirely different matter. I settled on some loose fitting black slacks, because my tight jeans were too uncomfortable with all that shaking going on. I met Eric as planned and he did not seem to notice at first. Then I had to get up to powder my nose and I noticed his eyes kind of widen when he checked out my derriere as I walked away from the table.
I had to get to work right after lunch, so I was happy to avoid the possibility of Eric wanting some afternoon delight and then encountering my shaky bum. Regardless of those peripheral matters, I needed to track down that little prick Eddie and get him to undo the damage he had done. This was not a reasonable thing to do to someone. I know you are laughing, but the whole experience was very discomforting. I mean, even if no one really did notice, I could not escape from the feeling that every eye was on my buttocks and every one of the people I passed was laughing inside. It was humiliating.
Four o'clock rolled around, and there was no sign of Eddie. For the first time in almost a year, he failed to show up for his tea and crackers at his regular time. I was truly worried, and stood with my back to the wall most of the afternoon, trying to conceal my shame. I waited until almost five o'clock and then told Mucky I wasn't feeling well and went home. Luckily for me, my roommate Marsha wasn't home, so I walked into the apartment and screamed. Then I stopped and became very still. Eddie was sitting at my kitchen table drinking tea and eating soda crackers with tabasco sauce.
I didn't know how to answer. I was so frightened that I froze like a cherry popsicle. He got up, dropped two hundred dollars on the table, and left my apartment. When I finally defrosted, I collapsed on the floor and cried. It was two hours before I regained enough of my senses to realize that my buttocks had stopped shaking.
He still comes to the cafe at four o'clock for tea and soda crackers. The mariachi band still plays on Thursdays, although they had to replace one of their band members because the original guy got hit by a car. We do a pretty good brunch on Sundays. There is no extra charge for additional cantaloupe slices.