Day 21: Catering (Part 1)

The new girl, Anne or something like that, is in the dry storage when I go in there. She’s not supposed to be there. Dry storage is where we keep the liquor, and I’m barely allowed in there. But Kent is out of vermouth, and the bar is hopping, and I’ve been around a while. So, they trust me to not start stealing bottles of tequila. Nobody trusts Anne. She always reacts a moment too late when you say her name. Maybe, she’s not Anne, maybe it’s Agnes? She asks questions. How long have you worked here? What do you think of Christine? You must have some crazy stories about working here. Which isn’t really a question, but it also kind of is. Kent thought she was just flirting weirdly. We’re used to various flavors of weird.

Prudence believes in the power of crystals, and is studying to be a masseuse. Crystal sings in a Christian rock band called the “Yes I Knows.” Tad does that cup stacking thing. He used to do it on the street before he got this job, and he likes to keep in practice in case he has to return, though he’s also learning bucket drumming.

“It’s a competitive field out there,” he says. “A man needs skills to fall back on.”

But Agnes isn’t really weird as such. She’s acting weirdly, but she doesn’t seem like she’s one night’s tips away from being evicted, and nobody works here if there’s not imminent doom hanging over their heads.

“Agnes, you’re not supposed to be here,” I say.

“Oh, Kent sent me back here, and I was just checking my messages,” she shows me her cellphone, in case I hadn’t already seen it, or wasn’t aware of what a cell phone is.

We’re not supposed to use our phones during our shifts. We all use our phones during our shifts. We live the sort of lives that burn down if we ignore them for 6 hours. Truly successful people are the ones who rarely check their phones. Whatever business they’re conducting will wait until they’re ready. It’s the people like us, fraying strings at the edge of the tapestry that are on constant deadlines.

“Hey, don’t get me wrong. I don’t care enough for you to lie to me. But if anything in here goes missing, it’s trouble for us all, and I will hang you out to dry. There are like nine hundred better places to check your phone.”

She leaves. I grab the vermouth. Consider taking something for myself since I now have a scapegoat, but I’m not an asshole, and there’s nothing really wrong with Anna. She’s just kind of forgettable.

Later, I see her hanging around in the kitchen. We’re supposed to just pick up hors d’oeuvres and head straight out. No time to let them get cold or warm or oxidized or whatever. But she’s trying to talk to Chef which is fucking insane. Nobody talks to Chef unless they are crazy, and I mean crazy, hot. If Chef can’t fuck you or braise you, he has no interest in you. For most of us, this is a good thing, because he’s a complete asshole. Obvious exception is if you’re crazy hot. Then your life is a living hell. It drives our boss, Catherine nuts, because she would love to replace us all with crazy hot women, but they don’t tend to stick around.

“Alice,” I say, “Come on, we’re supposed to be circulating with the apps.”

“I was just asking what we were serving tonight. It’s all hush-hush. That’s weird isn’t it? What if people have allergies or dietary restrictions?”

“Above our pay grade,” I hand her a tray, and take one for myself. “Stop being… interested. It’s off-putting. Slightly indifferent is our brand. Our dress code. You start being interested, and suddenly the clients have to view you as a person, and they hate that.”

“What if we’re serving human flesh? What if the reason they don’t want to view us as human is because they eat humans?”

“All the more reason to not seem human, who wants to be on the menu? Stop following me, we’re not supposed to cluster.”

She tries the cannibal bit with Roger. He digs it.

She talks about vampires to Crystal who gets pissed and thinks that Allie is making fun of Christianity.

Prudence complains about Alexis’ negative aura.

None of us are sure what her name is, but she seems to answer to anything that starts with an A, so we’re seeing how far we can push it. Kent calls her Ariel. Todd calls her Aurora. Roger calls her Alphonse. She’s increasingly becoming a joke.

But this gig is weird. These people are crazy rich. Nobody is checking their cell phones. Nobody has gotten too drunk during the cocktail hours. Everybody’s clothes are clearly nice, but there’s no obvious branding. They’re not nice to us, but they’re polite, as if they have nothing to prove. It makes April’s weirdness even weirder. What if she’s an assassin? Or an anarchist? Or an architect?

Sorry, riffing.

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