Thursday, June 15, 2006

Mr. Asshole

This happened one random Thursday night when my bar was moderately slow. I'm doing double duty, bartending and waiting tables in the bar and around the stages. There's a smattering of patrons sitting at random tables, the majority of them paying cash, but one in particular is running a tab for himself and his friend. This is his story.

One of my most beautiful (and favorite) dancers, Sam, is sitting with them. After she gets settled I make my way over to the table to give the routine pleasantries and take drink orders.

"Can I get you guys anything to drink?"

"Yeah, we'll have two shots of Jack Daniel's and two Miller Lights."

"Would you like to buy Sam something to drink?" This is my standard response if they don't immediately offer. Ninety-nine percent of the time they will say yes. If they say no, it's a good indication to the dancer's that they're not going to make any money off this table.

"Yeah, get her whatever she wants, I've got enough damn money on that credit card I could buy this place."

This is a warning bell to anyone who has ever worked in the bar/cocktail industry. Similar to the "verbal tip" this usually ends badly for the server. The people I have come into contact with who brag about how much money they have are usually the cheapest people of them all.

Sam orders a shot of Hot Damn and a Bloody Mary. She drinks her Bloody Mary's with no spice, no pepper, just vodka, bloody mary mix, and some olive juice. A travesty if you ask me, but who am I to judge?

I return with the three shots, two beers, and a bloody mary. Said gentleman (who shall soon be referred to as "Mr. Asshole") is continuing his "I have a lot of money" sermon for anyone who will listen. I wink at Sam and she giggles.

Over the course of the next few hours, life continues on as it normally would. Mr. Asshole with the tab continues to order shots for the table; on average, about every third time I pass by. Soon, his cheeks are ruddy, his eyes are slightly bloodshot, and he's laughing louder than most people do.

I'm debating whether or not I should coax him into cutting himself off when he catches my eye and gives me the standard "I would like my tab" sign: one hand flat in the air with the palm up while the other hand mimics a pen scribbling in front of the other.

When all is said and done, after three hours of drinking and bragging, Mr. Asshole's tab ends at $137.50. Not a huge tab by my club's standards, certainly not breaking the bank if you have enough money to "buy the place."

I drop the tab off at Mr. Asshole's table and continue back to the bar. Sam has long since gone, looking for her next victim to hustle. Immediately after receiving the tab, it's as if someone let all of the hot air out of Mr. Asshole's head. Melo-dramatically he slumps back into his chair, then shows the bill to his friend. He looks at me. Looks at the bill. Looks back at me. Scribbles something on the paper, and storms up to the bar.

"Is something wrong?" Obviously their is, but it's a standard response, drilled into the heads of countless waiters and waitresses, no doubt learned in "waiting tables 101."

"Yeah! How the fuck did my tab get so high?"

Ahh, my favorite. Symptomatic drunken amnesia. This rare disorder affects certain people. Everything is normal until the bill arrives, then POOF, the last three hours of their life is gone-erased from their memory as if it never happened.

"Well," I start into the explanation of how much he ordered vs. prices, all concluding to the credit card tab in front of him.

"That's bullshit," he replies, glaring at me through watery lenses. I glance down at the credit card slip and notice a huge zero slashed through the tip line.

"Don't you think that was kind of an asshole thing to do?" I ask, pointing at the offensive paper which is radiating anger from its position on the bar.

"Yeah, well, I think you're an asshole," is his response. He turns and stumbles back to his friend at the table who is looking rather embarrassed.

My boss is sitting at the far end of the bar and he motions for me to come over. I'm explaining the situation when Mr. Asshole decides to make his way back to the bar, apparently for round two.

"Go talk to him, maybe he's going to tip you."

"I don't want his fucking money, Billy." Those of you who have ever been in this situation understand. It's not about the money anymore, it's about the principle of the matter.

"Do you have a million dollars in the bank?" This is Billy's idea of motivation. "Because until you do, I suggest you go try and get your money!"

"I will pay you ten dollars if you go talk to him so I don't have to."

Billy laughs and gets up from his chair. He walks behind the bar and stands in front of where Mr. Asshole is steaming hate rays.

"I don't mean to be an asshole," Mr. Asshole starts in, "but---"

Before he can finish Billy cuts him off.

"That's really not a good way to start a conversation. Usually people who say they don't mean to be an asshole are just looking for an excuse to be an asshole." I couldn't have said it better myself.

Their conversation continues for a moment and then Billy calls me over to where he is standing. When I arrive, he asks me for a list of what Mr. Asshole ordered. I hand him the sheet of paper where I kept track of his tab. We're not very high tech, but it works for us. I've been there for three years and I'm not often wrong.

"Listen," I start, turning to Mr. Asshole, "you had---"

"I had two shots of Jack Daniels and a Miller Light and my friend had two shots of Jack Daniel's and a Miller Light. That's all I had. I didn't drink any Hot Damn."

I glance at Mr. Asshole's friend. He appears to be attempting to sink into the table.

"That's right, you didn't drink any Hot Damn. Sam did. But you ordered it for her."

"I'm not blind, I know what I had." I think the word he was going for was ignorant, or stupid, but hey, blind works.

"I'm not blind either, and neither am I intoxicated." By this point, my patience is wearing thin.

"No, but you're a fucking liar!"

This was it for me. I turned to Billy, so furious I had hot tears brimming in my eyes and a flush was beginning to rise in my cheeks.

"Billy, nobody talks to me like that. Nobody calls me a fucking liar!" I can barely get the words out, my hands and body are shaking from the adrenaline that's pumping through my body.

Billy turned and walked around the bar and stood toe to toe with Mr. Asshole. Billy is about 6'3" and is a large man. I've seen him carry four people out at once. I've also seen him open a door with someone's head. He's not the person to fuck with. Mr. Asshole; however, stands about 5'6". I would have been amused by the pairing had I not been so infuriated.

"It's time for you to go," Billy growls down at the little man.

"I'm not fucking going anywhere! And I'm not paying this Goddamn tab!"

In one swift move, Billy has snatched Mr. Asshole around the throat with one large forearm, and has twisted his arm behind his back with the other, literally lifting him a foot in the air. Whatever Mr. Asshole was going to say next was cut short with a gurgle and a squeal. Billy carried him like this out into the parking lot.

Business continued as usual. No one really paid much attention. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.

Ten minutes later, when I've almost calmed down, Billy walks into the bar with one of our regular police friends.

"Will you please give officer Johnson that guy's tab?" I can see the amusement in Billy's eyes.

I hand the officer the slip of paper with all of Mr. Asshole's drinks on it. I even added prices so there's no confusion.

"Thank's Billy, I'll take it with me," Officer Johnson says. "I wouldn't worry too much about him, that guy's all talk."

Apparently, after Billy escorted; ahem, dragged Mr. Asshole into the parking lot, he exploded with a barrage of insults. This didn't really faze Billy. He crossed the line when he threatened to stop payment on his credit card and take us all to court. That's when Billy called his bluff by calling the police. As soon as Officer Johnson arrived, Mr. Asshole took off. Typical.

A few weeks later, Mr. Asshole showed up again. Our door guy, who was there the night of the incident, refused to let him in. Mr. Asshole immediately threw a fit, once again proclaiming how much damn money he had. Billy, overhearing the commotion, walked to the front door.

"Is there a problem?" Billy towered over the little man, amused by watching him squirm.

Mr. Asshole's eyes widened to the size of teacup saucers. "I want to come inside," he stammered, in a much subdued tone of voice.

"I tell you what," said Billy, "you can come inside when you own the club."

Billy walked inside as my door guy collapsed into a fit of laughter.

That was the last time we saw Mr. Asshole. He never did stop his credit card payment. We never did go to court.

Come to think of it, I don't think I ever paid Billy that ten dollars.


Anonymous tommy said...

thats some funny shit. i can actually picture this happening. hell, you know you and i have dealt with shit like this before. guess thats what comes with our line of work...

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just discovered your blog, great stuff!

3:49 PM  

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