Saturday, August 05, 2006

As the Bouncer Stumbles

Tommy worked for us for several years as a bouncer, he was one of the few who traveled around all of the respective bars until he finally came to rest at mine. The higher ups then deemed him ready for management purposes; apparently due to his lack of a social life and strong build.

Approximately six months ago our club was incredibly short staffed. Billy was on vacation, Savannah was working her first Friday night behind the bar, and I was the only person on the floor. Savannah, who is an unusually stressed out person to begin with, was quickly falling apart.

"Savannah, I need four Bud Lights, three Corona's, and two Jager-bombs," I screamed across the bar, hopefully loud enough to drown out the heavy beat of jungle music coming from the DJ booth.

"Huh? Two Rolling Rocks?" Savannah was speaking listlessly, like a person with too much on her mind.

Rather than scream out my order yet another time, I raced around the bar to make my drinks myself. Poor Savannah was starting to shake uncontrollably.

"Jesus, girl, chill out. They will not die of thirst before you get to them!"

I ran my drinks and made my way back to the bar, my mind desperately trying to hold on to the thirty-plus orders that I had just taken. As I squeeze my way through the throngs of people loitering in my server station; which I REALLY hate, I notice that Savannah has seemingly disappeared. Upon closer inspection I realize that she is curled up on the floor behind the bar, head between her knees, apparently hyperventilating.

Immediately I race around the bar, screaming at Tommy, who (I might add), is sitting down, watching the entire scenario with hapless wandering. I suppose old bouncer habits die hard.

Let me pause here, before I offend any bouncers (or would-be bouncers) and say that I do not dislike bouncers, and I feel they provide a vital part of a club's DNA. I do need to add, though, that the majority of the time bouncers are paying attention to the crowd, not what the employees are doing-unless the employees are involved in some sort of altercation with the crowd. This is part of their job. Now, may I reiterate in saying that Tommy was no longer a bouncer; therefore, he should have been paying attention when Savannah collapsed behind the bar. The bar that he was sitting at. Two feet away.

Tommy gets up from his chair and carries Savannah into the dressing room. Meanwhile, I am now behind the bar. The bar that has not been re-stocked all night. The bar that has no clean glassware. The bar that is crawling with people shouting out drink orders, yelling for their tab, and wondering why their waitress (me) has not been back with the drinks they ordered a few minutes earlier. Tommy emerges from the dressing room and sits back down at the bar.

"Tommy," I say, quite calmly for the current situation, I might add, "please do me a favor and help me gather and wash these dirty dishes so I can serve these people some drinks." I did not, nor do I not still, think of this request as unreasonable.

To my absolute astonishment and impending fury, Tommy gets up from the bar and heads...wait for it...back into the dressing room!


Almost instantly, Susan, our eight-and-a-half month pregnant house-mom/Ryan's wife, appears behind the bar to help wash dishes. She was so big by this point she could barely reach the glasses above the sink. Had I not been so infuriated, I would have laughed.

Tommy emerges from the dressing room and stands in front of the bar, where I am scrambling like a madwoman to serve the entire club's clientele. I am now selling Bud Light directly out of the case boxes which are on a dolly behind me because I do not have time to re-stock them at the moment. He places both hands on the bar, palms down, shoulder-width apart and leans across directly into my line of sight in a supposed authoritative manner.

"Bartender, let me ask you a question," he begins, in a condescending tone which I find not only offensive, but laughable.

"Get the fuck away from my bar." Short, sweet, and to the point. I don't have time for this bullshit while I'm now the only person serving the entire bar.

"Would you talk to a manager like you just talked to me?" Tommy sneers, I suppose thinking that I have in some way jeopardized my job.

"Get the FUCK away from my bar you dickhole."

"Seriously, would you talk to Billy in the way you just talked to me?"

"I would if he was a lazy fuck-off like you are!" I screamed this last sentence whilst gesturing violently with my hands. "Now get the FUCK AWAY FROM MY BAR!!!"

Tommy storms off as Susan, poor about-to-pop Susan who is now attempting to maneuver her huge belly in a way that she is able to re-stock beer, places her hand on my arm in a feeble attempt to calm me down.

I look up and see Tommy in the DJ booth venting to Ryan, and a few moments later Ryan appears behind my bar.

"Don't worry about it, I'll talk to you after work," he says, laughing.

"Just keep that asshole away from my bar, Ryan, or I swear to God." Like most people, I never actually finish the "I swear to God" threat. Some things are better left unsaid. That, and I have never in my life been in an actual physical fight, and would probably get my ass kicked if I ever tried.

"He's taking Savannah to the hospital, he won't be here the rest of the night." Thank God for small miracles.

The night continues on uneventfully, and ends rather profitably for me. As we're all sitting down for our shift drinks Ryan gives me the best news I've heard all night.

"Tommy's fired. He won't be coming back."

I fight the urge to launch into a spontaneous "happy dance." I don't know about the rest of you, but my happy dance is a version of "the percolator" mixed in with a dash of "the one leg up." Very amusing to watch, sometimes painful to perform.

After our little altercation, Tommy huffed into the DJ booth, demanding that I either apologize for not respecting his authority, or be fired. It took all the strength Ryan had not to laugh in his face.

As a nice added bonus, Owner came in the next evening, right after we opened, to reassure me that Tommy was not only fired, but fired for good.

For those of you confused about that last statement, my bar has a slight "revolving door" policy. Employees are sort of like fruit flies---you may think you got rid of them, but a few weeks, or even a month or two, later-there they are. As if they never left.

When I started writing this story, a few weeks earlier, this was the ending. Not so, anymore. In a long, extensive, drawn out drama for the ages, Tommy had become a single father. I've always heard that fatherhood changes you, but was not prepared for the length that it does.

Last weekend Tommy came back to the bar for a little visit. He brought his beautiful son with him, and we had a nice reminisce. When the lights went out and the bar prepared to open, Tommy decided to head home, not wanting to subject his motherless son to an endless supply of breasts without getting the benefit of what they were properly intended for.

"Hey, before I go, there's something that's been bothering me and I wanted to talk to you about it," Tommy said, the conversation taking a serious note. "I'm really sorry about the way I acted the last time I saw you. I was rude and inappropriate and I feel really badly about the whole situation."

I suppose I had a rather stunned look on my face, because he continued. "I was a different person back before my son. It really puts things in perspective, and it always bothered me the way I left things between us. So, anyway, I'm really sorry."

I watched Tommy lovingly wipe the drool from his son's face and carry him out the door. I wish him and his son the best, and hope that, in some way, we are all changed for the better when we have children.


Anonymous jeyadev said...

Glad to hear that at least one little man has a good man for a father... takes a real man to apologize for screwing up.

4:39 AM  
Blogger Savannah said...

Awww, that was adorable. Even though he was a jerk at the beginning.

You know... I'm not in your shoes, so don't read too much into this, but it seems like you can lose your temper really quick. On the other hand, I wouldn't last a day at your job, and have little to no temper myself, so perhaps I just admire your emotional range. ^^

10:41 PM  
Blogger i'llnevertell! said...

Well, I don't really write a lot about all the touchy feely happy moments I have at my bar. Usually it's just the people that really piss me off that make for the best stories. Trust me, I can lose my temper, but it's not an everytime thing.

11:06 PM  

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