Monday, February 08, 2010

Harter Union: Part Two, Chapter 2

When I arrived at work the next morning, I decided to look and see how well the staff did last night. The Dish Room was cleaned and mopped, so was the kitchen. And the Line was spotless. I smiled as I walked into the cafeteria where only Jason and Chrissy were sitting. “Anything interesting happen last night?” I asked.

“No, not really,” Jason began. “I did stab Nathan in the head with a knife though.”

I nodded my head. “Oh,” I licked my lips. “Is he okay?”

“Oh, yeah, just a small wound. No blood loss.”

“Well, that’s good. Where is everybody?”

“Downstairs in the Grill,” Jason took a bite of the manicotti which was for lunch. I turned around and started to walk away. “Oh, and you’re gonna have to get an electrician or someone down here after the fire last night.”

I stopped and looked at Jason and Chrissy but decided not to say anything. I left the cafeteria through the double doors and went downstairs to the Grill. Alyson, Wendy, Nathan, Maggie and Phil were sitting around a round table. I waved to everyone and went to the counter with Jenna and Karla. “Couple of cheeseburgers, please.”

“Coming up, Jeff,” Jenna said. Both girls began grilling the pre-made hamburger patties.

Karla kept looking at me and finally asked me what was on her mind. “Jeff? Have you seen my tattoo?”

“No, I don’t believe I have had the pleasure,” I smiled.

“Before you head upstairs, remind me to show you.”

“Can do,” Jenna passed me a small basket with my cheeseburgers in it and I went down to sit with everybody. “What’s going on everybody?”

“Talking about Maggie’s boy troubles so really nothing new,” Alyson joked.

“Oh, okay, uh, guys, I have a question. What’s this about a fire here last night?” I asked, and then took a bite out of one of my burgers.

“Jason told you?” Phil asked. I nodded.

“It wasn’t as bad as it sounds. One of the outlets in the Dish Room just kind of, sort of…” Nathan was apparently searching for the right words.

“Spontaneously combusted,” Phil blurted out.

“How does an electrical outlet just spontaneously combust?” I probed.

“It’s actually pretty easy when you use bleach and comet and…what else did he use?” Phil listed.

“That liquid soap stuff,” Maggie revealed.

“Mm. And how’s your head wound, Nathan?” I asked.

“Huh? Oh, it’s fine. Barely left a mark,” Nathan said rubbing his head.

“Well, despite the obvious, I’m glad I went ahead and trusted you all enough to handle a night alone by yourselves. Come on, let’s get upstairs, I want you to show me how Jason ended up stabbed you in the head, Nathan.” I stood up and everybody followed. I laid the basket in the trash can and went through the hallway to the old staircase near the elevator.

“Wait, Jeff!” Karla came around the corner. I turned toward her and she lifted up her shirt and revealed her naked breasts and on her left breast was a blue butterfly.

“Nice. This day is just going up and down isn’t it?” I said, biting into my second burger.

I was wearing a red apron over my usual jacket and tie. I was also holding an empty cup rack and watching Aaron change the pop syrup under the Beverage area. He was changing the big Pibb box. He pulled the empty box out, disconnected the hose and lifted the new box into the shelf and reconnected the hose to it. He stood and picked up the empty box. “And then we throw it away.”

Aaron walked past me and I rolled my eyes. “Gaah! Why does Darrell want me to learn this stupid job? Any monkey could do it!” I complained.

“Thank you for trivializing my job,” Aaron said.

“Well, I’m sorry but this job seems a little too easy for an entire evening of training,” I explained.

“You should work it on a night where a milk runs out, a juice runs out and not one but two pops go out! That is a night in hell,” Aaron said, tossing the empty box into the Dumpster.

“Nah, hell is being trapped alone with your friends. That’s why I don’t have any. Sooner or later they’d get into a fight and I’d have to calm them down and I’m not very good at that so I’d just gun them down and then I’d fry in the electric chair.” We went back inside the kitchen and went into the Dish Room. I placed the cup rack on the shelf above the belt and helped Aaron carry out some dishes by taking a small stack of little plates.

We put the dishes in their proper places behind the Line. Alyson and Maggie came up to us and tried to hide their laughter by covering their mouths and clearing their throats. “Jeff? Maggie and I have a bet and we need you to settle it.”

“I’ll be glad to help,” I obliged.

“Okay, well, I say you haven’t had sex since you arrived in Baldwin but Maggie says you have. Who’s right?” Alyson asked.

“That’s an odd bet and I don’t really appreciate you making odds on my life but you, Alyson, would be right. I haven’t had sex since the day before my fiancĂ©e left me.”

“Why?” asked Maggie. “Have you noticed some of the looks these college girls give you? You could probably bag any of them.”

“Well, I don’t want to bag any of them.”

“Why not? You are freakin’ hot!” Maggie shouted.

“I have my reasons. First of all, the girls here are between the ages of 18 and 21 and I am 27. I feel like an old man. Secondly, a lot of baggage comes with sleeping with someone: you undress in front of them and they see you completely naked and you’re vulnerable and they see every flaw. Sex, to me, has to be special and I have to know and respect the girl.”

“And we thought all gentlemen were dead,” Alyson said, coyly.

“I have my moments,” I smiled. “Aaron, I’m going to my office. Call me when you start clean-up or if you need any help.” I pushed past Maggie and Alyson and went into the kitchen.

Later that night, everyone had gone home, or so I thought. Maggie walked into my office and sat down. “I thought you went home. Don’t you have a date?” I asked.

“I did. When he came to pick me up, I told him I wasn’t feeling good and asked him to leave.”

“Did you answer the door dressed like that?” I asked referring to the low-cut spaghetti strap red dress she was wearing.

“Yes, actually, but that’s beside the point. Look, I have been with a lot of guys and none of them have been half as nice or as charming as you and I was just wondering if you wanted to…spend the night…with me,”

My eyebrows raised but I kept my composure. “Well, that…that’s quite an offer but no, I don’t. You are a beautiful girl and I’m sure that if I was anybody else I would in a heartbeat but I don’t want to ruin our friendship or our working relationship, all right?” I wheeled over to Maggie and took her hands in mine. They were so soft and wonderful that they made me think twice about what I said.

“I understand…but what you said earlier about knowing and respecting the girl…?” she wondered.

“I do respect you and that’s why I don’t want to rush into anything and that’s because I respect you too much and would want to take things slow.”

Maggie pulled her hands away and stood up, “I’ll see you tomorrow,” she took one last look at me through her sparkling, tear-filled eyes and left out the back door.

Wendy was waiting outside in her car. Maggie got in and rolled down the window. “So what’d he say?” asked Wendy.

“Maggie sniffled as Wendy pulled away. “He said ‘no’, he didn’t want to sleep with me.”

Wendy looked shocked as she turned north onto Sixth Street from Dearborn. “And how does that make you feel?”

Maggie opened the glove compartment, took out a napkin and blew her nose and wiped away a tear. “Like a lady…”

Jeff meets the cast of "Night Court".