Casey LaRoe's rule number 1: Any job becomes a job. Some of you reading this may think you have the perfect career. A place that feeds your creative side and fulfills you in indescribable ways. My reaction to that is that you just haven't been there long enough. I know lots of young people who think that when they get out of college they will find a calling that will make everything that they've gone through up until then worth it. They wont. Eventually everything you have to do becomes work.
My job, bar tending at a retro fusion Indian restaurant in the suburbs has been a job from day one. There's nothing glamorous about it. Sure, there's the moments here and there when I'm slinging drinks and chatting up some middle aged divorcee that I've convinced, though eye contact and body language, that I want to go home with. Those moments are nice, but for every minute of that there are ten of wiping up nasty spillage, spoiled juices, emptying trash, and cleaning the thick orange mango lassi out of glasses by hand before they can go into the dishwasher.
The people I work with, they are... interesting. The owner is Indian, he's authentic and a nice enough guy. His wife and partner is a slender blond bombshell from some eastern block former Soviet nation and runs the place like a Communist party leader. They're an interesting couple and hey, they gave me a job, so I've got no complaints, and if I did I'd keep them to my fucking self.
The rest of the cast of characters is equally bizarre. The "General Manager" if you can call her that since Lady Stalin makes her run every thought she has by her before generally vetoing it and then implementing a worse version of the same plan, is also eastern block. She's a fit and well put together twenty something from Lithuania. She's got dark hair cut into a Euro style bob and speaks with ever so slightly broken English that get's sexier the more broken it gets.
She's married to Evan, the other bartender at the place that's not currently dead. He's former Military Intelligence and would scare the shit out of me if he weren't such a nice guy. Fit and athletic but still down to earth. He's a connoisseur of beer and bourbon and makes drinks with a perfectionism that, while not fast, is precise and keeps the customers coming back.
The other pseudo-manager is Jana. She's a Jordanian princess. No shit. She's literally a fucking princess that works at a bar. Okay a restaurant. You can believe me or not, but I guarantee if you put a pea under her sleep number mattress she wouldn't sleep for a week. She's attractive. She's got a nice body and her face is straight up pretty, but her personality will turn you off faster than a penny in a fuse box.
Beyond them we have a Ukrainian that speaks Italian and Spanish; a Tibetan who somehow puts her sister through college in the city on what she makes here. There's a polish busser, a musician/magician server, and a dancer who constantly has me all tied up in knots.
In the kitchen we have a Cooks from Mexico and Nepal, and expediters that look like the cast of breaking bad. There's also the slew of high school kids that buss tables, polish dishes and generally keep the rest of us feeling like were one inappropriate joke away from a call to DCFS.
Oh, and there's Aaron, I mentioned him on twitter tonight. I fucking hate that guy. I don't know why, but he just makes me want to smack him upside the head with a bottle of Purity Vodka. In case you don't know, that's a heavy bottle.
It's an interesting group to spend time with, but it's still a job and since the only way I even got this gig was because I found my predecessor dead in the ally, I'm not likely to rock the boat to much. The goal is to keep my head down, do what's asked of me (no matter how demeaning it may seem) and generally just keep on keeping on.
In the meantime, I'm still trying to look into the corpse I replaced. It seems strange to have a simple bartender murdered execution style outside a suburban eatery, but if there's one thing I've learned it's that no one here is as simple as they seem. I'll let you all know when I find something out.
My name is Casey LaRoe, and I am writing this blog to recount what I'm certain will be my last days on this Earth. I'm not sugesting that I will be going away on a spaceship Heaven's Gate style, I just have this feeling that my days are numbered. Okay, maybe I should start at the begining.
I want to make it clear; scratch that, I want to make it abundantly clear. I did not kill the man. I’d never met him, I had no qualm with him, there was no reason for me to want him dead. I just want that on the record right up front. Okay.
“I think your bartender is dead.”
Those were the first words I said. I was having a smoke in the alley and I noticed the blood. There was a trickle of blood running from a stack of flattened boxes next to a huge silver walk-in cooler. It was mixing with dirty water and grease from the fry oil dumpster, but it was still unmistakably blood.
I followed the trickle and moved the boxes. Underneath them was the body of a twenty-something man. He was in good shape with muscles bulging out of his rolled up sleeves. He was all in black, shoes, slacks, shirt and undershirt with a black server’s apron tied around his waist. He was sturdy looking and healthy other than being, ya know, dead.
I tossed the boxes to the side and walked in the back door of the restaurant. It was a dark place. Purple walls with accents of charred wood paneling. I made my way through the long narrow corridor that the back door led into and ended up spilling out into the restaurant next to the entrance to the kitchen.
I moved through the tables seeing satisfied guests munching on heavy comfort food dishes with big chunks of meat and thick sauces. There were three servers making their rounds, greeting tables and putting orders into tiny computer stations. Everything seemed in order.
I took a seat at the bar with the intention of asking for the owner or manager on duty. There were two other patrons at the bar as well, enjoying a late lunch or early dinner. I looked around but saw no one taking responsibility for the station. In the corner of the bar back was a small receipt printer with maybe a half dozen short slips of paper dangling out of it like a battered white tongue.
After a few minutes of waiting I stood and made my way to the host stand. There was a pretty young brunette standing behind the desk entering details for a reservation into a computer while grilling the person on the phone for more and more information about their party.
A moment later she thanked the caller and hung up the phone. She looked at me with apologetic eyes and smiled sweetly.
“I’m so sorry for the wait, is it just one today?”
I must have looked confused.
“Are you looking for a table?” she asked.
“Oh, no,” I said. “No, I, uh. I think your bartender is dead.”
Then there were questions. Lots of questions. Questions from the management followed by questions from the law. Ultimately I didn't have much in the way of answers, but, I did have a question of my own.
"So, are you going to be needing a new bartender?" I asked the owner.
They looked at me with eyes almost buldging out of their heads.
"Well," the sexy Lithuanian manager said, "you can start now?"
So here I am. A bartender for the first time is twenty years. Slinging drinks in a little Indian joint a dozen train stops outside the city. It's not a bad gig and I wouldn't complain, but, I know the last guy in this position ended up in the alley with a bullet in his throat, so I have to wonder; how long do I have?
I guess we'll find out together.
I'll be around.
Signing off for tonight. Follow me on twitter for up to the minute details.