The Cajun Experience

I’m sitting on the floor of the bedroom in our 26th floor apartment downtown, working on a presentation that no one is even going to watch. I have “The Office” on in the background to try to drown out Denny, and since anything related to my job only requires 30 percent of my attention. The boss on the mockumentary comedy, Michael Scott, is listening to a motivational tape and all I hear is:

“Hello, this is Jason Gotti from the xxREDACTEDxx Company”. (I really had to change this name well because he has millions of dollars, and lawsuits are icky, and often sticky like good hash).

I know that name and that voice. I grab the remote off the bed and rewind the episode by 30 seconds.

“Shut the fuck up!” I scream, scaring Denny and the dogs. “What’s wrong with you?” Denny whines. Jason FUCKING Gotti! I run into the kitchen to call Melissa since I know Denny will never get why this is so amazing and needs to be discussed.

Jason Gotti was the multi-millionare who entered mine and Mel’s life when we lived at the fun-fort in Winchester. He’d made a fortune as the CEO of a marketing firm he started and had used some of the cash to open a restaurant on the walking mall in the old Taylor Hotel. It had been beautifully restored to resemble a creole style mansion, and in the lower two levels, Jason opened the Cajun Experience. From what I’d heard, Jason loved to drink and the place was pretty much a disaster. Naturally, I wanted a job there.

I’d decided to go to rehab that July when the nicest bar in town made a convincing argument by firing me. Liz and Chris showed up at my door and told me it was time.

“Let me just do the last of this heroin” I’d replied “and can you help me find my black Nike hat?”

Liz yelled at Chris for watching me snort an entire gram of heroin off the kitchen counter.

“Ok ready! Did you locate my hat?”.

If I’m being honest, I only went because I loved Liz, Chris, and Melissa (who was at the beach, but tired of my erratic behavior). I did want to stop the heroin, but everything else was still on the table. This was an unreasonably expensive and UNACCREDITED rehab, so not much good came out of my stay except meeting attorney/girlfriend when we fell in love over a shared plastic fork.

Anyways, towards the end of my stay at this ‘rehab’ I was walking back from an AA meeting (the only form of ‘treatment’ this place offered) and I ran into my former GM Adam on the walking mall. He was drinking an over-sized mug of beer at a patio table, so I sat down. “That looks delicious” I drooled “I miss you”. I was talking to the beer but Adam said “me too man, how are you doing? how’s Melissa?”.

“Just finishing up at rehab” I said, rolling my eyes.

“Oh, sorry man, what happened? Relapse?” he said making a face.

No Adam, I just enjoy being told where to go and who to talk to for 28 day stretches. Luckily I don’t say this though.

“Just a little one… All better now though!…and Melissa is still the love of my life, and we both just quit the GW”.

Technically only she quit, I got fired, but this was no place for honesty. “Where are you working now?” I ask Adam. He pointed to the Cajun Experience behind him. “I just started as GM over there…want a job?”

I smiled “as long as I can bring my heterosexual life partner Melissa”. Now Adam smiled. “Come by when you get out”.

It doesn’t take long for Adam to realize that the restaurant is a quickly sinking ship, and he bails after three weeks. Melissa and I stay though because serving drinks and food is easy if you aren’t retarded, and we refuse to miss a good train wreck when we see it coming.

Here is a brief summary of what happens over the next two months:

1. Jason, the owner, gets wasted one night and bangs the new waitress he stole from a neighboring restaurant. He bangs her on one of the couches in the bar downstairs. Her name is Maggie, she has pink highlights in her hair, and a mustache tattooed on her finger. The next day Jason makes her our new GM.

2. We do a banquet, and I over-serve an elderly woman who ends up passing out and has to be taken out on a stretcher. In my defense, I took way too much Xanax that night and she reminded me of my dead grandma. I just wanted her to have fun!

3. We find out that Katie, our old neighbor at the fun-fort, who gave us half her furniture when she moved out, is Jason’s current live-in girlfriend. We find this out when she shows up, demanding to know where Jason is at. He’s probably at the GW banging our GM, sorry Katie.

4. Attorney/girlfriend goes back to DC to focus on her law practice and drug addiction, and one night the assistant manager sends me a picture of a dildo sticking out of her. So I sleep at her house and we hook up.

5. Around this time, the Operations Manager starts banging one of the servers who I was just in rehab with and moves him into her house. I end up sleeping with her just to prove that I can. She quits shortly thereafter (hopefully not related).

6. Also, around this time, two of the bartenders relapse after being clean for 2+ years and we all start snorting heroin together.

7. We start having parties in the bar/club downstairs post close, led by Jason of course, until the assistant manger ruins it by posting things on Facebook. I guess there is a sister restaurant in a nearby city and they want nothing to do with us. Can’t imagine why.

8. I start sleeping with one of the cooks, and they promote her to Sou Chef (again, not related).

9. Maggie, the GM, starts crashing on our couch at the fun-fort and putting us in the middle of her fights with Jason. She snores like a wildebeest and scares our dog.

10. The GM gets pulled over in Jason’s Audi and gets charged with possession or marijuana. He makes one of the bartenders pick her up.

11. At this point one of the relapsed bartenders is an assistant manager, and we openly drink at the upstairs bar during our shifts while she cries about getting kicked out of her Oxford house, which is really nothing to cry over.

I think that covers it.

One week before Halloween, I can see the end coming, and take my parents up on their offer to go to a fancy ACCREDITED rehab in Ohio.

I walk back into the bedroom and Denny sees the look of disappointment on my face.

“What’s wrong?” he demands.

“Melissa didn’t pick up and I wanted to tell her I heard Jason’s name on a TV show”.

“Who the fuck is Jason?” he asks suspiciously.

“No one” I sigh, knowing he won’t understand.

“He just owned one of the best restaurants I ever worked at”