Technically it wasn’t my first job. I’d been working at my Father’s dry cleaning stores for at least two years, but the shifts were only four hours long. Plus, my Dad was the boss, so it didn’t really count.
My sister had turned 16 the year before and my parents bought us a black Xterra to share. I mean they actually expected us to share a car. My Father had the misguided idea that his kids were spoiled, so I slowly worked on my Mother by presenting logical arguments for why sharing a car was impractical and simply wouldn’t do.
I eventually wore her down and they agreed to match any money I could save before I turned 16 – game on. If I was going to get something nicer than a Kia (remember this was Hampton, where people bought their kids new BMWs), I was going to need a second job. Luckily, my new best friend Andrea was also looking for a job that summer. I believe her Dad mentioned something about not drinking 99 Bananas and smoking cigarettes with J, G, A, and Nick all summer.
So Andrea and I put our brilliant minds together and asked ourselves ‘where can we make money, but still dick around and get high/drunk all summer?’. It didn’t take us long to decide that Hoss’s Steak and Seahouse, a couple blocks from Andrea’s house was our best bet. What better place than a restaurant to spend our summer? Free food and unlimited access to drugs. We probably would have just hung out there for free.
Unfortunately, we were both 15, and not eligible for any of the cool jobs like Server Slut and Head Chef. So at the end of May, Andrea and I became Hoss’s newest (and best looking) Salad Bar Bitches. The only people below us on the steakhouse hierarchy were the dishwashers.
Surprisingly, this didn’t bother me, as I trolled Auto-trader nightly for the car that best defined me as a person. Andrea, on the other hand, acted like she’d been sentenced to a Russian Gulag and communicated with our manager mostly by rolling her eyes at them. It wasn’t that she didn’t work hard, because she did, she just did it with such an attitude. It was a lot of fun to watch the former princess of California, stopping to perform such menial tasks as putting bread in the oven and restocking the lettuce bowl.
Personally, I was jealous of her openly hostile attitude and wished my OCD didn’t make me run around trying to keep all the salad fixins at a full equal level. It didn’t help that Andrea made fun of my relentlessly for actually trying at our slacker job.
Not that I was a model employee by any stretch of the imagination. One time I lost my gum in the giant lettuce barrel in the cooler and never found it. Another time, Andrea and I were chopping tomatoes and one of the blades went missing on the cutting apparatus. We shrugged and kept chopping. I’m not sure we ever washed our hands and both frequently dropped food on the nasty tile floor, only to dust it off and serve it to guests. If you ate at Hoss’s between 2005 and 2006 you probably have one or several forms of hepatitis.
School eventually started back up, but for some reason we stayed on as Salad Bitches. I think a small raise may have been involved and a vague promise made about getting to be servers the following summer. Once I got my license and a car, Andrea and I went from negligent employees to potentially libelous.
We’d often drink in the two hour window between school letting out and the start of our shift. We’d show up wasted and take turns napping in the cooler. Sometimes we’d leave a fifth next to the dumpster and drink with the cooks all night. This was also the year I was introduced to amphetamines, Vicodin, and cocaine, which made anything, especially work, better and brighter.
One time the restaurant paid me overtime to come in on a weekend and dress up like the Hoss-man for the Easter egg hunt next door:
I snorted three blue Adderal in my car before donning the giant foam head and frolicking with the community’s children.
Another time, after discovering the magic of mixing ephedrine and caffeine pills, Andrea and I started a journal called ‘The Hoss Log”. We kept it in an open binder on one of the back counters and would make entries throughout our shifts. It looked something like this:
4:45pm, I’ve been here for 15 minutes and have already refilled the peas twice. None of these people eat vegetables…where are the peas going?
7:10pm, A man with one arm takes the entire loaf of garlic bread back to his table. Dannette notices the missing bread and yells at me.
9:20pm, Obvious meth-head watches his wife smother a salad in hot queso dip and whispers ‘oh you’re so bad!’
Dannette, our manager didn’t like the Hoss Log because she lacked imagination and a sense of humor. She also had these creepy bug eyes that my mom blamed on a thyroid condition, but I was convinced she’d effected in order to scare small children. So one night she writes in the Hoss Log (without anyone’s permission I might add):
Nick and Andrea should be working instead of spending time mocking our guests
She obviously didn’t get the point of the journal, so we used a sharpie to scratch out her entry. We continued with our fun until the Hoss Log ‘mysteriously’ dissapeared one weekend.
Dannette obviously sucked a bag of dicks, and we much preferred our goofy manager Bill who called his car ‘Porkchop’ and once told me he’d hangout with me if it would help me stop doing coke (I didn’t at the time but appreciated the offer). All of this didn’t mean that he was exempt from our mischief though.
One night we made fake poop out of brownie remnents and placed it on the edge of the women’s toilet in the employee restroom. It didn’t take long before one of the Server Sluts came prancing back to use the bathroom. We heard a scream, and she came storming out to grab Bill. Andrea and I faked concern and followed him to the back. We all peered into the women’s restroom, and Bill’s face turned bright red.
“This is from you women hovering!” he exploded. It really did look like a real piece of shit. “I’m not cleaning this up!”
Andrea and I were laughing so hard that it took awhile for us to get Bill to understand that it was just a brownie turd.
Three things occurred the summer after we’d been hired that led me to believe it was time to quit before I got fired.
I got bored on night, a busy night, and kept loudly asking Andrea around guests if she knew which of the seven men were the father of her kid yet and whether she was going to go through with the abortion. This embarrassed her for some reason, and she ended up pinning me to the salad bar floor after close. Once she had me trapped, she grabbed a loaf of cinnamon bread and started forcing it into my mouth. Bill walked over just as I was spitting the bread on the floor. Our response was to stay on the ground and laugh.
Another night we snagged a couple of containers of whipped topping as we were leaving and had a whipped cream fight in the parking lot. We ended up coating the side of the building pretty well. We acted surprised the next day, but they knew who did it because of the cameras.
This last incident was the tipping point, and even though it was mostly Andrea’s fault, it could just have easily been me, drunk, shoe-less, and crying in the parking lot as the rain soaked my socks.
I put in my two weeks towards the end of the summer like a pussy. Andrea chose to walk out three weeks later during the dinner rush and made Dannette cry. Our final crime at Hossland.