You’re at work.
You work in a restaurant.
You’re an idiot and you work in a restaurant.
You’re a food-runner because food-running is for idiots, and you’re an idiot.
You’ve worked in the same idiot-restaurant for five years because you’re a fucking idiot.
You pick up a plate of meatloaf.
The meatloaf doesn’t look okay because the meatloaf never looks okay.
You stare at the meatloaf and think about World War Three.
You don’t feel like carrying the plate of meatloaf to the table so you tell the other food-runner to take the meatloaf to the table.
The idiot food-runner grabs the meatloaf and heads toward the dining room.
You stare at the line-cooks and feel the heat lamp on your face.
The fry cook yells, “Rodney King was addicted to crack. He wanted to die,” then drops some fish into the fryer.
That’s dumb as fuck, you think.
“That’s dumb as fuck, and fuck you,” you say.
The fry cooks says, “Fuck you, idiot.”
You stare at the salad guy.
“Dave,” you yell.
Dave moves his head in your direction but doesn’t make eye contact because he shot one of his eyes out with a BB gun and the other eye is a lazy eye.
“What?” Dave yells, looking past you.
“When is World War Three gonna start?”
“Soon. Hehe. Get your machine guns.”
The idiot food-runner walks back into the kitchen.
He’s holding a ramekin of ranch dressing and a half-empty mug of beer.
He pours the ranch dressing into the beer.
You stare at him and feel normal.
The ticket machine makes a terrible noise and produces a ticket.
You grab the ticket and read the ticket: Six Bread.
A six bread is six pieces of bread in a basket.
You look at the food runner. The food runner has a big head, you notice.
“Can you make a six bread?”
“That’s below me. I’ve got more important things to do.” He throws the ranch-beer into the trash. “Fuck every cop that ever did his job,” he says. “All cops are bastards.”
“That was dumb as fuck,” you say. “Good job. And yeah, kill every cop you meet.”
“Kill every cop you ever fucking meet,” he says. “Folk-punk will never die and neither will I.” He picks up a soup bowl and throws it into the trash. “I’m doing a really bad job.”
“Me too. I’m doing a terrible job. Look,” you say, and pick up a soup bowl, throw it in the trash. “Terrible.”
“That was bad. Maybe we should smoke crack. Behind the dumpster. We’d be motivated to do a better job because we’d be high on crack-cocaine. I hate myself and therefore I hate the world and everyone on it. I hate you, too, but less than I hate other people. I hate you less because we’re both idiots, but we’re also smart in a way. We’re smart because we know we’re idiots. And we both hate society. Most idiots don’t know they’re idiots. I feel like I just said a lot of words. What am I talking about?”
“If I was a dictator I’d kill most human beings, but I wouldn’t kill you. Or I wouldn’t kill you immediately. You wouldn’t be at the top of my list of people to kill is what I’m trying to say. You’re an okay guy. You’re lazy as fuck and you do a horrible job and I genuinely admire that.”
“The owner of this restaurant feeds chicken fingers to cops in his office. Fuck him.”
“Yeah he does. Fuck him. And fuck every cop that ever did his job.”
“Fuck every cop that ever did his fucking job.”
A server walks into the kitchen. He puts a half-eaten meatloaf on the expo table. “The customer didn’t like it. He doesn’t want anything else. He’s going home.”
You think about going home.
“How many cows are compressed into this one meatloaf?” says the idiot food-runner that isn’t you.
“Too many to feel okay thinking about. Should we trash it?”
“Let the servers pick at it like pigeons.”
“I’m gonna overdose on heroin so I can go home,” you say. “That’s what the dishwasher did last easter. He almost died. But he got to go home. Home is the best place to hide from the world.”
You smell bacon burning.
“That’s it,” Dave yells. His head is tilted toward the ceiling, but his eye stares at the floor. “No more bacon. I ain’t making no mo’ bacon today.”
You stop thinking about overdosing on heroin. “That’s right,” you say. “No more bacon. We can’t keep giving them the bacon, Dave.”
“Yeah,” Dave says, and let’s out a small Hehe. “No mo’ bacon.”
Another food runner walks into the kitchen.
He’s not on the clock.
Not even working today.
Just hanging out at the bar drinking Bud Light because his girlfriend bartends.
“Who wants a hot pocket?” he says, and waves a two-pack of pepperoni pockets in the air.
No one says anything.
“Get the fuck out of my kitchen,” you say.
“Where’s all the drunk white women at?” he yells.
“Fuck you,” you say. “You’re a fucking idiot.”
“I don’t give a fuck, bro,” he says. He walks to the microwave, slides the hot-pocket inside, stares into the microwave.
The idiot food-runner stares into the trashcan.
You stare at the tickets in the window.
No one says anything for a few minutes.
You think, something fucking stupid needs to happen so I can write it down.
A few minutes pass and nothing fucking stupid happens.
Sometimes nothing fucking stupid happens.
Sometimes you just go to work and stand around for a few hours, thinking about going home to drink beer until you get to go home and drink beer.
Suddenly, something fucking stupid happens.
The fry cooks yells, “Fuck your hot pockets, gringo. Go home, bitch.”
Home, you think.
Fry’s ticket machine makes a terrible noise and produces a ticket.
“If I get one more order I’m quitting. I’m trashing the place as I walk out,” he says, then gets quiet for a second. “Nothing expensive. I don’t want them taking it out of my check. But I’m knocking down all the napkins, all the ramekins, stepping on to-go boxes.” He stares into a pool of boiling grease. “Hell yeah,” he whispers.
The sous chef sneaks up behind you. “Aye, papi, don’t let me catch you smoking none of that fucking crack, that fucking stuff,” he whispers. He looks concerned. “I’ll find out you been smoking that shit, I’ll fucking cut you, papi, and I’ll be high while I do it.”
He smells like weed.
Fuck you, you think.
“Fuck you,” you say.
He makes a face like he needed someone to say that to him and walks away.
That was stupid enough to write about, you think.
You walk behind the dumpster, take some notes in your phone.
Behind the dumpster is the smoking area, for smoking cigarettes, and crack-cocaine.
The ashtray for the smoking area is a five gallon plastic bucket.
The bucket is on fire.
Fuck, you think, this rules.
The fire smells like cigarette filters and melting styrofoam.
You sit on a giant tire near the cigarette fire.
Mama Tom walks behind the dumper.
Mama Tom is an old gay man that’s been working at the restaurant for twenty years.
You don’t know much about Mama Tom but you do know that he isn’t allowed in most bars around town, and that one time he took too much acid and counted all the holes in a screen door.
He kicks the tire you’re sitting on.
“Where the hell did they get this?” he says. You can see him answering the question in his head as he asks it. “Probably dragged it out of the goddamned river.”
Mama Tom looks at you. The gin blossoms on his cheeks quiver as he smiles.
“You’re fucking gorgeous, baby,” he says.
You wonder if he’s drunk.
Then, as it sometimes happens, you start thinking about World War Three.
“Tom,” you say, still staring at the trash fire. “When is World War Three gonna start?”
“As soon as I clock-out, baby. Got me a bottle of vodka at the house, a little weed. Gonna win that war all by my lonesome, you wait and see, baby.”
You look at Tom like he’s hurting your eyes.
“Okay,” you say.
“Yep,” he says, and throws half a cigarette onto the ground next to the ashtray bucket.
You put out the fire by dumping your Styrofoam cup of coffee onto it.
You walk back inside.
The other food runner is screaming at a server.
“Go fuck yourself, goddamnit, you fucking idiot,” he yells, “Fuck you, fuck your shrimp, fuck your dumb-ass tie.”
You watch this happen and it feels normal.
The server frowns, threatens to tell a manager.
“Go get a fucking manager, dude, fuck God,” the food-runner says. “Fuck your shrimp, asshole.”
It gets quiet like nothing happened.
The general manager walks into the kitchen.
You look at the food runner. “Ask her when World War Three is gonna start.”
“Hey Barbara,” says the food-runner. “When is World War Three gonna start?”
“Shit,” she says. “You’re living it.”
It’s doesn’t make sense but it kind of makes sense because you’re a fucking idiot.
blake middleton and alex otte live in jacksonville, FL. blake tweets @blaketheidiot. alex tweets @BMXaccident