Straight Outta San Quentin Tarantino

So, I was looking for a part-time job to supplement my writing income because unless your name is Tom Clancy, you’re a homeless mother telling stories to your kid in your car that you eventually decide to write down, or you write terrible fan fiction that somehow gets turned into three horrible movies that repressed middle-age women seem to like (not this one, for the record) then it is difficult to make a living just writing.

I went to bartending school five years ago in Colorado because I thought that’d be a fun side job, and then when I moved to Sin City, I (erroneously) thought that I could find a bartending job in a sports bar because I’m a huge fan, outgoing, and relatively cute. Yeah. No. Unless you know people which I don’t.

I spoke to an acquaintance at my gym who is an assistant manager at a very popular, widely known chain of bar/restaurant/gaming places (that shall remain nameless) who said they were desperate for people. So I sent a resume, had an interview, and was hired.

The first two days were nondescript as I was trained by a nice enough woman who was nearing retirement and made no qualms about her imminent departure. I felt somewhat comfortable with the computer systems, mixing some simple-ish drinks, and cooking a few menu items. The customers were friendly and relatively normal. Then Day 3 arrived.

Day 3, day 3, day 3. Day 3 was graveyard shift in a really bad part of town (and yes, there are, indeed, many of those here.) I arrived at the location to see four police cars parked out front, three of which had “perps” in the back. Apparently, this was a normal and regular occurrence.

There was a crowd of about 12 people near the front door (you had to ring a bell to gain entry) and, let’s just say I was quite obviously out of my element. What’s a good metaphor? How about I was bleach and they were vinegar and there was the potential for some highly toxic chlorine gas.

But I persisted, trying not to look worried. As I approached the door, one fine young fellow asked me if I could spare a cigarette. “I’m sorry, I don’t smoke,” I replied, and then pushed the doorbell about 37 times in four seconds.

Inside wasn’t much better. It was dark, crowded, and loud with the faint scent of prostitution and death lingering in the air like smog over the Strip. The bartender was running around like a chicken with her head cut off and suffice it to say her body art reminded me of when I was a prison teacher. She was nice enough, friendly, and tried to make me feel at ease. The only thing I thought that would make me feel at ease was a shot of heroin (not that I’ve ever tried it or anything, nor would I.)

Then I went into the restroom.

Was there a window through which I could escape? I wondered. I walked in and pushed open a stall door only to see a young woman sitting on the floor, slack-jawed, tourniquet around her arm, and a hypodermic in her hand. Be careful what you wish for, right?

“Oh shit, I forgot to lock the door,” she slurred.

“I’m sorry,” I replied, hoping that I didn’t need to jab an adrenaline-filled needle through her sternum, and moved to the next stall where I accidentally dropped my phone in the toilet. Thankfully it’s water resistant, so no harm, no foul. With the phone anyway.

I ventured back into the war zone and into the office where the schedules caught my eye. Instead of the two graveyard shifts and one swing shift each week (I had originally said I could work three days per week in addition to my writing biz), I was scheduled for FIVE graveyard shifts for the next few weeks in this, the fifth circle of Hell, with the other brand new person who, seriously, was dumber than a box of rocks and whose fake boobs made me wonder why she didn’t topple over. Even if she did, and landed on her face, her overfilled duck lips would likely cushion the fall.

It took me about three-quarters of a second to decide that my career with this company was over. I apologized to my coworker, left, and ran to my car.

All that was missing from this little scenario was Christopher Walken and a Royale with cheese.

“I was kind of excited about going to jail the first time and I learnt some great dialogue.” ~ Quentin Tarantino

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