No Tip For You Fancy

coinsSometimes you can just tell when someone is going to stiff you. The second they walk in the door, greasy hair, stained and torn Coors Light t-shirts, you know you’re working for free. One of them opens her smelly toothless mouth and confirms it. “What’s the cheapest drink you got? I want something fancy.”

Fancy. Yeah I’m sure you do. Fucking white trash.

Oh I know what you’re thinking─ I’m just stereotyping people. And you’re right. I am. But you can get off your moral high horse. We all look the same to you anyway. And it’s not like I act on it. I’ll still give them good service regardless. I always do. I give them the chance to prove me wrong too. But when they don’t and there’s a crowd around the bar guess who is getting served last? True some bartenders take it too far and treat people badly. Or grumble because certain ethnic groups never tip them. They don’t even realize they’re burning their tips so I can’t speak for them. Learn to say “gracias”, show people that you’re willing to make some effort and they will tip; our business is hospitality after all . . .

So anyway back to Ms. Fancy. “Our cheapest drinks are $3. But they’re just wells, they’re not fancy.” She’s got to be at least fifty and I have to explain to her what a well drink is. Then she asks me if I can make it fancy.” I repeat what I just finished describing to her: “It’s one cheap liquor and one juice or soda. Vodka cranberry, rum and coke . . .”

“I’ll take a vodka cranberry. And make it strong!” Hey kids here’s a quick tip: don’t do that. Don’t ever grill the bartender on the cheapest drink and then demand an extra pour. You get an ounce and half. No more. (Unless I really like you and I don’t). But you might get less if you piss me off.

Here’s another: if you can’t afford to tip then you can’t afford to go out. I know you’ve heard that one before. Everyone has. We don’t work for our hourly wage (which is less than three bucks an hour in most states, not mine thankfully). I have a college degree. I don’t work for minimum wage. I do this job because most of the time I like it but if people aren’t going to tip then I get a job in a different industry. Same is true for all bartenders of quality. Don’t tip and all you’ll be left with are idiots that can’t focus on you what with all the distractions like phones and cigarettes and oooh is that a cute boy?

I pour her drink and a cheap beer for her friend who she makes sure to tell me is an alcoholic. Fantastic. I count back her change and then she wants twenty dollars in ones so she can feed the lottery machine slow on penny games. When she finally walks away the bar is empty. Not even the coins.

We’re pretty busy tonight though so I’m not too worried. Four girls come in next and make a beeline for a table. I get their drinks and try to give them a few minutes to look over the menu like most people prefer.

“Aren’t you going to take our order?” the first one snaps.

Whoah girl simmer down! I look them over and say, “Let me grab some paper.” There’s no way I’m going to remember EVERYTHING.

When I return the first girl rattles off, “I’ll take the bar platter and the bacon cheeseburger with fries and she’ll have the monster burger with onion rings.”

Then girl number three, “We’ll take a bar platter and a monster burger with fries.”

“Ok I’ll get that right in.”

I start to walk away and girl three snaps, “Aren’t you going to get her order?”

My bad. I didn’t realize that when you said “we’ll take” you just meant yourself. Considering you just ordered enough for three or four people anyway. . . But what I say is, “Oh I’m so sorry what can I get you?”

Girl three snarls and looks down her nose at me while girl four answers, “I’ll take the side salad.” Now I don’t think I need to bother describing the weight of these girls. It’s probably pretty obvious. But I will say that I was a little worried that the first three might eat the last one if their food didn’t come up fast enough.

I’m putting their order in, my back to the bar, when Ms. Fancy comes back. “Excuse me!” she calls. “Excuse me!” I tell her I’ll be right with her and she stands there tapping her video lottery ticket on the bar and sighing. I take my sweet fucking time on the POS. When I turn around to help her she tells me she wants a strong fancy drink. “What do you have for three dollars?”

Really? We’re really going to do this again? Yup. And again. And again. Not a single dollar, not a single quarter, not even a penny for my trouble. The fourth time she makes sure to tell me: “I brought back all the glasses from the lottery room for you.” Like she did me a favor or something.

I just look at her. I hold back telling her it was the least she could do, bringing her own glasses back when she isn’t tipping. It would be nice if she would wash them while she’s at it.

Meanwhile the group of girls needs their waters refilled and then buckets of ranch when their food is up. Their bill comes to 57.93. They leave 2.07 on the table.

Up next . . . read about how not even bartenders are immune from wage discrimination in 77 Cents on Your Dollar

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So This is What Pissy Drunk Means

shots shots shotsThings were different the first time around. I was younger, more patient, and better practiced in the ways of alcoholism. The bar on campus where I earned tuition closed early and we were always out of there by one and at the bar down the street by ten after; an hour and twenty minutes to take as many shots and chug as many beers as we could swallow. Even on weekdays when I closed by myself, I’d find someone to party with. If they were hot I might stumble home with them. Even if they weren’t . . . well sometimes tequila makes it easier to overlook a butterface or way too much gut. The next morning I would crawl out of bed, sometimes mine, sometimes someone else’s, drag myself to class, then work, and do it all over again. It was awesome. Probably one of the best times of my life! But it’s over now.

No, that’s not true. It’s been over for a while. I haven’t drank like that in years but sometimes I still forget and think that I can party like old times.

Big mistake.

One shot. Two shots. Three shots. Four. God knows how many more.

It was a slow night. Really slow. Painfully slow. So slow that somehow I found myself down the street spending more than I made on the opposite side of the bar as Cameltoe Joe. I can’t stand Cameltoe Joe. I didn’t want to give him any of my money but tip karma is a bitch so I threw him down a couple extra dollars for every shot.

That’s the last thing I remember. Until now: stumbling out of bed in the dark (not my bed, not my dark) and down an unfamiliar hallway in search of a wash room. The first door is just a closet. The second opens to snores better suited to a hibernating bear than a human. The third one’s a charm.

I drop my pants and plop down on the toilet. Drunk piss is always such a relief. But something doesn’t feel quite right. I frown, wobble on the seat a bit as I try to stand, and bend over to pull my pants back up.

FUCK!

I blink. Hard. My vision is blurry. Standing still takes effort and I sway on my feet as I stare in disbelief at my pelvis.

I forgot I was wearing underwear.

I forgot I was wearing underwear and I just pissed right through it. Fuck fuck fuck fuck! My head swirls and my thoughts race. My heart pounds. What the fuck do I do?

What can I do? I trip out of my pants and yank the wet drawers down, wishing I could just leave. But I am way too drunk to drive. So I’ll just throw them out right? Except . . . where is the waste basket? A frantic search of the room─behind the toilet, under the sink, even in the shower─reveals nothing; no trash can, no plastic grocery bag substitute, nothing. That’s how I find myself retracing my steps back down the hallway, pissy panties in hand, when a door creek open and a sliver of light starts in front of me.

Drunk by Proxy

drinkThere are two kinds of bartenders: sober and not sober. But that doesn’t mean everyone in the latter group is drinking behind the bar. Or snorting lines in the bathroom. Or smoking bowls in make shift pipes out back. Some of us seem to catch a buzz like a virus, spread by the patrons we serve.

Patrons who tease, “You’re cut off!” when I break a glass or a drop a bottle. I haven’t been drinking but . . . maybe I’m drunk by osmosis?

Drunk without alcohol. Whaaaat?

There are two kinds of bartenders: those that are perpetually annoyed by their patrons’ alcohol induced antics, and those don’t mind the fun, maybe even join in. It should be obvious which group is the sober one…

Again, not drinking on the job. It’s just that there is something about being around others who are imbibing, something that gets me intoxicated by proxy; that raises my voice, booms my laugh across the bar, and brings out the worst of my shit talking.

Oddly it isn’t work that makes me notice how I change when people around me drink. It’s a volleyball match; a volleyball match where three other girls have vodka in their water bottles and I don’t.

My friends get louder as we play, the jokes start rolling out. But somehow I get louder and more obnoxious than the rest. It’s like I’m intoxicated by their energy. If I get pulled over after I leave I won’t be surprised if they make we walk the white line. It’s fucking weird, I know. But I guess it’s functional right?

The Perfect Co-Star For a Dark Comedy: Tina in Suicide in Tiny Increments

It’s true, publishing my first novel took all the attention away from DBBT. To be perfectly honest, the Dive Bar Blues have been terribly neglected as of late. But don’t worry, your favorite fictional bartender has not disappeared! In fact, she’s been busy co-staring in the deliciously morbid and satirical Suicide in Tiny Increments, a dark literary fiction peppered with black humor and smothered in irony.

420Too scared to kill himself but also too scared to live, Daniel Long is a sad, pathetic man; a miserable martyr of depression. A year after he was dumped by his self-centered alcoholic girlfriend, he still wallows in the hole she left behind. And, except for the cubicle that he spends forty hours a week in, Daniel rarely leaves the bare white walls that make up his apartment. Trapped in his self-made ennui, his only escape is to hire a hitman. But when one of his few friends kills herself Daniel realizes the error of his ways. He tries to cancel the hit but in the process he offends his contracted killer. Now his impending death is personal and his life is about to get more exciting than he ever could have imagined.

Suicide in Tiny increments is available as a paperback, a Kindle Book, and a variety of other e-reader formats.

 

Suicide in Tiny Increments

 

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Camel Toe Joe

As if it isn’t bad enough to have customers tell me how to make their drinks… enter the asshat with slicked back hair and a hoop in his left ear from the bar down the street. It isn’t the ice this time, of course, even he knows better than that. He’s staring at the specials board, his Transition lenses still dark from the sunshine outside, one finger from each hand rests in a belt loop of his too tight jeans, he leans back on one heel. “Yeah give me one of those Kool-Aids but I want it as a shot.”

It’s a one liquor and two mixers kind of drink. “It’s not going to taste very good as a shot.”

He stares at me for a couple of long awkward seconds, like he doesn’t understand, and shifts his stance. I try to look away but I still see it in my peripheral vision: the toe shifts too, one ball almost twice the size of the other, his little sausage slinking in his skin tight pants. When his glasses finally clear up he asks, “Why not? It’s got like three liquors in it. Triple sec and, oh what else?”

I shake my head, “Every bar has a different recipe. Ours is just a flavored vodka, sweet and sour and a splash of Sprite.” Charlie always goes with the cheapest version.

“No, it should grape vodka, triple sec, and there’s a third one, where’s your book?”

I chuckle, grab it from behind the bar, and toss it to him. “It’s not in there.”

He looks confused but also, more than anything, haughty. “How could it not be in there?”

I roll my eyes, fold my arms, and lean back on the beer cooler. “I told you, every bar has their own recipe. I worked at one place downtown that used Coors Light. Google it, there are hundreds of recipes.”

His lips curl, his toe stiffens, and he tells me he’s the lead bartender down the street; he knows how to make a Kool-Aid (even if he can’t remember all of the ingredients). Ah the plight of the guy who has only worked at one bar and taken their house recipes to heart. They always think they know everything. I wonder what he would say if I told him that sometimes experienced bartenders even deviate from standardized recipes to improve on cocktails. A splash of Sprite in a Bloody Mary, 86 vermouth from dirty martinis, a little Triple Sec in a Mojito, and I won’t even get started on Mai Tai’s; they may be in the book but there are hundreds of variations made better by bartenders around the world. It would probably blow his mind, and his camel toe.

Serrated Roses

Late, late, for a very important date. I was supposed to join the Blog Tour yesterday *sigh. But alas life got in the way. So here I am, late but better than never! Thank you to K.Z., who so graciously passed the baton on to me after describing her own writing process. Her first book will be out this month: 100 Nightmares. I can’t wait to read it and I hope you will too! K.Z. writes a little bit of everything: romance and erotica, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and bizarro fiction. Check out her blog too!

Now a little about me…

I am the editor of Serrated Roses and an avid writer. I have written three unpublished novels (two literary fiction, one dystopian middle grade sci-fi)

1) What am I working on?

Suicide in Tiny Increments. It is basically about a guy who doesn’t want to live anymore…

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Easy Icers Gone Too Far

There isn’t anything I want do more than crawl over the bar and grab the bitch by the throat. Yeah, it may be a minor offence on her part but nobody likes to be told how to do their job and this crowd that our new so called manager has brought in seems intent on telling me how to make their drinks.

Ah yes! The No Ice Bitches have multiplied and they are in my bar.

“Two rum and cokes easy ice, easy soda.”

So what exactly do you want in your glass? She directs the amount of ice and tells me she wants half liquor and half soda, which is exactly what it would be if she let me make her drink right! Except of course the glass would be full and the drink wouldn’t taste like shit. I’m getting really sick of explaining to people that they don’t get extra liquor by ordering less ice. You get an ounce and a half. That’s it people! What you will get more of is soda and your drink will be thick and warm and gross.

There is a reason drinks taste better at bars than when you make them at home. We know what we’re doing. But too many of these new patrons are under the mistaken impression that the worse their drink tastes, the more alcohol it must have in it.

Not five minutes earlier, “This just tastes like OJ.” She plops a half drank screwdriver on the bar.

I bite my tongue. I don’t make weak drinks. But I’m hardly going to over pour, hook everybody up on happy hour. And seriously who bitches about a $2 drink? To my surprise, a lot of people! Apparently the cheaper the drink the more alcohol people seem to think they should get. I offer to remake it for her anyway.

“Not so much ice!”

I think it might be time to find a new job. No really this time. The cheaper the drinks the less people tip. I explain that she is going to get even more orange juice than last time.

“That’s ok.”

I stare at her for a moment. If the first one tasted like juice…

Whatever. One one hundred… two one hundred… three. An ounce and a half almost every time (it would be every time but Charlie likes the cheap plastic pour spouts).

She tastes it. Nods. “Yeah that’s better.”

You’ve got to be kidding me.