Although I spend more time at work than I do at my own home, I still manage to go in every so often for a role-reversal. Let my co-workers wait on me. Even though I go to the restaurant as a patron to relax and have a drink, it never seems to work out. The phone rings and a split-second of heart-stopping panic rushes through my body- I find myself standing up out of my chair before I realize that I don’t have to answer it. A pager goes off and my posture straightens (as I would) to head to the kitchen and retrieve my order. How do I deal with it? I. Get. Drunk.
It was my day off and I decided to call up an old childhood friend (who is also in the restaurant industry) to just hang out and soak up some sun. A few hours passed and a cocktail garnished with commercial air-conditioning was in desperate need. So, as I get a decent discount at my work, we decided to head down for some libations.
Pulling into the parking-lot, I immediately investigate whose cars are parked. This ways heavily on just how big my usual 50% discount will be. Entering the restaurant on a day off, I always feel like a celebrity getting mobbed by the National Inquirer. The staff sees you and rushes over and mentions how desheveled you look.
“Wow, day off Katixa?”
I’m not just about to put effort into showering, let alone look good for a bunch of people that see me everyday. It’s like getting dressed on Christmas morning- who does that?
We belly up to the bar and my co-worker, delighted to have what we call a “slack table” drops off a drink menu while venting about a table in three seconds, before whipping around the corner to wait on them again. “Just look at table 73- Evil.” We order our drinks (made extra strong) and suck down about three each before we actually start tasting what it is we are drinking. Upon ordering the sixth drink, we simply say, “My, we were parched!”
Pushing a baker’s dozen cocktails, my friend and I are chatting with my co-worker when the owner of the restaurant comes bursting out the door, runs behind the bar and nearly sticks his head in the ice while pounding a pint of water. He looked awful. His hair was sticking straight up gelled by his own perspiration, sweat stains don’t even begin to describe the markings around his collar and arms and he was beat red in the face gasping for air. His glasses fogged as the cold air from his ice-water made contact with his radiantly heated face.
“Are you o.k. there boss?” I asked.
He walked over drinking his second glass of water as filled up a third as he managed to say, “Yeah-” The curiosity was building.
“What…What on Earth were you doing?” I inquired. I don’t think I was quite prepared to hear his answer. Although I was seated, and very well marinated at the bar- the bumpers on the sides of a bowling alley would have probably been helpful to receive the news.
“I was chasing a chicken out of the back dining room-” explained the boss man.
“I’m sorry?” I responded assuming that my drunkenness had led my ears to believe that I had heard, what I heard. “Like a real live chicken?”
“Yes, a living, breathing, clucking, running chicken Katixa. Little fucker got into the restaurant some how and I’ve been trying to chase it out of the back dining room for the past 20 minutes. It’s gone now though.”
We were speechless, until we weren’t. A cataclysmic explosion of laughter ensued, gravity was inviting us for a roll on the floor. My boss usually runs about the restaurant looking like a chicken with its head cut off; so the image of my lanky-ass boss corralling a live chicken in the back of the restaurant (loudly) muttering obscenities, was priceless. After a good laugh, we had another couple of drinks (don’t judge me, it was my day off!) and we split out of the restaurant and on to the sidewalk on our way to food when we ran into the parking attendant.
Our parking attendant is a barrel-chested stout man, ridden with the most random tattoos. Ones from his prison days, ones from his drug days, and current ones that make less sense than the former ones. Always wearing a baseball cap, smiling and waving people into their parking places he welcomes them with a thick southern drawl. Seeing the two of us walking to our car, he wobbled his way over.
“Katixa! Didya see the bowss a’chasin’ that chicken?”
“No, but we saw the aftermath- too funny!” and just then, a little red chicken hops out from behind a stack of broken down wine boxes and approaches us. We were astonished. The wild chicken chase was indeed true! My friend and I looked at each other with a marinated grin, approached the chicken and picked it up. We piled into the car as the parking attendant (who usually has some remark about everything) held his jaw in complete and utter shock.
On our drive home, we laughed hysterically as we looked in the rear view mirror to find a little red and white feathered chicken sitting ever-so docile in the back seat. Two and a half years later, we still own the chicken.