How May I Help You?
by Carol Glover
So, this is him after six cold hard drinks, and here I am looking like I am going to be stiffed.1 His tongue is sliding from the right side of his mouth, slowly filling with saliva, moving up to the roof of his mouth-trying to produce words-slurring. Meanwhile, I see his eyes are just as loose, deliberately moving across my earrings, down to my black, alcohol soaked V-neck, x-raying where it clenches closer to my breasts. Moving unhurriedly, lazily, down to the area between my legs and my khaki crotch. Creeping up and down and apparently, I am a free show.2
And his tongue finally forms the words he has been swishing away in his mouth, “Do you put out?”
Simple and blunt like that.
To him, I’m a prostitute and not a cocktail waitress. Like all service is the same.
His beer is in my desperate hand, shaking as little bits of foam mingle to the top and land on my wrist. Hoping he’ll take the damned thing soon. Or maybe it’s a double vodka tonic with a lime this time, but does it matter? My eyes instantly move to slits, forgetting to bash my lids and fake a smile.
“Only to my boyfriend.”
Hours later he is gone and the receipt reads, “No tip bitch.”
Wait. Hold on.
Let’s reverse this and see what would have happened:
“Do you put out?”
Imagine: “Oooooh, no name!” giggling like a 12 year old girl, and winking.
A ten dollar bill slipped into my hands.
So this is him after eight measly drinks, and here I am putting whatever damned tip I want on it3; but it probably was going to be 10 percent.
It’s 2:49 am: 11 minutes until I can pull drinks.4 11 fucking minutes. It’s been a long night and the gallons of throw up (crusted all-ready-been-digested nachos sloshed around with a tequila shot salt and lime and a bud light) lining the urinals is on my mind. Along with the steaming puddle of piss that somehow always ends up in the corner of the men’s room. Let your imagination wander.
When alcohol hits his brain-it hits in in a certain order. Each area of the brain is affected in a different way. As a rule, it hits the back of his brain first: the cerebral cortex. According to Freud, this is the “superego”. Basically, this means it regulates his behavior- so the area of his brain keeping him in check is now poisoned. Basically, this means I’m fucked.
“I’m not paying my tab until you show me your boobs.”
I’m laughing ‘cause I’m hoping it’s a joke.
He should be hoping it’s a joke.
And I’m laughing.
“I need a card or cash. How do you want to pay for this, sir?” Ice lines my throat and the laughing has stopped.
“Well, look-y here, I’m not paying for these here drinks unless you show me them tits.” His sweet Alabama drawl trying to disguise his true nature.
I lean over the table languidly. Forcefully shove the tab under his nose.
“Card or cash?”
His gluttonous body is leaking out of the sides of his chair. His small head turns and looks at me with those beadlike eyes dug far back into his skull-
“Show me. Your boobs.”
Still leaned over with the tab in my hand, I look him straight his eyes, “The cleavage you can see right now is all you’ll ever get.”
As his eyes shoot down, I push myself up, re-gathering my dignity, stick my hand out and wait:
I count the Mississippis in my head. Trying not to let the tears spill down on my clenched cheeks.
So, who knows how much he has had tonight. Wobbling around the lean bar5 in his dirty white tee shirt and pastel colored shorts. Looking like a mix between a redneck and a frat guy. Every girl’s prince charming. Skinny, but towering, dirty blonde, disheveled hair.
I am really trying not to make eye contact.
The laughs and screams- cries and roars- animal noises, rush through the doors.
And the doors are shut. 200 zoo capacity.
Five drinks in my hands: Vodka Cranberry with a lime. Vodka Soda with a lemon and a lime. Glenlivet on the rocks. Two Washington Apple shots. And 200 people to wade through to get these out.
Sweat and tears brushing by on my journey. And there he is. I don’t look up, “Excuse me.”
The alcohol will eventually hit the limbic system: the hippocampus and septal area of the brain. This is what causes him to have memory loss. This is also what causes his emotions to lose control: they become easily exaggerated when this part of the brain is poisoned. Then when, the alcohol hits the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, his sexual desires increase out the ass. Unluckily for him, his sexual performance decreases. All of this mixed together creates a fantastic cocktail.
It happens all at once. I’m more focused on not spilling my drinks than the placement of his hands.
“Excuse me!” I’m trying to fucking work here.
My eyes look up and meet his. He smiles an open, dumb smile, cocks his head to the side, swings his long, pale, thin arms. Not a thought, but just an emotion of fear races through my head. His hands are closing in around the back of my neck. They’re clasping tighter and tighter. I can feel his cold skin on me. Struggling. Moving forward. Backward. Side to side. He is pushing my face towards his. His strength over powers my own, as he is leaning in for the kill. I push my neck back as far as I can, finally out maneuvering him. I run to the front forgetting my drinks: the vodkas, the scotch, and the shots.
Shaking, the anger fills up inside of me. The tears finally spill.
“Thank you for calling. This is Carol. How may I help you?”
1 Stiffed: No tip. Meaning I work for free. Or 2.13 an hour( taxes.)
2 Zero dollars and you can gawk all you want. Come one, come all! Anything is acceptable.
3 When a customer walks out on his tab every smart waitress or bartender will have already swiped thir card-saving all their credit card information. You push a button and are able to sign a 20 percent tip to walk outs. Occasionally when a customer is a colossal asshole, the waitress or bartender will tear up the slip, and make it up.
4 It is illegal to have a drink in your hand in the state of TN at or after 3 am. It is my job to go around and take every drink. People react well to this.
5 We strategically placed a small strip of wood through the middle of the bar for drunken folks to put out their cigarettes, set their drinks, or hold themselves up. This is the lean bar.