What a crazy place this was to work. So stoned... so drunk... so stressed...
The owners of this place, Bill and Mike, had been given this place to run by their mother who owned another bar up in Cupertino. I think it was to try and make them settle down but ultimately, it failed. They were NOT ready to be in control of a bar.
In so far as substance abuse goes, these two brothers put frat houses to shame--truly, if they weren't drunk one could safely assume that folks were shivering in Hell. Seriously, there would be times in which no one but employees would be present in the building for large spans of time because the ENTIRE staff was out back puffing a bowl.
Before I worked here I used to come in to write and drink coffee. It was actually the first place I really started writing poetry on a regular basis. I liked the chaos, it helped me focus. I was the underage fixture there.
Being a dishwasher wasn't all that bad, in general, as it kept me pretty much to myself and without having to interact with the public, unless I wanted to. Besides, there is something vaguely pleasant about working with hot water and soap.
My shifts, unfortunately, were terrible: I worked the closing shift on the weekends when all other bars were closing at 2 AM we would stay open until 4 AM. Or 5 AM... depending on how much drunken-fun Mike or Bill might be having. The rush between two and four would be so big that I would have to lead with nasty ketchup covered dishes just to get people to squeeze in and let me get back to the kitchen. It was Hellish in its predictable, repetitious, pain-in-the-ass nature of it. One could set one's watch by the sudden burst of business that would gorge the place.
There was this cook, Jeff that I worked with a lot. Short, squat, greasy guy who claimed to be the ex-bassist of T.S.O.L. "before they made it big" (which I never verified, but simply assume was pure bullshit). Jeff was a little "off" in the ex-hardcore-punk-metalhead kind of way--all aggro, dark and hyper-enthusiastic... a brute.
He had this war going on with the mice that had invaded the building. I don't mean he had some little grudge against them, or that he was upset by their presence--no, I mean a full fledge war, in all it's sick ugliness.
I walk into the kitchen one day with a full bus-tub of dishes and he is standing, facing me, pointing at the stove-area. He is standing with a slingshot pulled back, poised to fire.
"DONT MOVE!" he yells in an exaggerated whisper.
"Uhhh, yeah okay." So I stand there as he is fixated on a point behind me over my shoulder.
"Man, this is getting heavy Jeff."
"WON?T be long...."
I kinda try to look real impatient, but he IS holding a projectile weapon, best not to make any sudden movements.
Suddenly he says, "Little mother-" BOOM he releases "-FUCKER!" and I hear this high pitched squeal. He bolts toward it. I set the dish-tub down at last and hear him yelling at the mouse how he "finally got it", how the "little bastard" was "gonna pay", etc. I start washing up the load of dishes and he disappears out back only to come quickly back in a few moments later.
"You wanna watch the little fucker die?" he was giddy and smiling.
"No man, I don't." I just looked down into the dishes as I washed them.
"You sure? I dropped him in the tallow barrel out back, I give him three minutes TOPS."
"No. I'm sure man. I don?t want to see that." Sick bastard.
"Okay!" and smiling he dashes back outside, I assume to watch the mouse drown in putrefying grease. So when I say he had a war going with the mice, I mean it in the foulest of senses. Disturbing. Really disturbing.
Of Mike and Bill: one time a friend of mine, Dave, lived with them and I was over one evening. Neither Dave nor I had any dope and we were 18, punks, and in desire of a high. We asked Mike and Bill if we could pick through their carpet for dope. They both laughed at us, called us "jonsers" and such. We ended up gathering about 2 grams of pot from the space between their couch and their table. See: they packed so many sloppy bong loads that we likely could have extracted another gram if we were bent on it. At seeing our spoils they ate crow and partook with us.
Eventually Mike's liver gave out, Bill later had to hit rehab and despite that, I would have stayed there for a long time if it weren't for that two to four rush.
Then again, considering how twisted the long-time employees were, perhaps it was probably for the best that I left.