Yesterday, a man came down from the mountain and into the restaurant where I work. Somewhere along his way down, he must've busted his mason jar of spirits, because when he walked in, our conversation went like this:
Me: "Sir, would you like a table or a booth?"
Sir: "I want some liquor."
In response to which, I ushered him into the bar.
He ordered what was later described by the general manager as a "triple shot," and I assume not of warm milk, though he promptly fell asleep, sitting up right, after a fashion, at the bar. He nodded off for a while, and we all did little more than gaze at him every now and then and chuckle.
That was up until he woke up and took his shirt off.
I was not privy to the removal process, which must have
[Excuse me, I just interrupted myself in order to Google search "Why would a cat eat litter?" (Apparently my cat has a mineral deficiency and/or is stressed.)]
been quite the spectacle because he really was rather drunk. I don't know how I missed it, but at some point I turned around and the bartender pointed out to me that the man had indeed become unfrocked.
In response to this, I widened my eyes and began a very mechanical emergency-walk toward the back of the restaurant. I approached the manager and informed her that I had abandoned the host stand (which, in hindsight, was an overly-obvious proclamation), and furthermore would not return to the host stand until the now naked bar guest had retired from office. I stated very firmly that I could not, would not, should not man the host stand until the man had gone. The flash of skin I had seen in the brief second I observed it was pale, and tattooed, and as I had already been exposed to more incidents of man-nipple than I care to see for the rest of my life, I considered this latest glimpse a gruesome affront. Then I snatched the bubble-wrap out of her hand, positioned myself in front of the security video screen, and began nervously popping the air bubbles in the bubble wrap while I waited for either the man to leave, the man to be forcibly removed, or Armageddon, whichever came first.
Another manager got on the phone with the police, who took an outrageously long time to respond to a Naked Mountain Man distress call. So long, in fact, that I was ordered back to the host stand to attend to the guests who were, inexplicably, still entering the restaurant. I have since been informed that we in fact did not send up a Warning: Naked Mountain Man On The Premises flare to ward them off.
I put my back to a wall where I could watch the door yet also not be seen by the Naked Mountain Man, who had begun cursing. He was very irritated by our manager's attempts to persuade him to redress himself. He began fiddling with his half-on shirt, also with his very baggy, not entirely buckled, zipped, or otherwise cinched pants.
Eventually, a policeman arrived, to whom I rendered signals by vigorously pointing and widening my eyes. He took Mountain Man out into the lobby, then sat him on a bench just to the side of the front door of the restaurant, where the Mountain Man claimed that he would wait for a ride. He was still waiting there when I left for the day.*
When I got home, there was what looked, at first, like a dead rat in the middle of the parking lot outside my apartment complex. A furry, orange rat. Then, I remembered the desperate mewing I had heard a couple days before. I had tried to find the source of it, but was unsuccessful. This, then, was the result of my failure to find and help the kitten. My heart suffered yet another craggy crack. I went upstairs, called down to the office, and requested that someone come get the little body. The maintenance man arrived, along with animal control, cages lined up on top of their truck. I wondered how I could've possibly communicated that all that might be necessary.
Then I burned up my chicken rice with bean sprouts stir-fry thing I had tried to make. Apparently you can burn the seasoning off of a cast iron skillet, which makes it nearly impossible to cook with, and this is what I have done, which adds detrimentally to the fact that I cannot cook in the first place. What I ate tasted like scorched bits of burnt. I ate it anyway because it was in my bowl, and I was tired.
All in all, it was a pretty unnerving day.
But, but! At the end of it, my poem that I have been waiting to see posted at the highly-relevantly titled website "The Nervous Breakdown" appeared. The poem is called "Wedding Day."
Please go read it here.
*Today, I received an update from my coworkers that the police were called for a second time after the Mountain Man began to take off his shoes and socks while waiting on the porch of our restaurant for his ride to arrive. At that point, our bartender informed the cop that he suspected the Mountain Man had stolen his cell phone. The policeman performed what our manager called "a shake down" and the cell phone was indeed produced.