I’m going to pick up right where I left off with this story from last week because there is still plenty to tell. First though, let me explain that I didn’t mean to come off in Part 1 as if I’m one of those crazy PETA people. I’m not picketing outside of pet supply stores on my days off, or spray painting red circles with a slash through them on the back of people’s coats. Don’t get me wrong, I do love animals, but some animals I love best when I’m ordering them off a restaurant menu for my own carnivorous enjoyment. Look, I’m sorry, but I love my seat at the top of the food chain and I will continue to enjoy all of the perks that come along with it.

Now to bring you up to speed, when we finished last week, I was busing the table of a real life Cruella DeVille. She was an incredibly mean lady whose only display of pride was ostentatiously displayed by her fur coat draped over the back of her chair. Math was never my strong suit, but my guess would be that the cost of this coat would have fed a village in a third world country for about a year. And since we’ve taken a slight turn with my poignant math tangent, I would like to take this time to reiterate, and confirm a prophetic statement I made to my algebra teacher in 1987. Miss O, I am now 44 years old, and I still have not once had to use algebra since your class. So if memory serves me right, I won our bet.

Now back to Ms. Deville. I spent as much time as I could at this table mostly so I could grope this nasty lady’s coat as much as possible. In fact, I think that if all that mink had suddenly come back to life, it would have been within its rights to press charges against me. I mentioned last week that I even rubbed my face on it. Well I did, more than once. Despite my current status as a Milwaukee’s Best sweating, Marlboro red smelling, teenage acne covered, low level food service employee, I burrowed my mug in there as deep as I could. I wanted to make sure that every time this evil woman wrapped her wrinkly self in her beastly blanket, she had just a little hint of the essence of busboy. It would be just enough that I could subconsciously torture her. And what could be more vile to her than the occasional whiff of lower middle class Catholic boy emanating from her most prized possession.

The party had just finished their salad course and I was removing the plates from the table and getting them ready for their entrees to arrive. I was stacking plates in one hand and carrying other items in the other. One of those items was what we used to call a gooseneck. But you probably know it more commonly as a gravy boat. It was silver and had a pour spout on one end and a handle on the other. We used these when people required their sauce or dressing on the side, which of course the mink slayer did. The ‘everything on the side’ diner wasn’t nearly as prevalent in the 80’s as the pestilence they’ve become today, but they did exist.

**Another quick side bar for ladies who are still dating and haven’t quite found the right guy yet. Though we are admittedly the inferior species, we are not all as stupid as you may think. One piece of evidence to support this fact is that we pretty much always take you to dinner on a first date. The reason we do this is because you can tell everything you need to know about a person by how they order their food and how they treat their server. So if you’re the type that will build your own dish despite all the effort the chef has put into creating a menu, demand everything on the side, well done, or with multiple substitution, or better yet, lie about food allergies just because you don’t care for a certain ingredient, all the while belittling your waiter, well, girl, you had better be smoking hot and perfectly stacked or you will not be getting a call back.  That was this week’s public service announcement. You’re welcome.**

Now getting back to the story; perhaps our most popular salad dressing was our homemade Roquefort dressing. It was a thick, gooey, chunky, creamy, blue cheesey, super pungent mess, but it was delicious. I was removing a gooseneck of this icky concoction from the table in front of the beast master. Needless to say it was still almost completely full because it wasn’t up to Queen Fur Fanny’s standards.

For the next ten seconds of my life, it seemed as if time stood still. Even as I sit here now at my desk remembering it, it’s in slow motion. It seemed like an eternity. I was removing 2 goosenecks from the table with my right hand, one of which was Madame’s. As I breached her right shoulder I felt my finger slip. The one holding the Roquefort tilted forward and its contents began to cascade down into the animal hide. Most of you figured out where this was going at least a paragraph ago. Now it’s confirmed for you. Before I could right the tiny little ship, it was empty. And not a single drop of it found its way to the floor. I had inadvertently doused this mink with about a 5 foot long trail of funky bleu cheese from collar to bottom. In an instant, mink was converted to skunk, and Cruella was now Pepe Le Pew. I never realized how many ounces those boats held until I was looking down at how much had to be professionally combed out. Holy crap!

I panicked! I froze for a second and my eyes got as big as one of the Jim Davis characters in a Garfield cartoon. I had already mentally processed the gravity of the situation, and now my concern was for my own repercussions. I quickly realized that (miraculously) no one had seen this happen, and better still, no one had noticed yet. I tried to regain my composure and quickly finished busing the table. I got back to the kitchen as fast as I could and said nothing to anyone. I knew that I had to have an overwhelming look of pure guilt about me that I had to get rid of.

The minutes that followed are pretty blurry in my memory. I don’t recall exactly what happened, but I would venture to guess that more than likely, I went out back, hid behind the dumpster and got high. This way I would be emotionally sound when confronted with this issue upon my return to the scene of the crime. Oh come on now, some of you just turned on me. You can’t start judging me now; we’ve been through too much together. You’ve stuck by me through stories about bodily functions, shingles, underwear stealing raccoons, Easter bunny bashing, a couple of child births, and traumatic experiences in the shower with my daughter. You can’t turn on me now because of a theoretical joint that I hypothetically may or may not have smoked 3 decades ago as a teenage boy. Or I just made it up and threw it in for garnish. I’m not running for office or driving your kids to school, I’m a freakin humorist.

With my head now right, I returned to my post. Other than the faint hint of animal dander blended with moldy cheese wafting through the air, everything seemed normal. Miraculously, nobody had noticed yet what I had done. In fact, they would get through 3 more courses and pay the check before it was noticed as they got up from the table. Suffice it to say that all Hell broke loose. The waitress and manager were summoned and berated, but no one ever asked for the busboy. So of course I cowered in the corner until it was all over. The waitress just assumed that she had done it and took all of the blame. Again, this was one of those opportunities in life to do the right thing; an opportunity that I of course squandered and chose instead to throw her right under the bus. I had a myriad of thoughts and emotions running through my head in just a few seconds. Then I remembered that this was the girl who every night when she tips us out gives the same overly contrived speech about how crappy her night was and how many kids she has at home. So it made my decision easier than you would think.

I was never once questioned about the incident. It never came up again in my presence, and I never breathed a word about it until now. I’m not proud of it, but I have once again confessed.

Thanks for playing along. Until next week, Syd Nichols

Thoughts and input welcome at sydnichols@yahoo.com