The time is right, now that I’m safely away from the Fawlty Pines resort, to describe my last shift. I won’t use real names but those that know will know and those that don’t…are lucky.
It was a dark and stormy night. Down in the dishpit I was feeding the dishes from the closing party into the jaws of the Machine when I heard two females engaged in verbal acrimony over by the door to the dining room. I recognized the voices and cringed, praying to the Machine that I wouldn’t have to get involved and there would be fewer scattered body parts than last time.
‘But WHY can’t we have a fire” shrilly demanded the Younger One, sounding like a drunken, outraged five year old.
“Because it will CAUSE TROUBLE.” hissed the Older One and I could sense the snakes in her hair writhing in rage and frustration.
“But, but..” sobbed the Younger One “All the troublemakers are gone and we just want to have a fire and, and…”.
“ENOUGH!” screamed the Older One “There will be NO FIRE!!!!”.
With relief I heard the younger one flee into the rainy night. But then I heard the footsteps of the Tiny Perfect Boyfriend as he came in and confronted the Older One.
“Why is MY GIRLFRIEND outside CRYING in the rain?” he barked with outrage and testosterone.
“Talk to the Under Troll” responded the older one tiredly and left, thank God.
The Under Troll dealt with situations where a thick skin, a surly attitude and a large build were useful and he told the TPB “Because she got told you guys couldn’t have a fire” in a no-nonsense tone.
“And why can’t we have a fire?” shot back the TPB.
“Because we don’t want a bunch of drunken stoners burning the place down and raping the dogs.” grated the Under Troll.
This went on for a while longer but eventually the TPB threw up his hands and left. The Under Troll helped me feed the Machine and left and I was left alone in the Kitchen of the Night until 2am when I left to meet the bus. According to the plan, at that time, a hired school bus was supposed to return bearing the tired but happy and grateful employees back from a jolly evening of bowling and good natured merriment in town. On arrival I was to prevent them from scurrying into the night to have sex in the guest cabins, rioting for beer or whatever and generally see that the herd was bedded down.
In the event the 4 or 5 sullen, grumpy and exhausted slaves who had gone into town said “Fuck this for a game of darts” and tried to persuade the school bus driver to take them back to camp around midnight. He refused and they caught a cab arriving back about 1am.
Of course, I didn’t know this and as I stood beneath a pine tree in a deserted parking lot at 2am watching the rain drip off the front of my hood and singing ‘The Green Hills of Harmony” I wondered where they were. I didn’t worry because standing in a parking lot in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night in the rain was a lot more fun than scrubbing a kitchen and most of those who had gone in were assholes anyway. So I stood there for quite a while and then heard some banging and thumping coming from the direction of the lake.
“Fuck” I thought “it’s those assholes from the underwater drug lab coming ashore again”, got a good grip on the heavy Flashlight of Justice and headed down the parking lot to investigate. As I approached the end by the lake I was surprised by two figures emerging from the rain and darkness into the glow of the parking lot lights. It was the Younger One and the Tiny Perfect Boyfriend looking like a combination of red haired Camping Ken and Barbie and drowned rats.
“Hello” they said.
“Are you guys alright? What happened?” I said.
They alternately hissed and cursed an explanation. They had set off in a canoe with the Sous Chef, a supercilious douchebag of the first division, to seek out a campsite off the resort property and build a fire free from the Older One’s fascist anti-fire edict. After building a fire and sitting in the rain for a while they got back in their canoe. Or rather, they attempted to get back in but the Sous Chef tipped the canoe and dumped them all into the lake.
I listened in bemusement as the TPB vehemently gave his opinion of the Sous Chef’s skill as a canoeist and then my eyes widened as the Sous Chef himself emerged, dripping, into the lamplight behind the TPB. By his expression he had obviously heard it all and for a moment I wondered if they were going to light into each other but they simply exchanged a few obscenity laced incivilities and flounced off into the rainy night leaving me laughing to myself.
After that, mopping the floor for the last time was an anti-climax but it did give me a chance to reflect on the many night shifts I’d spent at Fawlty Pines and regretfully wish I’d pissed in the stockpot when I’d had the chance.