Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fun and Games

Work was really slow tonight. I mean, we never really have a full bar (unless it’s a weekend) but we probably had three people (besides the regulars) come in over 4 hours. Cara and I eventually found a deck of cards in the back and started playing “Go Fish” with Brad. Tony made us all some grilled cheese sandwiches and joined Bruno in the back with some of the regulars.

“So what did you do before this, Faith?” Cara asked.

“I used to be an HR rep.” I said, “But I decided it wasn’t for me.”

“I don’t think I could fire someone.” Cara said.

“It’s hard. I definitely don’t envy people, like Bruno, who will inevitably have to do it at some point.”

“I can’t imagine Bruno firing anyone.” She said.

“He has.” Brad chimed in, “Do you have a ten, Faith?”

“Go fish. Who did he fire?”

“The person you replaced.”

“Angela wasn’t fired.” Cara said.

“Oh, yes she was.” Brad said.

“Do you have a six, Brad?” I asked.

“Yeah.” He tossed the card to me, “Bruno kept finding money missing from the cash register and it always lined up with her shifts. Plus, she was fired for stealing money from a previous job.”

“Why did Bruno hire her in the first place?” I asked.

“He didn’t find out about it until after he fired her.”

“Angela told me that she quit because Bruno was withholding her tips.” Cara said.

“Do you honestly think Bruno would do that? He might be a hard ass, Cara, but he’s fair. We always get the amount of money we worked for. Bruno is obsessive when it comes to the books and he treats us like family. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him to fire Angela, she’d worked for him for two years; he treated her like a daughter.”

Cara shrugged and I ended up winning that round of “Go Fish.”

“Let’s play Black Jack.” Brad said.

“It’s not fun with nothing to gamble.” Cara said.

“We could do it like truth or dare. Whoever wins gets to come up with a truth or dare question for the person of their choice.”

“Are we in high school?” I mocked.

“Come on, what else are we going to do?” Brad said.

“It could be fun.” Cara shrugged and poured me a soda.

“Fine.” I sighed, “I’m bringing a stash of magazines next shift so we never have to resort to this again.”

We played for awhile and it was fun. Brad won the first hand and chose Cara, who picked truth. Brad asked her if she’d ever stolen anything.

“I stole a pen from Walgreens once. I was 8 and it was a rainbow-colored feather pen. My mom found it and made me return it with an apology.”

I won the second hand, chose Brad, and dared him to tie a cherry stem in a knot with his tongue. He did it in under a minute.

Cara won the third round and asked Brad to show us his most private piercing.

“Whoa!” Cara said.

“Did that hurt?” I asked.

“I put ice on it before they put the needle through it.”

“I would not have been able to get the second one done.” Cara said.

“Eh, well, when it comes to nipple rings, you should really get both…for symmetry, you know. Plus, the four beers I’d had before helped with the courage.” Brad smiled.

“Alright, guys, I’m off. I’ll see you tomorrow. Maybe I’ll bring a board game.”

Cara waved and departed. Brad and I still had another two hours before we could close up the bar. We stopped playing cards and eventually just ended up playing truth or dare and alternating turns.

“Truth.” I said.

“Have you ever dated anyone you work with?”

“Yes. I dated my boss once. Truth or dare?”

“Truth.” Brad said.

“Have YOU ever dated anyone you work with?”

“No. But I want to.”

“Cara is pretty cute.” I said.

“Truth or dare?” Brad said.

“Dare.” I said.

“Kiss me.”

Brad leaned in to me but I put my hand on his face, pushed him away, and started laughing.

“No. We are SO not doing this.”

“Oh, come on, one kiss.”

“You realize this is sexual harassment?” I said.

“You know you want to.”

“In your dreams.” I said taking a sip of my soda.

“If you only knew.”

“Oh, GROSS.” I said hitting him on the arm playfully.

“You’ll kiss me eventually.” He floated away to go get a beer for one of the regulars in the back and I feel stupid for smiling after he left.

“Dream on.” I shouted back.

Flirting with Brad is fun and he’s not hard on the eyes.

Friday, February 24, 2012


I’ve been at work for about a week now. My first day Bruno introduced me to my co-workers.

First, Bruno is always around but most of the time he’s upstairs in the office watching football or in the back lounge room with his favorite customers. Bruno is an older, fatherly-like guy who kind of seems like he would have mob connections, if I’m being honest. He calls me sweetheart but not in a condescending way and I like him a lot. He’s a helpful guy who really cares about his community; for example, he offers to keep house keys for people in the community in case they get locked out of their apartments late at night, there’s a giant cupboard of hundreds of keys in the back.

Brad is the guy I will mostly be working with and he’s a more experienced bartender so he’s sort of like my boss in a really, really informal way. Brad is a 25 year old rocker guy and has spiky black hair, wears leather wrist bands, band tees, studded pants and paints his fingernails black. He’s kind of hot, to be honest, in a bad-boy way.

Cara is also someone I am usually going to be working with but she’s not actually a bartender. She’s training to be one and Bruno is letting her apprentice in the bar. Her actual title is a bar back. Mostly she brings stuff from the stockroom so we don’t run out of anything at the bar and occasionally she waitresses to make more money when the kitchen is open. Cara is a cute 21 year old who attends school full time in addition to working at Bruno’s. She kind of looks like Amy from Futurama; black hair, cute button nose, and she’s super sweet, kind of like a little sister.

Tony is the cook in the back but saying I work at a restaurant or even a bar and grill is stretching it. We sell what essentially amounts to bowling alley food: onion rings, cheese burgers, fries, nachos, fried mushrooms, mozzarella sticks, etc. But Tony is a whiz in the kitchen and will make stuff for the staff that’s not on the menu. Last night he made me a grilled cheese that was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

“It’s the cheese,” He told me when I started swooning at how good it was, “I use a mixture of Harvati, Fontina, and smoked cheddar. Then I use a garlic herb butter to toast up the bread in the pan.”

Um, YUM.

Tony is a tall black man about the same age as Bruno. They grew up together and are close friends. We don’t get a lot of food orders, so Tony is usually hanging out with Bruno in the office or in the back lounge room. Brad told me that Bruno’s never used to serve food but Tony lost his job in the recession and was struggling to find any work to support his family (he’s got a wife and two kids in college) so Bruno offered him a job and bought a deep fryer (hence all the fried food we serve) and a very small grill. It actually turned out to be a great business plan because the bar is right next to one of the college campuses in this city and we get a TON of college kids coming in on the weekends who are drunk and hungry; apparently what we sell appeals to the binge-drinking twenty-something masses.

I like the vibe at Bruno’s and even though I don’t make nearly enough for rent or anywhere close to what I used to and I’ll need to get another job as soon as I settle in here, I feel like I fit in. I also like that I can dress casually for work. It was sometimes such a pain to have to wear nice, professional clothes to work every day.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Time Out

I’ve taken a break from writing for awhile but I’ve missed all of my readers. A lot has happened in the near-month I’ve been away, too. Although I tried to give everyone a generous severance package at work, that money doesn’t go very far and as a result I have been frantically searching for jobs (and getting turned down at every turn). BUT I was finally hired yesterday. It’s not in HR and I don’t think I’ll ever be returning to that world. I’ll be working at Bruno’s neighborhood bar, or lovingly referred to by all of the regulars simply as Bruno’s. I bartended in college and it was the only job I could get after searching for over a month. I’m grateful to have this job, even though my budget is definitely going to have to be put on a diet. I start next week.

Because money is tight I’ve been looking at apartments that are cheaper than the one I’m in now. I crunched the numbers and paying the rent in my current apartment is just going to be impossible if I want to be able to buy groceries without dipping into my savings (which is actually going to be used to pay off my student loans repayments until I get a second job). So, I’m looking for an apartment. That takes cats.
The girls have been put on alert and have been on the lookout for any open apartments they see. So far, I haven’t had much luck finding an apartment that meets my ideal rent payment, takes cats, and is also livable. It’s like I only get to pick two out of those three things. I’m discouraged but I’m hopeful that I’ll find something.

Stormy came over the other day to watch the new Project Runway: All Stars.

“Where’s Tim?” He asked.

“Stormy, we’ve been through this. Tim isn’t on the All Stars season.”

“But…Tim is the best part of the show.”

“You’ll live.”

Personally, I’m Team Mondo. Stormy keeps changing teams because all of his people keep getting kicked off.

“Fine, I’m Team Mondo, too.”

“No.” I said.

“What? Why?”

“Because every time you choose a team they get kicked off and I want Mondo to win. If you join Team Mondo he’ll get kicked off. Pick Austin or something.”

Stormy threw a pillow at me. I told him about my new job when the pizza came.

“Gross, a bar?”

“It’s all I could find, okay? Plus, I don’t think HR is my thing anymore.”

“Why?” He reached for a slice.

“Because firing people is too hard for me. I don’t want to go through everything that happened again. I can’t.”

“If it makes you feel any better, I think the majority of us are doing okay.”


“Yeah. I got that freelance job I told you about-”

“Yeah but it’s not under your actual name.” I snorted.

Stormy looked at me with confusion, “Uh…yeah it is.”

I started choking on my pizza because I was so confused.

“What? Your name isn’t Adam.” I said recalling the name I saw on his most recent article.

“Do you really think my real name is STORMY?” He started laughing.

“Wait, so I’ve been calling you by the wrong name for like a year?”

“Closer to two, really.”

“How did I not know this? Why didn’t you correct me?”

“Faith, Stormy Allen was just a name I used for the station and when they opened up the paper it was just so people would try to be sold on the paper by the brand of that name. It’s just a showbiz name. Lots of people do it.”

“So…should I call you Adam now?”

“You can if you want.” He shrugged, “You’re the only one from the paper who still calls me Stormy. For the record.”


I threw a pillow at him and then grabbed my cell phone.

“What are you doing?” He asked.

“Editing your name in my contacts.” I shot him a dirty look and he started laughing again.

“Anyway,” he continued, “most of us are doing okay. I got that free lance job, Steve is working as an assistant to a publicist, Tom is working at that women’s magazine with your friends, and Suzy and Dina both got picked up at the same daily newspaper ours used to compete with. You shouldn’t worry about us.”

“Still, I don’t think HR is for me. I’m going to try some things out, do some research, and keep my options open.”

“By working at a bar?”

“I had to get something and Bruno offered me the job. It’s not like I was getting offers from other places, Stor- Adam.”

He raised his eyebrow at me and smiled.

“It’s weird.” I said, “I feel like my whole world has been turned upside down. I can’t believe you didn’t tell me what your real name was until now.”

“I think you’ll get over it.” He said.

“What kind of name is Stormy, anyway? If you think about it, you should have just stuck with your real name.”

“I don’t know, it sounded cool?”

“Ugh, you’re such a dude.”

“Shhh, Tim Gunn might show up any second.”

“No, he won’t. Just let it go.”

“No, the dream is still alive.”

We couldn’t stop laughing for the rest of the night. It’s nice to just hang out with Adam and not have it be weird. It’s kind of weird how much renewal I’ve had since ending things with Sean. It feels nice, actually.