I easily connected to Rashawn. He and I shared the same political views and our origin was Michigan, there will be more of Rashawn later in the blog. The more we talked, the more we clicked. I also learned about Lucky, the seventy-one year old "resident dirty old man", (this is said in jest and I was given permission to use "resident dirty old man" from Lucky himself).
Lucky moved with cat like agility. He was average height but moved like he was a thirty year old clambering up the corporate ladder to become CEO. He had a perverted sense of humor, which I adored, because, why not? He taught me some of the ropes in the kitchen. Remember I hadn't set foot in this hellish arena, other than cooking for my wife and kids, since fucking high school.
Lucky usually partnered with Zina, a sweet older lady who prepped all morning long. I was envious of both the seniors because they had, what seemed, more spunk than me. My first Tuesday working at the grill was an eye opener. It was BINGO night!
Lucky forewarned that BINGO night required more than two people, but as chance would have it, there were "just the two of us". Darryl had given the directive that I should "run the board" and get comfortable doing so. He also gave me my first of a few pieces of feedback, "be sure to be loud so everyone knows what's on the tickets." Running the board was taking tickets, sharing out loud what was on said ticket, and preparing sandwiches, burgers and the like.
It was quarter to five, there were a few tickets that had printed, and between Lucky and me, we pushed the orders out. The entire moment was the calm before the storm.
BINGO people were a superstitious breed. They showed up in the ball room usually adorned in the same golf pants, checkered or striped, wore a polo shirt, or the same outfit that helped them win the last time they played. Not only did they wear the same clothes they sat in the same spot and they ordered the same FUCKING food, EVERY Tuesday.
Let me put it this way, to quote Rashawn, "you got your ass handed to you." That was an understatement. I never hated the Rueben (feminine version made with turkey, called the Rachel) so fucking much. Every fucking person in that ballroom, playing bingo ordered a shit ton of Reuben's!
Order after order printed, the sound of that small little black dot matrix machine continued to spit ticket after ticket. Lucky was running behind me, dropping fries, sweet potato fries and southwest eggrolls into the fryers. He also prepared every tray of nacho and salad. The writer in me imagined the old wrinkly fingers of the Bingo-going fifty-five plus community eating the greasy shit and assisting in the clog of their arteries. That imagery in my head helped me take deep breaths, keep calm, and get the job done.
Lucky proved that not all seniors are created equally. I also realized that it was so busy that I'd never have to worry about sinking, because I handled it. I sweat profusely and in my previous winters in the humid climate of Florida, I dripped with the salty substance. Arizona had handed me the "dry heat" that everyone talks about. During that first Tuesday, BINGO-ass handed to me-night, I didn't break a sweat, and that, my friends, for a fat sweaty tall guy, was a godsend.
I was settling into the team that I'd work with over the next five months, and I was excited, nervous, but with a mindset that I could do it. There would be plenty other moments of my "ass being handed to me", but that's another blog entry. Thanks for reading.
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Tim Eagle is an author of the novellas Stolen Seed and Krae. He lives full time, on the road, with his wife, Maria and their dog, Cocoa. He grew up in Michigan and is inspired by the dysfunction, insanity, and nepotism of rural America. His books are available on Amazon, godless and this site timeaglefiction.com Thanks for reading, tune in next week for the next chapter...