Dantellos looked like a wasteland during the middle of the day and it wasn’t odd to find Eduardo or Rojas sleeping in one of the booths out front once they had finished their prep work for the day. But today it was Tony the assistant manager that was crashed out in a booth looking like a cast member of CSI, one of the ones on a slab.
“Wake up you stinky bitch.” Jay said half with a smile and half angry. Tony was a young single guy in his mid-twenties that still had that metabolism of a young man before the mid-30s deflate that Jay had already experienced where you wake up one day and you swear you can see the exact weight of a cheeseburger sitting inside of your stomach and you could no longer drink your body weight in grain alcohol and still work a lunch rush the next day. No, Tony had not yet suffered that fate and he still had no responsibilities except his big ridiculous 4-wheel drive truck that he made a house payment on monthly. So Jay could only be a bit angry at him for doing what he should at this point in his life. Maybe someday soon he would find a woman as good as Beth and his life would find a good direction.
“Oh man the tequilas they fight in my brain like the Chupacabra.” Tony replied then rolled his face towards the inside of the bench and finished his mid-day siesta.
Jay walked to the kitchen and saw Eduardo standing in front of a cutting board full of freshly cut bell peppers frantically typing into his phone, it was like he had some way of telekinetically getting all of his work done while he was always on his phone. Jay often wondered if he had an app for prep work and if so how much it cost.
“Has the puto been asleep all day?” he asked him.
“No he work good through rush only throw up twice, maybe next time he won’t try to chase a real man in shots.” He smiled and went back to his phone.
“Thanks a lot Ese, you knew he was opening today.”
“He’s a grown big man he can handle it.”
Jay went into the office grabbed his checklist and began to do the daily inventory he knew Tony had not done.
The dinner rush started a little early around 6 instead of 7 and lasted until a little after 8 leaving a few frat boy douchebags watching a basketball game on the flat screen, Jay assumed their team wasn’t doing well because more than a few times they let out a collective moan that sounded something like a farm animal being forcibly sodomized.
“You’re daughter go out of town with her friend boss?” Eduardo asked looking up from his phone for only a second.
“Yeah she’s in Arizona for a week with her friend.”
“You got to open tomorrow amigo?”
“No Tony’s opening.” Jay knew where this was going and he was more than willing.
“So tonight we get a couple of beers and I take your money at pool?”
“Yes beers, yes pool, no betting because I’m already broke.”
They finished up the night, did the prep for the morning team and shut Dantello’s a little after 11 and headed to the bar at the end of the strip center. Smithies wasn’t the greatest bar but they got a discount and it was close enough that as long as he wasn’t too hammered Jay could make the mile long drive back to his place unscathed and if he did have a few too many a cab was less than 10 bucks after tip. They ordered one Corona and one shot of tequila each and grabbed a pool table in the back. The great thing about this bar was that the pool room was usually at about half the volume of the front of house so you could actually hold a conversation with the person you were playing with without having to snuggle up to their ear. It even had a few vintage arcade games that on more than one occasion Jay had spent time with when all of the work at Dantello’s was done. Sometimes there was nothing better than a mid-day beer and an hour of uninterrupted Galaga to do an old soul good.
“Hey amigo maybe tonight you take a skank home since your daughters out of town.”
“Noooo, thanks little man but I don’t need some psycho skank knowing where I live.”
“Then go to her place”
“You know that sounds like an absolute blast amigo but maybe I’ll pass.” Jay hadn’t bothered trying to be lucky in love since his wife had died; in fact he was sure that that part of him had died as well. He had his daughter, his Xbox and his job why did he need to try to find a woman, he had already found the perfect one and the rest would just be like a dressed up Volkswagen when he had already driven a McLaren F1.
He ordered another beer and another shot, lost another game of pool to Eduardo that was closer than usual and packed it in for the night a little after midnight. He walked into the front door of the little house he had once shared with his wife and now was currently completely empty except for him for the rest of the week. He went into the kitchen, reached into the fridge and pulled out a Bud Light that had probably been in there a year and nursed it as he wandered off to bed. He put an old movie on his computer and laid it on the dresser to stare at as he passed out and then quickly nodded off.