It was them pancakes, that did him in. It’s true he was under stress, we all were. But that old rat bastard of a manager wouldn’t listen and put ’em on the menu anyway.
This place was filled with celebrities from all over the world back in the heyday.
It’s peeling at the edges now, and you can only see it’s original splendor if your eyes are bad or if you squint a lot.
Most of the old folk appreciate this place.
Still, if they are returning after decades, it always makes them sad.
You can’t go home, they always tell me.
Back in the height of its fame, the menu was extensive and offered everything from Escargot and Soufflé, to burgers and silver dollar pancakes.
Most of the food here comes out of the freezer or a can now. But back then, this place employed European chefs and there were never less than twenty-five men and women working in the kitchen.
On a busy night now, you won’t see more than seven, and one is the dishwasher who can step in as a fry cook in a pinch.
Let me know if you see the manager coming up behind me or anybody else getting close enough to hear, OK?
I just happen to think that at these prices, you are at least entitled to a little bit of history.
No, I wouldn’t recommend that.
Yes, the buffet IS legendary. It’s legendary for clogging our toilets if you know what I mean.
For awhile, even though we weren’t the raving success we had been, the food got simpler and the big room still had a homey feel.
Cook’s Tuesday Chili was popular. So were the Sloppy Joes on Thursday nights.
Now the room isn’t so big with the dance floor and everything.
Was THAT ever a fiasco!
Stupidest thing in the world, putting a dance floor in between the bar and dining room.
No, that is a print, Mr. Hope bought the original at the auction.
The first night I worked with the new dance floor it took me three tries to cross it with a Jack Daniel’s, neat.
See this scar? I got that the second time I tried to get across with the drink.
The cheap shot glass broke when some drunken Jr Exec knocked my tray with her white person dance.
Shithead made me go get a third drink and I hugged the edge of that dance floor like I was avoiding a puddle of poo.
The second I handed the drink off to my guest, she grabbed my arm while she knocked the shot back. She held up the glass and nodded. My face was bleeding and I was crying.
The lady’s face went soft and said, it’s ok. But it wasn’t because she still wanted another drink.
I don’t work dance nights anymore.
Shithead came to work here after the auction. He’s the owner’s nephew and had to appease some kind of parole conditions job wise. It’s a good thing too because nobody with a job to offer would give one to a stupid asshole like that, prison record or no.
We had a pretty tight staff before the place changed hands. I had been here five years, Cook was here for two years before that.
We had a nice bunch of customers too. Some were old-timers that found us on one of those maps you buy for a dollar. But a lot of them were locals that we got to know pretty well.
At first, not much changed after the auction.
But when they brought Shithead in, he went straight to that kitchen and saw all the dusty equipment for dishes we no longer offered and got it into his head that he was going to bring the full menu back.
Cook thought it was a joke, he knew that none of HIS followers were going to going to be ordering snails.
And when Shithead ordered a soufflé for lunch, Cook sent out some scrambled eggs in one of them tiny casseroles.
Trouble is, Cook likes women and has a lot of children to support. So after he was suspended, he tried very hard to toe the line for them.
Most of the dishes came out so terrible that Shithead HAD to concede that Cook hadn’t been European trained.
But he stuck to his guns when it came to the silver dollar pancakes.
For the original menu, the chefs had a contraption that would release the perfect amount of the batter, twelve at a time with a squeeze of a hand. With one of them, it was only a matter of flippin’ ’em.
But when Shithead brought them back on the menu, either the batter gun didn’t work anymore or they could not locate all of the parts to it, I just never learned which it was.
Shithead thought a tiny ladle would do work fine. After all, we never had too many customers in here all at once anyways.
And how many are going to order pancakes for lunch or dinner if even if the place filled up?
Cook and Shithead had an uneasy truce.
Truth was, Shithead couldn’t really afford to get into a physical altercation with Cook, for one thing, Cook had about a foot and a half and seventy-five pounds on the guy.
And with Shithead’s parole conditions…let’s just say they mostly stayed out of each other’s hair.
That is until that stupid asshole from the Chamber of Commerce wanted to put us on their new tourism website. We’re even listed on the GPS now.
Oh, is that how you found us? You must have come in more than one car.
Cook tried very hard to keep up with the changes. The pressure he was under was tremendous.
Then Cook started drinking.
Not on the job of course. Well not right away.
At first, he was just showing up for the lunch and dinner shift with a hangover.
Me and the other girls felt bad for him and we tried to keep him going with aspirin and pitchers of sweet tea.
The bartender, out of pity I guess, sent him an old Jamaican remedy one night. A pitcher of half ginger ale, half draft beer.
Pretty soon, Cook was skipping the ginger ale part and we all became a little afraid of his temper.
But he still got the food out.
Shithead went too far when he contacted all them city tour companies and offered a free meal to every driver that showed up with a busload.
The asshole didn’t stipulate that they should call first to prepare us for the load.
Lunch became very stressful all at once when we would see one of those fake trolleys or double deckers swing into the parking lot.
See that busboy over there? When he isn’t clearing tables he stands lookout for the tour busses.
It was inevitable, that one lunch, all of the tour groups would all show up at the same time.
The line went out the door and around the building.
Cook had started drinking his Jamaican remedy before he even showed up for work that day. He wasn’t in the best of shape.
I don’t know if it was supposed to be a joke or what but about two-thirds of the crowd ordered them tiny flap-jacks.
For awhile Cook sort of kept up. The dishwasher approached him to try and pick up the slack, but Cook swung his arm out with a lot of force and knocked the guy down.
Instead, we gave all the cold orders to the dishwasher but still had to put the silver dollar orders onto the slide for Cook.
Cook kept a sweaty pace with them pancakes. By now he had batter in his hair and beard. To be honest, I don’t know how he could see with them foggy glasses of his.
Not all of the customers left happy or fed. But most of them did and the dining room was still full of people when Cook managed to get the last load of the pancakes out.
Then Shithead made the mistake of going in to congratulate Cook.
Shithead said something dumb like, Well, that wasn’t so bad, was it?
I am ashamed to say that I was with the rest of the staff when we all abandoned the dining room during the rush, to see Cook whip Shitheads ass. But everyone was busy eating anyway.
(Except a few diners that slid behind me into the kitchen to watch.)
Cook did a pretty thorough job of it I must say.
Shithead was too stupid to stay down the first time he hit the floor. Instead, the asshole kept trying to get up and Cook had to keep putting him back down.
Cook finally stopped punching and kicking when the guy could not rise again.
He was still alive and groaning a bit.
I might have joined the applause, but nobody dialed 911.
Then something weird came over Cook. Like he was possessed or something.
He wiped the steam and sweat off his glasses and made a swipe at his front, like to dust off the pancake batter and blood splatter.
He straightened out his shoulders and picked up two of the long spatulas. He gripped one in each of his hands like they was a pair of Batons.
He marched into the dining room out clutching them. He looked pretty crazy and the place went silent all at once.
Cook walked the full dining room, from table to table, looking everything over like a General inspecting his troops.
When he seemed satisfied he held up both spatulas as if he were conducting an invisible orchestra and he hollered out in this booming voice:
I HOPE YA ALL ENJOYED YOUR FUCKING PANCAKES!!
Please excuse my French.
Cook was out in the parking lot still yelling about the Silver Dollar Pancakes and wavin’ them spatulas before someone got the idea to call an ambulance for Shithead, who still could not get his self up off the floor.
He is still deaf in one ear.
Nobody knows what happened to Cook. His latest wife comes in every month with a new stack of the posters.
You haven’t seen one? We must be out. That means she’ll be around with more any day now.
Unless she has given up, ’cause it’s been awhile.
Shithead thinks he might come around again and makes both bartender and dishwasher escort him to his car each night. He can’t keep a gun for protection because of his prior convictions.
We have had a lot of different people cooking in the kitchen since then. They don’t stay long.
It doesn’t matter. Like I said before, most everything here comes out of a can and doesn’t take much more than heating.
Good thing too, because this new one is kind of jumpy.
Oh, you’re ready to order? Why didn’t you SAY so?
Here I have been working my jaw on and on and the bunch of you were just sittin’ here hungry and ready to order!
Here’s a little hint for you in the future: If you close your menu, your waitress will know that you have decided.
Silver Dollar Pancakes for all of you?
Do ya all want the Cabin maple or Boysenberry syrup?
How about I just bring both?