God Bless the Monkey

Because ‘Follow Your Bliss’ was already taken.

It’s Pretty Sweet August 11, 2008

Filed under: Tales from the Shop — kateos @ 2:31 pm
Tags: , , ,

(Times Burned: 1!; Wrong Orders: 3; Customers I Want to Slam Over the Head with a Skillet: 2, Major Catastrophes: 0!!)


It’s Sunday, and I check the position board upon arrival: the shift leaders have put me on front again. Not that I mind; I much prefer working at the front than as drive-thru cashier. There’s much more space, no annoying window, and the freedom to make the coffees myself. I help the previous shift’s front worker clear out the long line, then sit back and anticipate my 5 hours of relative boredom. Natasha is in today, along with Nicole and Irene, who usually works the night shift. After April and Britney leave at 2, it’s leaves just the four of us, and we make a stellar team.


With almost no customers at the front, I end up putting on some gloves and working the Sandwich Station as well, something new and utterly thrilling to me. While I still don’t know how to make breakfast sandwiches, I quickly pick up flats, pizzas, and bagels, only burning myself once in the process (as regular readers know, this is quite the improvement for me). 


An order pings in through the drive-thru. 


“What’s in the Southwest flatbread?” the man wants to know.


“Umm, well,” Natasha, says, looking at us with a HELP-ME expression on her face.


“Chicken, cheese, and peppers!” I’m shouting.


“There’s chicken and…cheese and…peppers…and a sauce.” she eventually says.


“What kind of sauce?”


“A…Southwest sauce?” she says hopefully. “It’s pretty sweet.” 


“Okay,” the man says, as the four of us burst with laughter, Natasha with her hands slapped over her mouth. “In that case then, I’ll take one of your breakfast sandwiches…”


Ten minutes later, we’re still poking fun at her.


“It’s pretty sweet,” I mimick, in an exaggerated laid-back tone. We all laugh again. Another order pings in.


“Hi, welcome to DD. How can I help you?” 


“Hi, is your Southwest flatbread any good? I mean, what’s in it?” We all look at each other. Didn’t the last guy just ask this? 


“I’ll take this one,” Irene says. “Well, first there’s the bread. Then, there’s the cheese. Then, there’s the chicken. Then, there’s this sauce.” I can’t tell if she’s saying all this to be funny, or if this is really her idea of a good response. “The sauce is sweet and really good, kind of like…kind of like teriyaki sauce. Like, if you’ve ever had the Teriyaki Chicken Sub at Subway, it’s like the sauce on that.” The woman drives away.


“Come on!” Irene yells to the room at large. “How can you not like teriyaki sauce?!?” 


“Cause teriyaki sauce is Asian and this flatbread is supposed to be Southwest. And Subway? What does Subway have to do with this?” Natasha counters good-naturedly. “I just came up with the best definition for the flat. We all have to use this one next: It’s like an Asian man who immigrates to Arizona…in your mouth!”


I can only imagine the amount of flats we would sell with that definition. But somewhere out there is a woman driving and munching on a Chicken Teriyaki Sub with its pretty sweet sauce and thinking, “So that’s what the Southwest sauce tastes like.” 🙂


Meet the Regulars August 6, 2008

Filed under: Average-Day Prose — kateos @ 10:53 am
Tags: ,

(This is just a few of the many colorful customers who wander into the place whenever I am there. I am covering them here, so when I mention them later on, I don’t have to divert from the main story to explain who they are.)


I. James Branch

His name isn’t really James Branch, but he reminds me so much of the Kissing in Manhattan character that that’s who I regularly refer to him as. Like his namesake, he is quiet, shy, humble, and modestly good-looking. He comes, without fail, every Saturday (and sometimes Sunday), ordering a coffee and two doughnuts to go along with the book he reads in his armchair by the fireplace.


April just dotes on him. She’ll put on her brightest smile and ask in a voice dripping with honey, “So, what’s the book this week?” He’ll give her his shy smile, but never reciprocates, and so we love him all the more. I think everyone knows a James Branch, or wishes they knew one. In all honesty, I hardly know the guy. Maybe I’ve been cornering him into a character he doesn’t fit. But none of that matters, except that he is our resident aloof man-candy, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. 🙂


II. Ron

If DD was Le Cirque (Le Cirque will probably sue me now, just for making this analogy.), he would be the VIP. He has his own special plastic tray (a relic from when DD must have used trays like McDonald’s), and always expects top-notch service. A French cruller, or sometimes a croissant, toasted for five seconds and a coffee with five sugars and three creamers on the side. From the description thus far, Ron seems like a terrible hypocritical elitist, but really, he’s a harmless old man in a scratchy vest, who we love and never tire of serving.


The very first time I met him, he peered at me and asked me why he didn’t know me.


“I’m new,” I said.


“New?” he replied, positively alarmed. “Every time I walk in here now, everyone is new!”


I apologized, and shuffled out of there with his croissant.


“There’s a guy who wants his croissant toasted for FIVE seconds,” I whispered to Josh with fear plainly written across my face.


“Oh, you mean Ron,” he said, walking up to the front. They greeted each other like long-lost friends, and I couldn’t help but fight back my jealousy. You see, Ron is the kind of person you can’t help but want to impress. He’s a tough critic, but a softie when he’s finally come to appreciate you.


Last Sunday, he walked in and I had his usual there for him without him having to utter a single word.


“Hey, you’re coming along there!” he said, before taking his seat next to the window. Coming from him, it was possibly the greatest compliment he could give.

A thousand “yes!”s seemed to sound off in my head and under his stern gaze, I couldn’t help but beam.