“Heard you were late this morning,” said Phil.
“Yeah, got locked out of my stupid car, now I have to come up with the money it cost me to get it opened.”
“Uh, sorry kid! Why don’t you take one of my tables? It’s a couple, they just sat down.”
“Thanks man,” Cody made sure his shirt was well-tucked and went to greet the table. It was a middle-aged couple. The man still wore his sunglasses, probably to shield his view from the awful spray tan the woman had. Easy money, thought Cody.
“Hello folks! How are y’all doing today?” said Cody, faking his biggest smile.
“How original,” said the woman, rolling her eyes.
“Iced tea,” said the man not looking up.
“Iced tea? You got it!” repeated Cody, “Same for you?” he turned to the woman.
“We just sat down,” she said with a grunt.
“Oh, ok! Don’t worry about it-“
“-I’m not,” she said. Wow, thought Cody, shake it off, just shake it off. You need their tip. Shake it off.
“I’ll get that iced tea and a couple of waters,” he said, not losing his composure. He smiled and left to get the waters.
“How’s the table?” asked Phil, at the drink station.
“Jerks,” said Cody as he poured.
“Take your time, then. Don’t stress, kid.”
“I need the money,” replied Cody under his breath, and sped-walked carrying the drinks.
“Here we go,” he said cheerfully, reaching the table and handing them the drinks.
“What’s this?” asked the woman.
“Just a couple of waters for now, I know it’s hot out there,” answered Cody.
“It is,” said the woman, playing with the straw, “that’s why we’re sitting inside.”
What gives? he thought, “Well, the patio is still very nice, but I’m glad you’re sitting inside. This way I have the pleasure of serving you,” he replied, again wearing his biggest smile.
“Why is my tea so clear?” asked the man.
“Oh, that’s the ice. It is an iced tea,” said Cody with a chuckle, and turned to the woman looking for at least a smile; nothing.
“Bring me your manager,” she said instead.
Oh, c’mon! Clam down. You need their tip. Calm down.
“Sure thing!” Cody still tried to sound upbeat, “give me one quick second.”
He told the manager and waited by the drink station.
“There’s no way I’ll get enough money if all of my tables are like this,” he told Phil.
“Enough money for what?” asked Phil.
“Enough money to make up for locking myself out of my stupid car”
“And what was that money for?”
“For… money. You always need money.”
“I don’t,” said Phil nonchalantly.
“Lies,” stupid old man, thought Cody, “we all do, why would you put up with these damn people if not for the money?”
“I learn from them. I like it,” answered Phil, simply.
Cody stared at him, then at the manager who now walked towards him.
“Good luck, kid,” said Phil and walked away carrying his own tray of drinks.
“What happened with your table?” asked the manager.
Cody stayed quiet.
“They’re very upset. They’re saying this is the worst experience they’re ever had.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” replied Cody, irritated.
“Yes you do, and don’t give me attitude.”
Cody stayed quiet.
“Why don’t you wash dishes for the rest of your shift?”
“No!” calm down, he thought, “I’m sorry, I rather not. There’s no way I’ll make enough money washing dishes.”
“Go home, then. Let me know how much money you make there,” the manager’s tone was final.
“Fine,” said Cody, just walk away, he thought.
He took his apron off and stormed out the back door.
“Wait up, kid!” yelled Phil, following him out the door.
“What do you want, old man?”
“Here, let me help you out,” he handed Cody a money clip.
“How much is this?” asked Cody, taking it.
“Just a few hundred bucks, I’ve been having a good week.”
“Why are you giving it to me?”
“You worry too much, kid. Take it and enjoy your day off,” said Phil and went back into the restaurant.
Cody looked for his car keys and realized he had locked himself out again.