Monday, April 9, 2007

Gary and Dick

Written by Working Girl from Mostly True Stories

Once I worked for a catering company owned by a middle-aged gay couple named Gary and Dick. They were real old south types. Everything was served on silver or crystal. They had a lawn jockey in their yard. Worst of all, they referred to their employees as "the help." They were certainly racist, and if they hadn't themselves been gay, I'm sure they would have been religiously homophobic. They had started the company in their home, just the two of them, and they never really figured out how to run it.

Catering for Gary and Dick wasn't always the most financially satisfying activity. We got paid in two ways: We got a measly hourly wage for the prep work we did in the kitchen and then we got a flat fee plus tip for serving at parties -- which included loading up all the shit at the facility, driving to the party, unloading, setting up, serving, cleaning up, loading the shit back in the van, driving the food stuffs back to the facility, and driving the silver, crystal, and the check (to be placed on the left side of the fourth stair leading up to the kitchen) back to Gary and Dick's basement/garage. It was of utmost importance to be as quiet as possible when dropping off the silver because Gary and Dick were often hanging out in their (used-to-be)tighty whiteys drinking pinot grigio and scotch listening for the moment when the check hit the stairs. It wouldn't have been so bad, except Gary liked to drink and chat and Dick frequently got emotional after his ninth glass of wine. The best part of working a party was that the customers paid us, the servers, directly, that same night. And, usually, they tipped quite well. This worked out really well because Gary and Dick only occasionally felt inclined to write checks to us for the work we did in the kitchen -- and those checks bounced about half the time.

Whenever checks got written, there was a mad race to the bank to cash them. The last one in ALWAYS got screwed. But there were other pay-offs for working for Gary and Dick. We worked when we wanted. We could usually sleep late. There was lots of free food. And it was ok to have a little beverage while doing the clean-up. What I mean to say is that the bullshit to money ratio was balanced. Yes, our paychecks frequently bounced and we had midnight encounters with drunken middle-aged men crying in their man-panties, but we also went home with cash in our hot little hands -- every single night we worked.

And then they went and hired VC. VC was volatile, petty, and thought he was a much better chef than he actually was. His duties seemed to include pissing off customers on the phone, typo-ing menus, and just generally lording over the rest of us. He was a huge asshole and an idiot as well. However, none of this threw the bullshit to money ratio out of kilter until Gary and Dick decided that all of our customers needed to start paying VC directly for the service at parties and then VC would pay the rest of us -- once he determined that all of the silver was returned properly polished and that we hadn't broken any crystal. Gary frequently would call one of us at six in the morning to tell us that one of the forks was tarnished and he wasn't going to stand for this kind of bullshit anymore. We knew that this new payment scheme was a way for them to give VC a raise. There would always be something wrong with the silver and the crystal. VC would always be charging us little fines. For a while, we just ignored this new policy. It was pretty easy. VC was never at the parties and our customers were used to paying us directly. After a month or two, Gary started to put up nasty signs in the kitchen facility about having checks made out to VC. Finally, he threatened us right before we left for a party with this: If we didn't have the next check made out to VC, Gary would come to the party and collect the money and, then, dock our pay.

What would you do? There was pretty much no hope of ever getting paid on any kind of regular basis anymore. So a bunch of us just quit. Right before that night's party. And then we got mad. We had worked for these assholes for years. Were we loyal employees? Um, that would be no. We loathed them. Made fun of them. Wrote mean songs about them. We actually used to have a Christmas season pool where we bet on which would be the first day Dick would cry in December. But we represented their company well to the customers -- mainly because we worked for tips.

That very same night that we quit, the revenge started. L took the lowest road and simply stole some meat. I painted their lawn jockey white and later turned them into every government agency I could think of. But P's revenge was a work of art. He found a busy internet dating site and placed an ad in Dick's name. Now, we all knew that Dick sometimes indulged in some extra-marital activity. And we knew that this was a sore subject between Gary and Dick. So P placed this ad, including both of Gary and Dick's home numbers: Are you young and big and hot? Then I want you to spank me! But, because of my work schedule, I sleep during the day. Please only call between the hours of midnight and seven in the morning.

A couple of weeks later, when I tried to call Gary at home to tell him that my last paycheck had bounced, the numbers had been disconnected.


Paros Shepherd said...

Well done!


Surviving Motherhood said...

a lawn jockey? Is that like a garden gnome?

Working Girl said...

a lawn jockey is a terribly racist item that some white "humans" have in their yards in the southern part of the US. It is a little statue of a black man as a jockey, or holding a lantern, or doing some task deemed too "low" for white folk. Putting one in your yard is a way for southern whites to feel superior. A yucky tradition.

Surviving Motherhood said...

oh, how pleasant...and now I see the significance in painting them white!

Ha ha.

Well done.

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