Storm and Stress:
the second shift at the Bucket o’ Blood
“The things inside of you, your thoughts and your feelings, are all yours. And
you’re the one to decide if you want to share them with anybody. Your thoughts and
your feelings are your own.” – Mister Fred Rogers
<<Finnegan, you are on the phone in the back room of the kitchen at the Bucket o’
Blood. two feet away from the Black Metal Back Door. you are trying to
communicate to the proper authorities that your child is still missing and that your
husband has r-u-n-n-o-f-t with said child. Reverend Duff stands by, in the back
kitchen filling his mop bucket from the Dishwasher’s Sink. Reverend Duff waits to
offer sage-like advice and relate a similar experience he has had. this will no doubt
further establish the esteem you hold the Janitor of the Bucket o’ Blood in. Free
Dave, Notnek, Lawyer Bob, the Waitresses and the Bartender all sit up at the bar in
the dining room drinking and telling eachother jokes about the kitchen crew. they
throw in a few jokes about the customers for good measure>>
“Hello? Yes, I called earlier this morning to report my child missing. I wondered if you
all were able to check the outgoing flights at the airport? My son’s name is Thor and the
kidnapper’s name is Ruben. Yes I know it hasn’t yet been twenty four hours. Yes, earlier
I said that he is with his father, but…”, you say.
<<into the Bucket o’ Blood’s (Also Known By Some Assholes As the B.o.B.s) telephone
“I am remaining calm mother fucker!!”, you say. <<in a voice that is nowhere near
calm>> “Listen here you son of a bitch, this is about my child! I…hello? Hello? Hell…
What the fuck?!”, you say. <<you slam the phone back onto the cradle on the wall.
the phone breaks into several small pieces and the wall cradle gets pushed into the
“Well that sounded fruitful…”, says the Mostly High Reverend Duff.
<<Duff pushes his mop bucket through the back kitchen doorway. you try and cover
the phone you destroyed under a pile of food service magazines>>
“God damnit, those fucks are about as useful as Free Dave before noon on a Saturday.”,
“Now Junior, don’t take it out on Free Dave…”, Duff starts.
“Ball sweat breath! Don’t ever call me Junior Duff! You know how hard it is for me to
keep from punching my employer when he pulls that shit!”, you exclaim.
“Sorry Finnegan, I forgot. What I meant was that although Free Dave, and Notnek for
that matter, are problems in their own right; they are not part of this problem. So don’t
include them in it any more than need be.”, says the Reverend Duff, Mostly High.
<<your friend Reverend Duff gives you very rational thoughts to digest Finnegan.
before your brain can chew the first bite, Hopskotch Sunday walks through the
Black Metal Back Door and into the back kitchen of the Bucket o’ Blood>>
“Howdy Partners!”, says Hopskotch.
<<Reverend Duff and you both respond with laughter and a repetition of the words
your Hopskotch shaped friend just spoke. the Mostly High Reverend Duff rides his
bike past the Howdy Partner after leaving work and has seen you and Hopskotch
stumble in and out of there on many occasion>>
“Drink the day away. Worries if the boss will pay. Feed three hundred folks today…
Down in Fraggle Rock.”, you sing.
“Drunk down in Fraggle Rock.”, Hopskotch sings back.
<<Reverend Duff shakes his head and pushes his mop bucket away. he mutters to
himself about opening a rehabilitation clinic for wayward cooks. Notnek comes
into the kitchen and starts to critique the “Help”. Notnek offends everyone as
usual. but this time he even angers Reverend Duff, who storms out of the kitchen
pushing his mop bucket (which is just impressive, with all that hot soapy water
sloshing around.) Notnek turns and starts to talk to you. he tells you all of the
specials that he wants prepared and served that evening. you nod your head in
imitation of someone who is interested in what another person is speaking about.
you lose count of the Night Specials, as you are busy mentally picturing punching
the Boss in the face and in the groin repeatedly>>
“Did you get all that Junior? Why are you smiling?”, says Notnek.
<<Notnek walks off after calling you junior around five or six more times.
Hopskotch comes from the walk-in with a bucket of frozen raw chicken to thaw.
Free Dave walks back into the kitchen and burps beer breath at you as he passes
“Excuse me Hop-a-long, I gotta go tell Boss about Duff-a-luff-aguss talking shit about him
to the Waitresses.”, says Free Dave.
<<Free Dave likes to stir up drama between his co-workers to make his own daily
fuck-ups less noticeable. Hopskotch passes a blast of Howdy Partner beer gas in the
doorway of the back kitchen. Notnek and Free Dave stand together in front of the
Boss’s desk next to the Black Metal Back door. Notnek smells Free Dave’s beer
breath as the lazy cook talks about Duff’s rant up in the front of the house. Notnek
then smells Hopskotch’s flatulence and knows the source to be his Dishwasher
because Hopskotch is still shaking his ass in the door way that separates front
kitchen from back kitchen. Notnek’s jaw drops in horror, and you cannot help from
laughing at your employer’s discomfort>>
“Damnit Junior! Did you hafta get the rest of my crew drunk before coming back to
work again?”, says Notnek.
“No sir, I did that free of charge.”, you say.
<<you slur a little as you speak. Notnek turns red and wants nothing more than to
fire the three of you. sadly, the rest of his cooks are in jail. good help is so hard to
find. Free Dave asks Notnek for a ride home. Notnek picks his hat and half empty
cigarette pack up off his desk. he looks as if he is going to use them to beat Free
Dave over the head>>
“I’ll give you a ride, only so your dumb ass doesn’t get arrested on the walk home to keep
from coming to work in the morning.”, says Notnek.
<<the Bartender walks past the four of you in the kitchen and into the walk-in for
beer. Notnek walks past Free Dave and stands by the walk-in door. you walk into
the back kitchen carrying a pot of soup. you are in search of rosemary and cumin
to add to the mixture. you stand next to Notnek at the back prep table. the bulk
spice containers are on a shelf above the table. the Bartender emerges from the
walk-in carrying four six-packs of Monkey Butt beer. Notnek is in her way past, and
in your way of getting to the rosemary. the Boss moves for neither the Cook nor the
Bartender. the Bartender looks to you for help>>
“Let me help you with one of those six-packs Angel.”, says Notnek.
<<the Boss removes the six-pack from under her arm, brushing ice cold cans against
the Bartender’s breast. Angel squirms and scowls at Notnek. he then lets her
“Quit gawking at her ass Junior!”, says Notnek.
<<Notnek nods at Free Dave, and the two walk out of the Black Metal Black Door of
the Bucket o’ Blood. Notnek ignores Free Dave’s attempt to give him a high five as
&&image of Lenny V, the Comedian, saying “what do you call a back door made out of two assholes? a double innu-outdo.”
“It is amazing how those two fellers can still inspire awe and disbelief in me after all this
time.”, says Hopskotch.
“I really want to kill them. I wish you believed in God, Hopskotch. Then you could help
me hate the Lord for not smiting those asshats.”, you say.
<<you lay your weary head upon the Dishwasher’s shoulder>>
“It’s gonna be ok, my precious little snowflake.”, says Hopskotch.
<<he pats you with his dark brown hand upon your mousy brown hair, invaded by
streaks of purple>>
“Dick. I’m gonna go drink in the walk-in. Send me a waitress to molest.”, you sneer.
<<you grab a metal pot with a whole green cabbage rolling around inside of it. you
punch Hopskotch on the arm and head back to the walk-in cooler. Hopskotch gives
you a look filled with both pity and wonder. pity, because you feel you must drink a
great deal of alcohol to get through life, and wonder at your request for a Waitress
in the walk-in. Hopskotch convinces himself that you are not serious. but at the
same time says to himself,>>
“I want to hangout and drink in the walk-in and make-out with a Waitress.”
<<the afternoon usually slows the flowing stream of customers to an infrequent
trickle. sadly this never lasts long, because the specials sell really well. too well in
fact. the Bartender comes back into the kitchen at seven thirty that evening to let
you and Hopskotch know that Notnek has just called the Bucket o’ Blood Bar Phone,
and that Notnek wanted to tell you,>>
“Tell Junior that I want her to make more specials if the customers buy up all the other
specials. Tell her I want her to prep extra specials for tomorrow if she finishes that. And
Free Dave says he is gonna be late in the morning. Wait… Shut up Free Dave. I’m talking
to Angel about work stuff. And then the Boss hung up”, says Angel the Bartender.
<<the Bartender smiles and offers to refill your cup of alcohol. for once you
actually decline additional booze. Hopskotch the Dishwasher comes over from the
dish pit to give you a high five. Angel the Bartender then tells you,>>
“Umm, Finnegan, we just seated a ten top and two five tops out on the patio. Several of
the customers in the ten top asked about our specials…”
<<you put your half empty cup of booze to your lips and complete its emptiness.
Angel holds out her Bartender hand for you to put the soon to be refilled cup into>>
“I’m gonna go get caught up on dishes…”, says Hopskotch the Dishwasher.
<<the customers come and the customers go. the customers want food in special
orders and they send the Waitresses to let you and Hopskotch know. so far this
evening Finnegan, you have yelled at two Waitresses for confusing orders and
threatened the Bartender with bodily harm if she sent back any more bar food
orders. the threat of workplace violence makes one of the new Waitresses quit.
what was her name again? for the first half of the dinner rush, Hopskotch Sunday
stands by your side. He cooks and assembles the orders out call out, running the
flat grill and the salad side of the line. he watches in silence as you expertly cook a
grill full of steaks and chicken breasts and hamburger patties; all the while flirting
with one Waitress, cussing at two other Waitresses and polishing off half a bottle of
the Bucket o’ Blood’s finest red wine. but when you scream at Hopskotch for
making, what in your drunken mind was a grievous error, he leaves you to your
own devices. Hopskotch returns to his dish pit and starts to clean the mountain of
dirty dishes the await his professional touch. Notnek and Free Dave show up
towards the end of the dinner rush. they are almost as drunk as you Finnegan,
which is pretty drunk. Notnek and Free Dave enter through the Black Metal Back
Door of the Bucket o’ Blood. Notnek stumbles past Free Dave and leans against the
dish pit sink next to Hopskotch Sunday. Nonek puts a pink, greasy hand on
Hopskotch’s wet black arm. Hopskotch looks up from his dishes he is washing, to
the hand of his boss, and then up to his employer’s face. Notnek is not even looking
at the Dishwasher. Notnek stares at you and watches you move food rapidly from
the grill to the plates behind you>>
“She looks like she’s possessed by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spiiirit, the way she sways
back and forth. From the hellish fire of that grill to the table those fuckin’ Waitresses
pick the foooood up off of. Innt that right Hop-a-long?”, slurs Notnek.
“She’s possessed by the spirit alright Boss.”, says Free Dave.
<<Notnek’s right hand-job man (Free Dave) holds up a mostly empty bottle of red
wine he has found in the back kitchen floor, near the walk-in>>
“Hey Junior! It don’t matter how fast you cook if you can’t get the Waitstaff to come pick up the damn orders!”, says Notnek.
<<Notnek hollers at you across the cook line. your head snaps back up from
whatever planet it was on. you stop swaying over the grill and turn in the direction
of your boss and two fellow kitchen crew members. all three men stand together at
the dish pit. across the serving table you yell,>>
“Come get the damn food ladies!”
<<Notnek and Free Dave laugh at you and start to make their way to the bar in the
dining room. the two drunk men each playfully slap Hopskotch on the ass as they
“I’m sorry Finnegan love, these customers are being complete assholes and
monopolizing my time. I didn’t mean to leave you back here hanging with all my food
girl. i will make it up to you.”, says a very pretty, very flustered Waitress.
<<what was her name again?>>
“Well your flowery language and sex appeal have weakened the fire of my anger, my
friend.”, you say. <<as you calm down from the Boss inspired rage>>
“I hope I haven’t weakened the fire of your passion as well…”, the Waitress says coyly.
“Come back here when it slows down and find out punk.”, you say.
<<the pretty young brunette girl walks out of the kitchen, carrying eight plates of
food and smiling at you over her shoulder>>
“Hey Hop, what was that one’s name again?”, you say.
“I’ve got no idea Finnegan.”, says Hopskotch.
<<the Dishwasher offers a weak smile and a shoulder shrug from the dish pit.
Hopskotch tries to wash dishes and keep out of the drama. at one point, Hopskotch
has to leave the dishes and cook a couple orders by himself, because you have
mysteriously left the line. Notnek soon comes back into the kitchen to harass his
employees and asks Hopskotch where “Junior” is. Hopskotch shrugs and continues
to cook. Notnek decides to continue his quest for Finnegan. the Boss walks back to
the walk-in cooler and finds you sitting on a beer keg with the brunette waitress on
“Junior! What in the hell are you doing?!”, asks Notnek. <<in a stern, yet amused
“Oh hey Boss. I just had to come back and ask this nice girl her name and apologize for
yelling at her earlier.”, you say.
<<you have one hand on the upper thigh of Waitress in your lap and a bottle of wine in your other hand>>
“And…?”, asks Notnek expectantly.
“Oh yeah. What was your name again love?”, you ask the topless Waitress.
“Virginia.”, says Virginia the topless Waitress.
“Virginia, Boss.”, you says with a lipstick smeared smile.
<<Notnek places a hand to his bald head. it is not lost on him that you don’t often
wear lipstick. he looks down at the open wine bottle in your hand>>
“Did you start a little early tonight Junior?”, Notnek asks calmly.
“Not early enough Boss.”, you say.
<<you turn back and drink wine off of the Waitress’s bare chest. to his credit,
Notnek just shakes his head and lets the walk-in door close. he then turns and
walks out of the Black Metal Back Door of the Bucket o’ Blood and into the night>>