SPOTLIGHT: Bar Yarns for the Average American by Nikki Boss

Mouse, Party of One
Every day I get to work and there are dead guys all over the floor. I hate those fuckers, with their naked pink tails and stupid broken necks. Most days I don’t even want to come in. Dead guys, everywhere.
The kitchen I work at is in a busy corner of the city. It’s a dirty little place but I don’t mind any, mostly because I’m a dirty boy myself. A dirty bird.
“Roland!” It’s the new waitress calling me. The little one; she’s cute. “Roland, you got my order up?” She stands with her hip out, glaring at me. I wonder what she would do if I lobbed one of them dead guys at her. Or handed her one on a plate to serve her stupid customers.
“Coming.” I try not to say anything I think. Just take it all in. I think and I cook, and I am the dead-mouse boy. Gross.
A new ticket comes up and I get this funny little idea going, rolling around in my brain. I giggle but not too loud. I got this perfect idea: what fun it would be to take one of them dead boys and serve him up instead.
The order is for a cheeseburger to go and I picture the littlest dead guy of the morning. I can off his tail, easy-peasy-mousey-squeezy, and roll him up inside a burger no problem.
“What’s that new waitresses’ name?” I ask Peter the prep cook. Peter Piper, Petey Popsicles. Petey the prep cook. He doesn’t have to pick up dead mice every morning.
“Angela.” Petey the prep cook doesn’t even glance up at me as he says it. He just continues chop-chop-chopping away.
“Angela!” I turn and call her name out the kitchen window. She’s standing by the counter, perfect ass aimed right in my direction. Petey Peeper I think to myself, and another name for Pete the prep cook is born. “Angela, is this order waiting or a pick-up?”
“Yeah.” She flicks her eyes up at me. “He’s waiting.”
I know I gotta act quickly, so I move real quick-like towards the trash and make myself trip over it. Trash spills out but it’s only about eleven o’clock so the mess isn’t too bad. Just what I needed.
“Chill out, dude.” Petey Peepers finally looks up from his prep cooking. “Clean that shit up, customers are looking. You high again, Roland?” I don’t say anything back to him, not out loud anyway. Grabbing the broom and brushing the trash back into the bin, I am able to grab that little dead guy and hide him in my apron. It’s easy enough to lob his tail off and stuff him up tight into a meat patty.
“Coming right up, Angela.” She looks at me and for a sec my ears feel kind of hot. Just real quick, up-at–the-tip-like. I play it smooth though, use my spatula to press the patty down, but not too hard cause I don’t want that dead guy’s guts leaking out.
“Just a few more minutes.” I sing it out to myself.
“Roland! What the fuck, bro.” Petey Pink-eyes whispers it. “Roland, you high, dude, or what?”
I just ignore him.
When that burger is ready I slide it onto the bun and grab one of the Styrofoam to-go containers. I’m slicing up the romaine nice and neat, then move on to slices of big red tomato. That produce guy is on point today. Vegetables all fresh looking and shit.
“Order up.” I set the container in the server window. “Here’s your burger to go.”
“Eight ninety-five,” Angela tells the customer, this old dude with some weird green hat on. “Out of twenty?” I snicker again and watch this dude leave with his lunch all wrapped up in a paper bag.
“Roland! Chill out, dude!” Petey Popsicles over there is at it again and he’s pissing me off some. Just cause a guy might like a bit of a Crystal pick-me-up, Petey here thinks there’s something wrong. There is something wrong with me, Petey-fucking-petals. All these dead guys are driving me crazy.
I figure I better get going. “Yo, listen up!” I yell it nice and loud. Petey starts hissing at me to shut up. “I’m leaving.”
“You’re what?” Petey Pipers is at it again.
“I quit. Gotta go. Things to do.” I smile real big, showing what a nice guy I am.
He’s yammering at me but I just walk through the dining room and grab a soda on my way out. The orange kind, cause it tastes nice. And then I grab Angie’s ass as I go, cause I can.
Those fucking dead guys, man. They’ll drive you out of a kitchen every time.

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