I was talking to a guy at work today, and somehow we ended up talking about bacon. Because it’s me, this course of conversation isn’t really that unusual. I’m going to tell you about it, because it’s one of those weird parts of life that seems a little too weird to be real, and it scares me that I almost forgot about it.
“I told you about that place I worked out that had the bacon drug ring, right?” I asked him. He cocked his head at me, like a dog who sees something perplexing, or a human who is wondering if you just said something that insane.
“It was messed up…”
I was working in a pancake house at the time. It had a name that you might or might not recognize—not as famous as “IHOP,” but not as unheard of as “Big Dan’s Titties and Pancakes.” I started out as a dishwasher, but didn’t really like soaking my hands in water filled with partially-chewed breakfast, so I convinced the owner to let me train to be a cook. I convinced him by going in and training for free for a couple of weeks, until I was ready to do it alone. Each night, I would get dressed and go back and observe the graveyard shift cook for a few hours, and then go home, only to return a few hours later to wash dishes.
There were three cooks at the time, not including me.
There was this one guy, I can’t remember his name, and he acted like cooking in this whacked-out little pancake place was like being a world-renowned chef or something. He was always on my ass about weird stuff, like, “What are you doing to those eggs? You call that scrambled? Nobody’s going to eat those eggs!”
And he’d dump them in the trash. I’d look out into the dining area, there’s like three drunk-ass college students out there, they’d eat my socks if I fried them up and served them with enough syrup.
The whole time I worked there, the only time I ever had anything sent back was once when I screwed up and served a piece of catfish that was still frozen. Oh, yeah, and one guy who kept sending back his eggs because he wanted them served “soft scrambled.” He doesn’t really count, though, because he was insane. How I finally ended up serving his eggs was by cooking them until they had a firm film over the top, and then dumping it raw into a bowl. I was doing it to be spiteful, but he actually sent the waitress back with a dollar tip for me with the compliment that the eggs were perfect.
People are screwed up, man.
Anyway, so I’m back training with this guy, we’ll call him TJ, because I think his name was something like that. And he’s always on my ass about things. One night I go in, he’s not there anymore. I didn’t think anything of it, because the schedule was always changing around, which sometimes left me working with a different cook.
But he kept not being there, so I finally asked about him.
“Oh, you didn’t hear? He got fired.”
What you need to understand is that we had a buffet at this place. In order to prepare for this buffet, the graveyard cook will cook up all kinds of shit and then either freeze it (sausage), wrap it in plastic (biscuits), or refrigerate it (cut up onions, peppers, pancake mix, etc). So three nights a week, you’d go into the freezer, you’d pull out these giant boxes of bacon. Thirty pounds. You’d cook all of that bacon until it was almost done, and then you’d throw it into a plastic container, and you’d refrigerate it. In the morning, during the buffet, the cook would grab one of those plastic bins out, dump it into the deep-fryer, and then out it would go, fully cooked. Healthy stuff.
So the night guy, he’d cook not one, but three of these huge boxes. 90 pounds of bacon, three times a week. 270 pounds of bacon per week. This was before I was a fat guy, so that was like two of me. You’d see those guys at the buffet, you couldn’t help thinking things like, “Yeah, you’d totally eat a kid’s weight in bacon. Fat fuck—I bet you’d eat a kid, if I fried him up for you. Maybe I should start up a side business, deep frying little kids for the fatties around here.”
Anyway, apparently this guy, TJ or whatever, he was stealing these boxes of bacon. He was sneaking them out the back door, where one of the waitresses would come pick them up. Then she’d take the bacon off somewhere, and trade it for drugs. Don’t ask me where the hell she went for that. I mean, I’ve spent some serious time pondering what kind of place needs that much bacon and has the drugs to trade for it. I can’t figure it out, and I think that that’s probably the kind of thing that can drive a man mad, so I had to let it go.
She’d bring the drugs back, and she’d have people come in under the guise of wanting some third-rate waffles, and she’d sell them dope.
At one point, I had decided it would be genius to combine a strip club with a pancake house, but drugs and pancakes go together even better. This waitress, though, she was way ahead of me.
“She was also giving blowjobs in the bathrooms for money,” I say to my coworker today. Oddly enough, I never heard about her screwing people—just the blowjobs.
He’s laughing at this time, because this story is a lot funnier if it’s told rapid-fire instead of all the explanation about the night shift bacon cooking and all that.
“I’m like, ‘Why the hell am I just finding out about this?’ Standing back in that kitchen for hours at a time, covered in grease and blinded by bacon fat—I could have used a blowjob or two!”
“The real question is,” he says, “Did she take bacon in exchange for blowjobs?”
“Thanks, toots,” I say, and act like I’m tossing a piece of raw bacon. Then I slap the side of my face, and it was the perfect sound for the moment. I slide my hand down the side of my face, the bacon slipping down. I take my hand away and say, “Keep the change.”
It was just one of those times. Where even if the joke isn’t that funny, everyone around is totally in sync, so it’s almost as good as seeing this in a movie, but without the horror, only the humor. It was such a perfect comedy moment that I almost wrote about just that instead of the bacon drug ring (and maybe I should have).
And then I’m the bacon-stealing, blowjob-giving waitress again, and I wipe my mouth, and say in a garbled voice, “Thank you.”
And we all just lose it.
Sometimes my job isn’t so bad.