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‘Death Tear Dude’
When Your Job Sucks and is Still Far Better than Your Customer
© 2016 James LaFond
Three weeks ago, on a Friday night/Saturday morning shift at about 2:30 a.m. Debbie, a stiff upper lip middle aged chick with three jobs was showing Alvin, the 18-year-old new hire, how to check the roll rack in the bakery section to my back, as I broke down the dairy order.
The coffee pot is also one of the bakery floor clerk’s details. A new pot was brewing, scheduled for the coffee bar self-serve counter at 2:45.
In struts the Death Tear Dude, ominously drunk, tattooed with three tears for each of the other thugs he has supposedly offed—old enough, at 50, to maybe not be bullshitting this point with the faded ink—lean, mean and in need of caffeine.
Finding the coffee thick and barely warm, he is feeling belligerent, t but is a nice drunk and decided to mix up his ominous posing routine with some friendly intimidation.
He looks at to complain and eye eye-fuck him, after months of getting beaten up by my young fighters in the mode to flex my white back hair in the masters division. I am usually super meek at work, but when assholes are prepared to get loud with non-combatant staff I ease into quite asshole mode.
He looks at Debbie and begins to complain and she fixes him with that—if you were my old man and were out this drunk this late I’d be waiting on the porch with a bat—stare of matriarchal disdain and snips, “Just add hot water, pointing at the hot water tap used for tea and hot chocolate.”
St back on his Puerto Rican heels, the guy begins eye-balling Alvin and making gang signs, calling him brother, even “holmes,” offering to be friends if the young dude is cool and respects his street cred and talking like Al Paccino, as fictional Cuban mobster, imitating a South Baltimore whigger, imitating a west Baltimore thug…
The kid tried to help Death Tear Dude as Debbie watched them and I watched him, and the guy eventually staggers away without his coffee mumbling, leaving behind a pretty well shaken sissy. You have to understand, that 18 is the new 12 in white suburban America and this Latino thug was pretty intimidating. The only reason I was confident in the event of physical exchange was his extreme drunkenness.
So, I looked the kid and said, “Alvin yo handled that quite well. That’s Tucco, our new hire vetting agent. John buys him a fifth of Baracrdi and a pack of tiparillos to give new guys a hard time to see if their management material.”
The kid actually believed me for a second until Debbie patted him on the shoulder and smiled, to which laughed well, humor being the saving grace of the wage slave when his job sucks and the customers are worse!
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