Oh Dear, Kato

by - November 23, 2009

A co-worker and I were talking about coffee shops in our area, and the topic of when I worked at Second Cup came up.  I worked there for a few years, and this particular cafe is situated almost directly across the street from the office I currently work at.  Meaning, I used to serve the people who work there and I would roll my eyes at them daily in my snotty, coffee shop worker kind of way.  And they STILL hired me a few years later. Fancy that, they must have been experiencing blinding black outs every time I served them because folks, I hated my job sometimes. 

The topic that was of particular interest regarding that job was my old boss.  He was kind of a pushover.  When homeless people would come in off the street he was totally cool with us giving them free cups of tea.  At the end of the day if there was any food left over, it was theirs.  So I suppose the word got out through the grapevine that this particular Second Cup was the place to be for people in need.  And mostly, it was cool.  But sometimes we had to deal with unsavory characters, ones who would shoot heroin in our bathroom and crap on our chairs because they were so drunk they had no idea what was going on in the world of bathroom etiquette.  Yes, you heard me.  They would drop the kids off if you know what I mean.  On our chairs.  I mean, I felt bad for them too, so I never had the heart to yell at them and tell them to leave.

But I had no problems yelling at my boss.  It was just a day in the life to hear me yelling from the back room "YOU clean that shit up! It's your store and you don't pay me enough!".  And he would.  Because he knew I was right.  Whenever there was a particularly disgusting mess to be cleaned up it was his job.  He would hum and haw and try to get one of us to do it, but we were stubborn and he knew it that no amount of sighing pathetically would get us to do it for him. 

But even though he had no backbone, there was still the case of the INCIDENT.  This was an occasion that involved me, the safe, and my life flashing before my eyes. 

One balmy summer night my friends and I decided to sit out on a patio and enjoy the evening the way that most young folks do.  By having a few drinks, enjoying some intellectual conversation, and smoking fancy Cuban cigars.  Or, in my case, getting way too drunk too quickly, spending all my money and trying to scheme up ways to get some more.  All my tip money was gone, we were not due for another paycheck for a while, and I had already paid my rent.  Hmm.  I know!! I have the key to the store! And just like that, because of the trust my boss had placed in me when he put that key into my hands, I was ready to throw it all away for a few more beers. 

My brilliant plan was to go down the street to the store, deactivate the alarm, unlock the back office and take some money from the safe.  Of course, I would leave a note.  What? I am a responsible thief.  So I proceeded to begin this act of lunacy.  Turn off the alarm: check.  Open the back door without any lights on: check.  Okay.  Now for the safe.  It was one of those timed deals where you put the key in, turned it to the right and waited for it to beep a couple of times, and then you turned it to the left, waiting for it to beep again, and then you had to turn the key again on the tenth beep.  Something like that.  How was I able to do this while drunk? It was an act of god.  His Almighty Goodness wanted me to drink a few more beers.

My boss was usually out of the store by 3pm on most days, long gone and never looking back, laughing in his rear view mirror while we all got smaller and smaller as he drove away.  He never had any reason to come back at night, nor would he come back even if he did.  It was upwards of a half hour drive for him, and his wife was a bit of a ballbuster.  So there I sat happily in my stupor, waiting for the beeps to finish so I could get on my way.  Being a bit bored in committing my crime, my eye was caught by a few small boxes on my boss's desk, and hey! Why not kill the boredom by rifling through your boss's things?! 

There I am, the safe is beeping away, I have an open box of private stuff that I am sorting through, about to take some money (but leave a note!) when the inevitable happened.  You guessed it.  My boss decided that on that night, of ALLLLL nights, he needed to go to the store and pick up an item from the back room, where one of his trusted employees was stealing his money.  Oh, and looking through his shit.  Honestly in that moment, my life flashed before my eyes.  What the hell would I say?  I mumbled about how I needed twenty dollars to get something to eat (at one in the morning) and that I had a note.  The note!!! I frantically checked all my pockets, all the while trying to hold in my breath as it was starting to smell like I had bathed in alcohol, and umm...no note.  I had not written one yet.  I swore on Jesus' bicycle that I was going to leave a note.  He just stared me down, looking at me like I was a nutcase.

And then you know what he did?  He said, "How much do you need?" and pulled out his wallet.  Sigh.  I miss that spineless, understanding ex-boss of mine. 

I knew that mooning him that one time would come in handy someday.

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