Steve Martaindale

Author of the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series

Five-dollar story

Wet money 8-27-16

You know how I like new experiences.

That’s a neat thing about our summer jobs; I’ve worked in a gift shop, drove a shuttle van, cleaned a theme park and, this summer, prepared food.

Working in food service is not something I wanted to do and only did so because it helped out Leah tremendously. However, it’s had good moments. Two came this past week.

Leah usually takes the orders and I usually prepare them, though we back up each other a lot. One morning, a family ordered a waffle, a breakfast pizza and a toasted bagel. When Leah finished the money part, she came back to help.

She put the bagel on a pan and started to put it in the oven.

“No, thanks, I’ve got it.”

What I’m doing isn’t rocket science, but I finally have become just comfortable enough with things to be able to do them in a sensible way.

The pizza takes a minute or two to prepare and five minutes to cook. The waffle batter is ready to pour into the iron and takes maybe four minutes to cook. The bagel can be ready after less than three minutes in the oven.

So, I prep the pizza and toss it into the oven, pour the batter into the iron, prepare plates and trays for both and then put in the bagel. As the pizza came out, the waffle beeper sounded, but I always leave it in for another 15 or 20 seconds, just enough time to plate and slice the pizza and wrap the bagel. Then the waffle comes out, butter and syrup applied and, voila, they’re ready.

The second opportunity came Wednesday afternoon. The powers that be needed someone to run the saloon in the park from 5-8 p.m. and Leah passed the request to me.

Now, the bosses know I’m not into doing anything other than help Leah, so they may have been surprised when I said I would. But, the fact is, I’ve always thought the job would be intriguing.

So, after an introduction to what to do, I was left all alone peddling beer, malt beverages, sodas, nachos and popcorn.

It was a fast-paced three hours. I freely informed guests this was my first experience and everyone was patient and forgiving, even when I handed over a beer with too much of a head on it. Of course, serving beer to people on vacation should be less stressful than most jobs, right?

One aspect of the job that I’ve never truly experienced before was receiving tips.

The funniest gratuity came from a guy who didn’t intend to do so.

Four fellows in their 30s (yes, I checked their IDs) got drinks, courtesies of the first man. When I got to the last one, he handed me one of his refillable souvenir mugs and I started pulling his drink from the tap. That’s when I noticed something floating in it and pulled out a drenched five-dollar bill.

I held it up and turned to the guy.

“Did you lose something?” I asked.

“Is that yours?” he responded.

“No.”

“Well, it is now.”

Bottom line, it was a fun experience. Just like cooking breakfast sandwiches, I don’t need to do it again, but it’s rather nice to be able to look back at the time I did.

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