It’s a regular Sunday night at Lotus. The football games have concluded. The sports crowd has mostly gone. I only have one other table in the room, and they’re keeping themselves busy with their plates.
I go back into the kitchen to check on some things then return to the seating room.
There are four very well dressed men sitting in the far booth. I’m the only server on, so they’re mine.
As I get closer to them, I notice they look like business owners. Their hair is perfectly groomed, gleaming smiles and bright moods. These guys have an air of importance, but humility, on the surface.
“Evening gentlemen, my name’s Andrew, I’ll be your temporary friend that gets you things.”
They all laugh, perhaps too hard.
“I love him already!” one shouts, festively.
“Have any of you been here before?” I ask.
“Nope,” says one man on the left.
“Ohhh well in that case, scooch over!”
The man on the right gladly moves over, giving me just enough room to sit beside him in the booth.
They seem very amused by this. It’s my usual routine, unique among the servers there. Though a bit unconventional, it always works in developing trust quickly.
I take one of their menus, “We do things family style here. So that means you have to share!”
“Oh, well we never mind sharing!”
I glance around and notice they’re all looking at me, not at the menu. Hm.
“All right well we should get a variety of dishes then,” I point out some of my favorites- a chicken dish, a beef one, a shrimp one, and a combination appetizer, “this should keep it interesting. And I know you’ll all love -”
“-Are you Italian?” one jumps in.
“I bet he is! Oh my GOSH I LOVE his hair! Can I feel it?” a second one exclaims.
“Uh sure why not,” I say.
The man across from me reaches out, revealing a nice Rolex under his suit sleeve, and get this… doesn’t just touch my hair, he runs his fingers through it.
“Oh wow, it’s so thick! I wish I had hair like this!”
“I know me too! It’s so… cute,” the fourth one says.
“Wow thanks guys. Oh by the way, what are we having to drink?”
“Ooo are we drinkin’ tonight boys?” one asks.
They all exchange glances at me, then each other.
“Oh yeah. Oh yeah we’re drinkin’ tonight,” answers one.
“Ok, what’ll it be?”
Rolex guy points across the table at the two beside me, “They’ll each have a Longbeach. I’ll have a Strawberry Mojito, and Bryce,” he thumbs to the smiling guy beside him, “He’ll have a dirty martini.”
“Make it real dirty Andrew,” Bryce says, with a huge grin. They all share a giggle at that.
“Sounds good fellas, should I put the appetizer order in as well?”
“Put it all in babe!” Bryce says. They all laugh at that, too.
With that I was certain- I was playing with fire. But my tip depends on them liking me. Remain friendly, Andrew. But a bit ambiguous. Mysterious, distant, but engaging. Like dealing with girls in college.
So I put their order in, drop off their drinks and keep moving elsewhere.
I conclude my other table, they tell me they loved the food and appreciated the good service. I give them some coupons and send them away happy.
So now it’s just me and the four men across the room.
Oh and the hot bartender. She’s hot enough to melt asphalt. Where most businessmen skip right by me to sit at her bar, these four gentlemen paid her no mind.
Some time passes, and the food is ready. I bring it all out on a large tray and set it along the center of their table.
“So Andrew, are you going to join us?”
I have no other tables, and they know it. I have no excuse to leave.
“Sure,” I say, noticing the man on the right eagerly scooting over again.
I opt to pull a chair up and sit on the end, as if I didn't see the invitation.
“So you guys look like big shots. What do you do?”
“Well he owns a club in Tempe, and we’re partners,” Rolex points to Bryce.
“And you two?” I look to the couple on the right.
“Oh we’re… promoters. Hey! You should come visit the club!”
“What kind of club is it?” I ask, but I think I know the answer.
“A fun one,” Bryce smiles, “You should visit the club soon!”
“Or just visit us,” says one of the promoters. He whips out a card as if he had it ready.
“There’s my number. I’m Todd.” For some reason the rest of them giggled.
I take his card, “Cool thanks Todd. Listen I gotta clean up around here. Enjoy the food eh?”
“We will! It looks so good!” Rolex exclaims.
I finish up my side work. Periodically checking in but leaving quickly. Eventually Rolex takes the bill and pays with his card, I drop it back off and let a few moments pass.
I notice he’s stood the bill booklet up at the end of the table, signaling me my tip is ready.
I approach them one last time, “Great, any last requests within reason?”
They all laugh again, too hard.
“Come see me soon, hon,” Todd says, handing me the booklet.
I take a quick glance in the booklet, noticing a $40 tip on an $82 bill. Then snap it closed. It makes an audible clap concluding my performance. The money is mine now.
“So you guys must know a lot of hot chicks, running a club and all. Any sweethearts you could recommend for me?”
The room got dimmer. Each of their demeanors dropped a thousand miles.
“I don’t know. Maybe,” Todd says to his fork, sinking back in his booth.
“Well we’ll work on it. Thank you gentlemen, it’s been a real pleasure. Take care of yourselves,” I smile and leave.
From a distance, I watch them slowly gather their things. One of them pats Todd on the back like his mother just died, and they all walk out.