I’m not normally claustrophobic, but this dinner rush has me stuck here in “The Vault” way longer than I like.

Way longer.

For hours now, I’ve been steadily at it. The high pressure spray nozzle, the steam, the clanging of pots and pans. A shrill cacophony crashes through it all, as I shove another rack of glasses into the hot machine.

I stubbornly ignore the shouts from certain cooks calling for plates. Unlike Ted, they think I’m the only one responsible for keeping them supplied. Unlike Ted, they don’t seem to understand that I can’t bring them what I don’t have.

When it’s this busy, nearly everyone has to pitch in and bus tables but I’ve been told explicitly to NEVER come out and get carts. Too many times now I guess, my large hairiness bursting through the double doors between the pantry and the dining room, has frightened the bejesus outta customers. Phil made it very clear. This will not do.

I throw open the steaming hot door of the very inadequate dishwashing machine. It can only handle one load at a time. Either a rack of plates, pots or two racks of glasses. I got plenty of glasses. Debbie appears, grabs the hot stack and quickly exits. Heading for the bar.

She’s so good. Always on top of things, helping out anyone who needs it. Not like some of the hostesses, who seem to think it beneath them. Normally, I go out through the pantry to the kitchen to supply the cooks with plates. Or through the kitchen and behind the bar to give the bartender whatever he needs. But when it’s this busy, I need to keep the machine going non-stop for hours.

Non-stop for hours in the vault is brutal.

My dishwashing room really is a vault by the way. A very old vault. Built in 1918 with the rest of the Olmsted County Bank and Trust building, that is now Tinkler’s Restaurant. The vault is probably the least successful of the renovations. There is just not at all enough ventilation and the equipment is not at all up to the task of cleaning all that’s needed to keep the place going during a rush like this.

I’m getting more than a bit irked and I’m not the only one. Everyone’s a bit on edge, even Ted. His finger is not even close to being healed yet since he’s constantly reopening the wound. He may seem to goof off, but Ted’s a dedicated cook and he works hard. He sliced the heck outta his index finger showing off how fast he could cut cucumbers. I remember it like it was yesterday. Nearly cut it off he did. Heh… It was really hard not to laugh but… I like Ted so much.

Bob is not liking Ted though… not tonight anyway. I can hear him shouting over the sound of my machine but I can’t quite make it out. Only that it’s about Ted. It sounds like he’s coming up from downstairs. I’m thinking how odd this is. Bob rarely gets upset about anything. Suddenly there’s a huge crash!

“Fuck!” Oh oh… there is going to be hell to pay for something.

“Fuck, fuck fuck FUCK!!” I’m not about to open the door but it gets opened for me. Slightly anyway. I can see an overturned cart, and broken plates and glasses all over the floor. Then Bob throws down the box he’s been carrying, onto the pile.

“Goddamnit Ted! I blame YOU for this.” He picks up one of the cans of Reddi Whip that was in the box he just threw down, and continues shouting at Ted. “You just had to show those druggie friends of yours how to huff the nitrous off these didn’t you?” Bob is now shaking the can in Ted’s face. “Now it’s dead, still full of cream… but DEAD! USELESS! I got orders stacking up for ice cream drinks and the whole case is dead, Ted!”

I run to get what I’ll need to clean everything up. The last thing I need is to get involved in drama like this, so I get busy. Ted is looking like he want’s to belt Bob… but he doesn’t. Phill finally arrives and pretends to be handling the situation with authority. No doubt a lot of customers are watching but I’m not about to look. I finish and get back inside. Two carts are pushed in without a word spoken and I get back to work… in my vault. Things are back to normal.


Heh… whatever that means tonight. For me, it means I’m back in the vault.


Oh what a night!