On Saturday night she dressed in her black slacks once more and selected the most revealing blouse she owned. It wasn’t that revealing compared to the dancers, but at least it had a small plunging neckline and she thought she looked cute once she was all dressed. When she arrived at the bar, she was stunned to find Pete and Hank moving tables and chairs and sliding the runway out of the way. Just as she turned a wide-eyed look on Ed, another stranger walked in behind the service bar like he had every right to be there.
“You must be the new girl,” he said as he played with the microphone equipment. “I’m Jan. I’m the general manager around here.”
“Uh. Hi.” Ani was confused and she turned to look at Ed as he counted out her float. She caught a slight shake of his head as he handed her the $25.00 and she concentrated instead on sliding the change into its proper spot in her changer. Behind her Jan spoke into the microphone a couple of times and adjusted the reverberation.
“Test. Test. This is a test.” When he was satisfied, he bounded up the three steps into the kitchen and disappeared out of sight. When enough time had passed that it seemed obvious that he wasn’t going to reappear, Ani turned back to Ed.
“Wow. What’s going on in here tonight? Something special or something?”
Ed groaned and rolled his eyes before he answered. “Nothing special at all, Ani. See those guys with their equipment up on stage?” Ani nodded as she watched a man setting up a drum set. “Every Saturday night, the management of the Royal Hotel deems it the best idea to turn this strip club into a Country and Western Bar. So – the runway gets moved and the tables spread out so there is a dance floor. Worst dumb idea they have ever come up with – but Jan does love his Western music.”
“Is it busy?”
Ed laughed in response and left it at that. At 6:30 Ani went out and cleaned her section. Hank and Peter were just about finished rearranging the room and the band gave a few microphone and instrument checks.
“Anything I can help you guys with?” she asked the other two waiters. Both of them laughed and thanked her as they shook their heads and rolled their eyes. “I take it neither of you are happy about this.”
“When you get so many guys in to see the strippers during a weeknight – why would you not jump even harder on that on a Saturday night?” Pete was so obviously upset that Ani took a small step backward when he slammed a chair into its place at a table.
“Don’t expect to make a lot of money tonight Ani. These crowds are the cheapest there are.” Hank’s mournful face almost made Ani laugh until she thought of her own upcoming rent.
“Is it really that bad?” she asked.
“What do you think of when you hear the word Country and Western?” Pete asked. Of the two, Ani had discovered that Pete had more to say at any given time. Hank was definitely the quieter one.
“I don’t know. I honestly have never thought about it. I guess I think of my Dad.”
“Good enough. When you think of your Dad, do you think he would leave a tip here?”
Ani’s loud laugh caught the other two waiters off guard. “My Dad would never even set foot in this place – ever!”