A light afternoon mist poured over a massive manicured lawn. Groups of tables and chairs each with an enormous vase of flowers and two opened bottles of white and red wine were strewn everywhere. They were being attended to by hundreds of 20-30 somethings in white collared shirts. They were the catering. I was a fucking caterer.
It was good money though. I knew walking in I’d be leaving with over $100 and a huge free meal. What I didn’t know was that over the course of the night my friend would reveal a side of him I’d never known before.
Ben told me specifically before I got there to “sign him up.” He wanted me to fake his initials on the check-in sheet. This made me nervous immediately. I asked him why. He said he usually shows up around two hours late. He’s working two jobs tonight and is trying to pull off the Fred Flintstone thing. I shrug it off and say, “sure.”
When I arrived, my boss handed me a huge packet and told me “go fill it out in a corner where no one can see how disgusting you are you servent.” There goes signing in for Ben. As soon as I filled out the forms I was thrown in the back of a circus tent to be ordered around by a group of well manscaped actors turned waiters. I’ve never catered before and have no fucking clue what’s going on. The whole time Ben is calling and texting me to see if I “signed him up.” My phone vibrates off the hook and I’m constantly holding it with one hand like I have to piss and my dick’s on my thigh.
I’m walking in circles with a platter of skewered BBQ Steak slices and shoving them down old ladies gaping mouths. I don’t have time to talk on the phone! I didn’t answer.
Two hours in and I’m doing pretty good. I’ve selectively teamed up (by teamed up I mean just worked close to. Never actually speaking to anyone. That would be gross. They’re fucking actors. HILARIOUS) with the slowest working caterers and I’ve run in circles picking up a glass here, a plate there, trying to keep my lame ass grin up.
Ben strolls up with his shirt untucked and a black eye, eating a drumstick.
“Whats up man, want some chicken?”
Ben pulls an open cup out of his pocket and shoves his hands in a pile of teriyaki chicken. Sauce runs down his fingers as he shoves meat in his face. “No seriously you should have some. It’s really good I got it from my last job.”
I back away slowly as soccer moms stare in horror, “I’m good man.”
“Take the chicken Tyler. Dude, take the chicken.”
“I don’t want chicken right now.”
“Will you please take it? TAKE IT.”
I shoved my hand in the chicken cup and came out with three chunks covered in sauce. I stuffed it in my face and it was REALLY FUCKING GOOD. As always Ben was right.
“Were you okay sneaking in? Did you get signed in?”
“Oh yeah, everything is fine. They love me here.” And with that he stalked off smiling and eating chicken. This was just the beginning. As the night went on Ben taught me how to float through events:
Ben’s Rules For Doing Nothing and Getting Paid
Always be moving. Never stop. Always look busy but never actually do anything.
Immediately locate all good excuses to be separated from the pack, then you exploit those excuses to the farthest extent. Then go past that.
Alcohol is your oxygen. If you’re not drinking you’re losing. Figure it out. Steal a beer.
Your car is home base. You must report back often. They (you) have weed.
Never truly stand out. You are one of the many.
It wasn’t till the third time that night that he asked me to go back with him to his car that I finally indulged. It was scary running away. Yeah, I’m a pussy and don’t want to get caught but I also really want $100. But Ben was parked right outside. We hot boxed his car in front of the valet podium and got lit. I decided to run back but Ben wanted to stay. I returned and amazingly, no one noticed. It was like magic. I just kept working and no one said shit. But now I was stoned.
Suddenly the bathroom seemed like the safest place. I hadn’t gone yet because I was so nervous about some how being caught needing to shit. I escaped after having several retarded conversations with customers where I think I just mumbled and agreed.
The bathroom was disgusting and tiny. All the actors had been hanging out in there for hours smoking and jacking off. Death threats and boobies had been scrawled on the walls. I was stoned and nervous. I thought about running away but I remembered my $100. Gotta get that money.
I stormed back into the fray of old women and psychotic chefs. Time flew by, lesbians did acoustic guitar solos, some man raffled off a beach ball and two fat sisters screamed at me for not bringing them enough meat.
The party was winding down and, of course, it was now turn to clean up the debris of rich white people (mainly champagne bottles and sadness). We had around 30 obscenely large bags of trash to haul to a dumpster on the other side of the property. We were lugging these nasty things like a pair of homeless Santa Clauses when I saw Ben limping towards me.
“Am I walking funny?” There was a large stain all down the side of his pants.
“Yeah, what are you doing?”
“I stole some beers. I had one in my pocket but it fell down my pant leg. My shoe is filling up, you gotta help me.”
I went with Ben back behind the dumpsters where he had an array of water and vodka bottles. He had made his own little hut of trash and alcohol.
“What is all this?”
“They wanted me to throw away all the open vodka bottles. I brought them back here and filled up these water bottles instead. Want one?”
“Sure” I took a swig, it was all vodka.
“Want to smoke?”
I took a hit off his pipe and wiped his pants down with old newspaper. He smelled like beer but didn’t look completely disgusting.
“Dude, you need to calm down.”
“What? What do you mean?”
“All these beers! Smoking behind the dumpster? I can hear our boss like 30 feet away.”
“I do this all the time. It’s nothing.”
We started to walk back to the circus tent and noticed a bag of trash that Ben had given up on halfway to the dumpster. I motion to it and he says, “Oh check this out.” Ben picks up the bag, spins and chucks it into the air. The trash bag sails across the parking lot, defying gravity and lands with a swoosh perfectly in the dumpster. I looked at him in awe. Who is this guy?
Later my boss came up to me and told me I was in charge of checking the bathrooms for cups or trash that the disgusting rich people left behind. I went from bathroom to bathroom making sure they were all clean.
I came to the last ladies bathroom and knocked. “Hello, anyone in there?”
An old lady’s voice came out, “Occupied.”
“Sorry!” I shut the door and heard a beer bottle fall and roll. Then I heard Ben laugh. Was he drinking in the woman’s bathroom?
The night was over and I hadn’t seen Ben for the last hour. Probably still drunk in the woman’s bathroom. The boss pulled out a clipboard and had everyone sign out. Ben ran up, signed his name and we walked.
“How the fuck did you do that?”
“Do WHAT?! Drink and smoke and not work a fucking minute for 6 hours and get signed in for over time!? How!”
“I donno. That’s just what I do.”
Words from the idiot savant himself. Over the course of the night I saw Ben drink and smoke more than the average frat boy would in a weekend. He kept his cool, never missed a beat and most importantly never worked for a beat. As we were walking to his car he pulled out a togo box filled with steak and an ice cream sandwich.
“Want some? I snuck some away before they threw it out.”