One positive thing in my life at this time of chaos was my job. I’m pretty sure I found the position advertised in the newspaper and it was for a waitressing job at a theatre restaurant called “Draculas”. This was no ordinary job as all the staff had to create their own character and then politely horrify the guests as part of the entertainment.
Once I was accepted, I was taken some blue stone stairs to the basement. I was given a tour of the dressing room and shown the choice of costumes and then introduced to a powder room lined with mirrors and brightly lit bulbs all around. Face paints and make up were scattered over every inch of the bench. I remember looking through the costumes; the hangers scraping against the metal clothes rack as I tried to make an uncertain decision.
Half an hour later, I surfaced ready for work. I was “Hag the Bag”. I wore a false warty nose, witches hat, baggy old worn out dress, shaggy socks and boots. I felt more than worthy to be a waitress at “Dracs” but I can’t remember the reactions of the crew but I felt I was accepted as one of the crew…..until I entered the dum dum duuuuum… KITCHEN!! Now that was scary! I had waitressed in restaurants before by this time. I knew how to carry 3 plates, I knew which side to put them down on and take them away from, but I had no understanding or knowledge of a bulk dinner sitting.
The chef, and there was only one for over 100 people, had to get dinners out as fast and hot as possible before the live show started on stage. Not an easy task for her, and also someone had forgotten to tell me the rules; so on my first night, I was under fire. Plates up, processes and order were just a complete confusion to me. The Chef, herself was abrupt and impatient with my lack of knowledge and I was the brunt of her sharp hurry ups and surly glares. We got through it and I made a vow be better the next night.
The next night was better and the scowls softened and the chastising lessened. There was no time for praise or banal chatter when the meals were up though. The kitchen was ablaze with a glaring and fluorescent light but when we walked out those swinging doors, we arrived into a red velvet dungeon of frenzied diversions. All of the staff were dressed in character; there was Doctor EviI, Ug, Spacey, Animal, Nurse Get Urgiblets, and Little Johnny. I spoke to the people in my rude and witchy voice, told them their meals were “slugs and snails and puppy dog tails” and walked away with a hump in my back, scratching my bum. I loved it.
One night I had to take a tray of Spiders (soft drink and ice cream with a spider in it) over to a large party near the stage. The end of the room long table was very close to the stage; the side where the piano was positioned. The Pianist just happened to hoist himself up onto the stage the moment I bent to proffer my tray of drinks. To my dismay, his foot caught under the platter and as much as I tried to shock absorb the jolt, it was a hopeless case. The tray swayed and listed until all three large glasses of sticky beverage upended into a surly looking gentleman’s lap. My eyes went straight to his and I saw red faced outrage. Knowing that there was nothing I could do to better the situation, I bent down low towards his messy, sticky lap and screeched in my best haggy voice, “Do you want me to lick it off?” The table erupted with applause and the gentleman in question had no choice but to play along with the “hilarity” of it all. I must admit, I did come came back “tout suite” with towels and apologies, but my victim of misfortune was by now the hero of the night as well as the receiver of immaculate service from there on. I got my best tip from my worst victim that night.