jueves, 24 de noviembre de 2016

Lemon slices

   She cut a slice of lemon and put it on the edge of the glass. One of the waitresses came in a second and grabbed it, taking the drink to its table. Working on a bar wasn’t the best paying job ever but no one ever get bored during a shift. Bronwyn had been working there for almost a year and she had already witnessed every single kind of thing you could see at a bar. From the beginning of a fistfight to a couple falling in love. She had seen first kisses and last dates. She had even been a shoulder to cry on for some people.

 It wasn’t like she had looking for that specific job or anything. The reality was that Bronwyn had not found a proper job in the two years after she had graduated college. She had a diploma that made her a professional engineer but she had never been able to work as one. Every single company she had sent her CV to, turned her down because she had no experience. But how could she gain any experience if no company would hire her? It was the eternal struggle and it got worse as time went on. She was desperate and there’s when her friend Alicia gave her the idea.

 Alicia had been dating a guy who owned a bar. The place was not very big but it had a very good location. As Bronwyn’s friend, Alicia offered her a job in her boyfriend’s club. She told her it would be nice for her to have at least one paying job in her information and that it would only be for a short period of time. Bronwyn wasn’t very convinced by that. She really wanted to find something that suited her better but Alicia reminded her of how much time she had spent looking for that. Besides, it would be fun for her to be a bartender.

 The first thing she had to do before taking the job was studying a little bit about the drinks that she would have to serve. Alicia gave her a copy of the menu of the bar and Bronwyn looked for the appropriate way to do those drinks. She practiced by watching videos online and failing once and again. She dropped several mixers to the ground before she could do the shaking moves the right way. The rest of the things she had to learn were quite easy and it was just about remembering the right ingredients and the amounts of alcohol she had to use.

 She practiced a lot because she wanted to be really good in her first job. If she was going to do it, Bronwyn had to feel she was doing the best thing she could do. The very first day she worked on the bar, she impressed everyone with her moves, despite being very nervous about something she hadn’t realized she had to do: talk to people. She had always being kind of shy but talking to half-drunks and people in almost darkness was much easier than doing it as if they were outside.

Her first day was an absolute success. Alicia came around late to watch her for a bit and then congratulated her on how much energy she put into doing the drinks. Bronwyn couldn’t really talk much because she was always focused on making the drinks properly and not missing one thing about them. She supposed that, in time, she would be able to do them without thinking that much. And it was true. After only a month in the bar she began to be more relaxed and even made friends with the other people in the bar and some of the clients.

 Besides, she found out people could give her tips and some of them were really good tippers. It was very clear for her where they came to, but it was pretty obvious that Alicia’s boyfriend had attracted the right crowd to the bar. They dressed with expensive clothes and paid for several drinks that large groups would consume. Some nights it was truly insane, seeing these rich youngsters drink and drink and their wallets never feeling a single thing from all of that craziness. For Alicia that was simply incredible, as were the tips she received.

  The place had two levels: the lower level was where the bar was located also had a lounge area and a small dancing floor. But the true dancing area and full club experience was upstairs. Lights there were even more scarce so all the waiters had to act as security officers also: they couldn’t allow any bottles or glasses upstairs, only in the tables and the bar in first floor. It was a difficult task for everyone and Bronwyn tried to help as much as she could by always being attentive of the stairs and the people going up to the second floor.

 There had been several times in which people tried to go there with their champagne or whisky bottles and one night in particular they found out why it was so dangerous for that to happen. A very drunk client grabbed his vodka bottle and hid it in his pants. The lights, or lack of them, helped him go unnoticed until he reached the stairs. Bronwyn thought he looked very strange, so she told a waiter to follow him and just see if he was hiding something under his clothes. The waiter did as she said but finding the guy wasn’t easy upstairs.

 It only became clear what he wanted to do once a girl screamed upstairs. Bronwyn almost dropped a bottle when she heard the noise. She ran upstairs automatically, as well as many other people. When they got to the second level, they realized the drunken man had broken the bottle and was threatening a woman with it. The waiter that had gone behind him was trying to convince him to lower the bottle but the he launched himself at the waiter, trying to cut him. Someone, a big guy, grabbed the drunkard before he could do any harm and put him on a lock.

 The bottle fell to the floor and the big guy took the man downstairs. The lights were put on and everyone was asked to leave the scene of the aggression, except for the workers, the drunkard and the girl he had threatened with the bottle. They all waited for the police, who arrived shortly and took the man away. The girl then explained to the officers that she was his ex-girlfriend. She could only guess that he had followed her into the club and had been waiting to do something all night. She was trembling a little bit as she told her story.

 After that, the big guy revealed his identity: it was Victor, Alicia’s boyfriend and owner of the club. He had been there just by chance and had been able to intervene. However, he wasn’t in a very good mood. He told everyone it was a shame that they hadn’t realized he was going up there with a bottle. He told them that they should be much more perceptive about who went up the dance floor. He told everyone he was very disappointed in them. After saying all that, he just left, leaving everyone to clean everything before leaving.

 Bronwyn thought she was out for sure. After all, she had left her post only to see what had happened upstairs. People could have stolen drinks or even money. She was certain that Victor would call her to tell her she was fired or not even that, maybe someone else would tell her. The next day of work, she was really nervous about that but no one ever came in to say anything. Furthermore, every single person that had been working in the club was still there and some of the also thought that they were going to be fired on the spot.

 Apparently, Victor was a much kinder guy that he looked like. That was a good thing for all of them because it wasn’t only Bronwyn that needed the job but every single one of them. From then on, they assigned a waiter to the stairs area to check on people and eventually Victor hired a security guy to do that job. The tips eventually got even better and Bronwyn realized that working as a bartender was not bad at all. She earned good money, she was good at it and she would make friends every night. The conversations she heard sometimes made her laugh, and some other times almost cry.

It was such an experience to be there with all those people, hearing their problems and the reasons they were happy about. It was funny to see the groups of friends dancing all together and it was also great to see love flourishing between two people, whoever they were, or seeing friendship be so active in men and women. Eventually, she stopped working there when a company finally decided she was good enough for them. But Bronwyn never forget the lemon slices she cut and the drinks she served at that club.

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