Current Occupation: Intake/Assessment Coordinator for a company that provides vocational-related services to individuals with a variety of intellectual deficits and developmental delays
Former Occupation: Clinical Assistant for a company that provides early intervention services to children with Autism.
Contact Information: A writer by night, between the hours of 9-5 Jerred works supporting individuals with special needs. On any given day he might be found at Walgreens completing a vocational assessment or learning the ins and outs of selling flirty flats in the Kohls shoe department alongside a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome. He resides in Oakland, Ca., holds a Master’s Degree in Human Science and has been interested in writing poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction since around 2005, the year he completed an undergraduate degree in armchair anthropology. His writing has appeared in Challenger International and he currently has forthcoming publications in The Binnacle, Chest, The Ultimate Writer, Conceit Magazine, and Amulet. He has managed to survive 31 years on this Earthplanet.
“E00791. O.K.! Jo! #1 wait staff! Gonna make some big tips today!” It was Glen working the gate that morning and his level of exuberance never waned. The potential big-tip earner, who was in the throes of a hangover of Bukowskian proportions smiled, not in the mood for small talk as Scotty, Glen’s coworker, pulled up on the opposite side of the guardhouse having just completed his beat around the compound ensuring safety along the vulnerable perimeter that demarcated this exclusive gated community from the other, multi-million dollar estates and members of high culture that composed the high-class hamlet known as Montecito within which the former was situated. Scotty displayed what was best described as mildly autistic social interaction skills and behavioral manifestations: poor eye contact, awkward bodily posture, an inability to interpret and act accordingly to his conversational partners’ nonverbal cues as he carried on about his interests. He took his post at the club VERY seriously. For instance, Jo had once got a ride to work and upon arriving at the gate Scotty broke down: hesitating, appearing visibly flustered and mumbling to himself a bit, looking back and forth between the car and guard house as he stood there in a state of behavioral uncertainty before telephoning the clubhouse to speak with relevant personnel to ensure it would be o.k. to grant the vehicle plus Country Club employee in the passenger seat entrance. At the core of this situation was a change in routine and his breakdown at encountering it was further evidence of said autistic characteristics.
Once his identity was confirmed and arrival time properly documented Jo drove off toward the parking log. It was a beautiful morning and this meant one thing: they would be slammed. This observation, of the general tendency for increased member activity to correlate positively with increases in environmental temperature had led Jo to the conclusion that the members of this club were not unlike reptiles in this very basic sense: when the temperature rose they became more active. Their blood flowed more smoothly, perhaps thinning the result of the heat, the lubrication in their joints becoming more fluid which provided for easier bipedal locomotion and increased physiological activity. But on cooler days a driver within the club grounds had to remain vigilant and ready with the horn lest he run over one of them laying supine, absorbing the heat stored within the asphalt roadway, raring their heads in contempt and rapidly flicking their tongues at any motorist while slowly undulating to a safer region at the road’s shoulder to continue their never-ending endeavor at core temperature increase.
“We are ladies and gentleman serving ladies and gentleman.” That was the motto in the employee handbook he received when first taking on the job one year and a half prior.
“Don’t touch the members and always maintain a professional mode of deportment when in their presence.” This was Jo’s favorite stricture as it served the function of setting a kind of social gulf not unlike the one distinguishing the Brahman from the Pariah.
“Refer to guests as Sir or Madame” This was another helpful tip in the book and these weren’t the only language directives either. According to this all knowing resource, it was thoroughly reprehensible to call their (members’) cocktails “drinks” when taking an order, this moniker being too closely associated with alcoholism by extrapolation and one more suited to subterranean institutes inhabited by low-brow simpletons binge drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon and Yagermeister. At the club, the preferred term was “beverage”
And speaking of beverages, a stated goal in the ‘Country Club Front of the House Training Manual’ (a supplement to the aforementioned ‘Employee Handbook’) was that a basic understanding of alcoholic beverages—one more developed, for instance, then knowing that Stolichnaya was vodka or that Tangurey was gin and that merlot was red and chardonnay white—be cultivated. To rub elbows successfully with patrons such as the ones who’s asses graced the chairs in these dining rooms, it suggested, it was necessary that front of the house employees be comfortable regurgitating such descriptors as ‘oaky,’ ‘tropical,’ and ‘floral’ in proper context and they damn well better be prepared for queries about palettes, finishes, and body. Vitipedanticism was especially important for if there was anything that upper-class white folk out to dinner at a country club desired it was fine wine and new hires were warned of the potential for discomfiture that was very real in the presence of such dignified patrons showcasing their equally dignified guests when if questioned about how the house Syrah was, one (a new hire) responded in such vague terms as: “We have a fine Syrah. May I bring you one?”
And in this same vein one did not ask if they (members) would like to “see” menus. Instead one queried when it would be appropriate to “present” them and it was in the accumulation of all these seemingly irrelevant (irrelevant with respect to the full actualization of a successful meal) details that the high culture of the club was manifest. The whole scene (in terms of member interaction) was characterized by a kind of watered-down monarchial-structured formality put in place specifically to upset human equality and the potential for meaningful relationships and this of course was nothing new. Throughout history the rich have surrounded themselves with subordinates, the latter, in many cases, being almost completely dependent on the former with respect to successful/fruitful existences and these relationships, in Jo’s mind, were very ancient and observable elsewhere in the animal kingdom, viz., like those between large sharks and parasitic lampreys and those birds that eat stuff out of Hippopotamuses’ mouths, which is to say, more specifically, symbiotic.
Jo was one of them, the wait staff that is, who willingly interposed their bodies and, with respect to about sixty percent of them, healthy psychological states, between these hungered members and their desire for food not without high-culture accouterments which at times was like what it must be like coming between an angered bear mother and her cub, an endeavor Jo had heard was risky business.
The first member to arrive that afternoon was the venerable Sir Bushington, an heir to a prestigious textbook publishing family who had invested early on in oil and sold out to Chevron for big money. Standing over six feet tall, Bushington was an imposing character with a thinning tuft of gray hair who for the most part donned Tommy Bahama and who had a concupiscence for females young enough to be his granddaughters unmatched by any other member and a tendency to speak openly about this penchant with any of those male wait staff he thought he could trust. He migrated to the club from Boca Raton each year to spend about five months as he didn’t own a house on the grounds but instead rented one of the guest cottages that were available. He walked by where Jo and One Lung stood folding napkins—the latter having been the focus of his concupiscience on more than one occassion and whistled quietly to get their attention. He told One Lung that she looked beautiful and then sat in Jo’s section which was inside the Terrace Grill.
“I would love to get into that. Those tall legs…” Bushington offered Jo a lecherous smile as he said this. He was not modest about his penchant for vagina which was well known in the country club scene and the fact that the stuff he wanted was between the legs of women young enough to be his granddaughters only seemed to ostracize him slightly. Each year that he came out from Florida with a woman whom he paid an undisclosed sum of money to drive him and always claimed that it was not only driving that these girls did—in all, a prurient bastard. One of his favorite jokes made itself known when dessert time came.
“So Mr. Weaver (Weaver being his formal, Christian surname), will you be having any dessert this evening?”
“Not tonight. I didn’t see any hair pie on the menu.” Hardy Har Har fuckin Har! The comment certainly dated him for in Jo’s experience with the women of his generation, hair pie was no longer the vogue. But Bushington was a serious proponent of the fully actualized bush and this was another fact he was happy to make known to those trusted wait staff when circumstances permitted him to do so: there was no better place for him to be than entangled in a fully actualized pubic tangle. In these situations Jo often pondered how he might get along with the late Henry Miller. No doubt they would have hit it off just fine. Jo imagined the two of them sitting at Bushington’s normal table there at the front of the Terrace Grill ogling the young trim rounding the room in their black skirts and shape-concealing, white dress shirts and paisley vests. It would be Miller to speak up first, drunk again and rambling on the verge of incoherency when young Tania, a freshmen at the local Catholic school who had only fairly recently allowed her boyfriend Sylvester up her blouse for the first time approached their table to tell them of the delightful specials of the evening:
“Yes Tania, where now is that warm cunt of yours, those fat, heavy garters, those soft, bulging thighs? There is a bone in my prick six inches long. I will ream out every wrinkle in your cunt, Tania, big with seed. I will send you home to your Sylvester with an ache in your belly and your womb turned inside out. Your Sylvester! Yes, he knows how to build a fire, but I know how to inflame a cunt. I shoot hot bolts into you, Tania, I make your ovaries incandescent. Your Sylvester is a little jealous now? He feels something, does he? He feels the remnants of my big prick. I have set the shores a little wider, I have ironed out the wrinkles. After me you can take on stallions, bulls, rams, drakes, St. Bernards….” At this point Tania would have fled in a state of utter terror, informing the dining room manager of the potty-mouthed man at table one who had just violated her completely without ever having laid a hand upon her. Of course, Bushington would be in a state of awe, never having had the courage to manifest into words his thoughts which were tantamount to Henry’s, lauding him all the way back to the privacy of his guest cottage for such profanity was not looked highly upon in the general rank and file of the country club.
At around 1:00 in the afternoon the sun reaches its zenith and outside the Terrace Grill is filling up at a steady rate. HE WAS RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF A FUCKIN’ REPTILE ZOO. AND SOMEBODY WAS FEEEDING BOOZE TO THE GODDAMN THINGS! Wide brimmed sunbonnets, pastel dress suits, pressed dockers, expensive golf spikes, here and there a designer handbag, and all around a general air of upper class hauteur. A steady rush characterized the hottest part of the afternoon and Jo sweated profusely over the course of his many trips to tables, kitchen, and then back again. Over half the wait staff that afternoon was hung over and, overall, morale was low. Espresso was imbibed in an attempt to boost energy levels, cigarette breaks were taken to relax nerves, and those with true grit had already managed to get a bloody mary or two into their systems. But this was nothing out of the ordinary when the majority of a work force consisted of college-aged students. At one point, a misjudged chip shot found its way onto the patio, bounced once, and cracked one of the windows that lined the wall inside the Terrace Grill and this was excitement among the diners, especially those inside who never saw it coming. Those golfers in the lunch crowd chided the individual responsible for the act and everyone had a good laugh, some relating similar instances of folly behind the club.
And then reality sets in with the sweat amassing along the brow line for its downward progress and the possibility of complete mental and physical collapse becomes very real, there being no possibility for attenuating this debilitated state with mental faculties devoted entirely to the prevention of projectile vomiting onto the son-of-a-bitch that just can’t seem to decide between the frittata or the turkey burger….