I got this job because I was seventeen Available everyday at three In debt with a man after I went clean My boss at the time was thirty six with a goatee Five dollars an hour plus tip, you see It was fine for me.
I met the others standing by the kitchen line All of them with the same look in their eye Lying to family and friends saying, financially, their fine Getting nothing on a tip and never knowing why Yet they return the next day to serve white wine
Looking around I see all of us wanted more But I’m in debt and you have to pay the rent Do it all in one day and go home to a son that’s four Under the thumb of an old vice president
The roof over the kitchen is about to cave in And we watch with silent eyes Because our uniforms are being held with safety pins Promised new ones but Corporate lies
And when the bubble in the ceiling pops We’ll be by the dumpsters flicking cigarettes on the road While the greedy pigs come in drawing lots Waiting for the gas stove to explode
Paid vacation sounds lovely Been here every week for the past year Sometimes I’m called to come in early Pick up the broken glass from lunch rush beer
The people come in Angry as they usually are Now the glares don’t even touch my skin It makes me laugh how many nasty people sit at the bar The high-class families who come in for din
It’s been eight hours and six years Since we started our shift Staying here for three more is the biggest fear But we’re already ****** We’ve been here for long we know this career
What else am I supposed to know Other than how to make dough
It’s been a long night You can see it in the height Of cigarette buts by the dumpster Where we can freely talk about the customer
It’s a busy life Feels like we’re running out of time To get out and ignore the strife But there are times when the tips make us feel sublime
And we can buy a warm meal Cause maybe it will heal These aching muscles That come from a constant hustle
Don’t you see why they say At the end of the day We need an ashtray.
don't eat it, but don't tell me "It ain't Texas enough." I know. We are in Seattle, the owners are Chinese, and I'm Californian, so it's definitely not Texas. It's a mutt. "Dog food," said a customer. I don't blame. I ain't mad, they just pay me to be here.
The restaurant is quiet, relatively, the one that Maya told you about yesterday at lunch She and her boyfriend mentioned “Three’s Company”— No not the show— And how we should go out there sometime “Yeah, maybe we should” You said because you don’t know how to say no
The lighting is warm, like an Olive Garden But there’s a draft on your neck and your hands are cold because there is no one standing next to you You wish you were there instead; even though this place looks nice, you don’t know if it actually is And you start to feel the vibrations
Before you psych out and walk out, you sit down at a table and wait for an underpaid waitress— There she is— “Hello, my name is Elif and welcome to Three’s Company. What would you like to order?” You spot her nametag— “Excuse me, would you happen to be of Turkish descent?” Her eyes light up— “Wow, how’d you know that? Everyone just thinks I’m American.” Remember, she has to be nice— “I like exploring languages cultures. I find it fascinating that we’re all the same, yet so radically different in our own way.” This doesn't actually make sense, but it sounds interesting. Her eyebrows dance. Cute— “Well Mr. Philosopher, what can our establishment provide for you today?” Quick, glance at the board— “American Classic. No pickles” “Coming right up!”
Her pen damages the atmosphere for a few moments, and then she’s gone You almost feel like you’re human until you remember she’s underpaid to smile and small talk And your hands start shaking again; look I’m sorry kid I like you But you’re not much company