Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Hut

“Welllllll, I quit/got fired from the hut today. That guy was a crazy fucking nazi! Gunna miss those snowcones though…”

Good God.

The “hut” I’m referring to here is a SNOW CONE hut, and the Nazi I’m referring to was the snow cone hut owner. I never actually saw this man, but did speak to him on the phone a few times. The reason I referred to him in such harsh terms is because of the way he handled our final phone call. He was angry because I hadn’t opened up the shop that day (but the dumb shit hadn’t left the keys and I was 17 years old, you do the math). I just assumed it was one of those unimportant holidays like Presidents Day or Hanukah, and went home.

He called four hours later asking why I hadn’t opened up shop. When I told him there weren’t any keys, he started flipping out and screaming. He asked me why I hadn’t called him, did I have any sense of responsibility, and what would my parents think? I answered him plainly enough on all counts: “I didn’t call you because I didn’t have a phone; I’m responsible enough to leave the KEYS when I CLOSE at night and my Mom would be enraged at a grown man yelling at her teenage daughter.” He spit out a few lines of shocked and angry garble before I shouted, “I QUIT YOU FUCKING NAZI!” and slammed the phone down. The most embarrassing part is I was so impressed by the “cleverness” of my quitting line; I also put it into my journal as if for the first time. Apparently calling somebody a “Nazi” was a real DOOZY.

The hut wasn’t all bad, though. I worked there with my friend Kara, and we always had a great time flinging around syrup bottles like Tom Cruise in “Cocktail”. I was able to eat as many snow cones as I wanted AND I got to play with ice-picks! One of the Harry Potter books came out that summer too, so I drew a make-shift “CLOSED” sign and lay down on the floor until I was done reading it. Getting paid minimum wage to read Harry Potter in an air conditioned room filled with snow cones is BASICALLY my dream job. I’m pretty sure that was the best four days of my life.

I was also in a tap dancing phase (still AM) and could bring my tap shoes and practice for hours on the tiled linoleum. Sometimes I would get too caught up and a customer would be watching me through the window before I realized they were there. I would scream, and fling it open gasping asthmatically; sweat flying in every direction. The customer would stare at me, completely terrified, and just push the money across the counter. My words would always came out too loudly then, quickly, and got jumbled because of the embarrassment:

There was one customer that I remember above all the rest. She’s one of the most memorable characters of my life and I only knew her for about 10 minutes a day, for 2 months. It’s because she literally was a character! She was like a drawing from a Roald Dahl book, or a part of your nightmare that came to life. I’ll try to describe her, but I don’t think words can do her justice…

This girl was a troll in human form. Give her a club and she would have fooled most. She was hefty and dense, with a splayed stance and perpetually scabby knees. She would tromp down the sidewalk in a Trunchbullian manner, flopping her arms while systematically letting out dissatisfied grunts. The most unsettling was that she only wore dresses, the type you typically see young children wear to church on Easter Sunday. They had a lot of ruffles and doilies and ribbons and silk flowers shooting off in every direction. It was like a pastel Quasimodo without the charming deformed parts.

She would snort her way up to the hut at the same time every day and slap the window open with the entirety of her mammoth palm. As I glared at the greasy bear print on my window, she would shove in the sweaty five dollar bill with which she intended to buy a snow cone. I’ll bet some of you are wondering what flavor of snow cone such a person would ask for. Well dear readers, I will tell you: EVERY FUCKING FLAVOR! The monster demanded every single flavor (we had 37) be put on one large snow cone, every single day. Oh, and it should only cost five dollars. For the normal consumer, adding more than 3 flavors would cost you an extra .25 per flavor. However, with (let’s just call her “Pork-chop” for the sake of time) that wouldn’t fly. Pork-chop would just continue shoving her five dollar bill in your face until she got her thirty-seven flavored snow cone. When somebody tried to tell her differently (while a line formed behind her), the conversation would go something like this:
“No, Pork-chop! You can only have 3 flavors!”
“……I want all.”
“Yes, I realize that you want all of the flavors, but you don’t have enough money and that’s impossible.”
“Can I have all the flavors now?”
“Okay…. I’ll just have all the flavors then.”

The first time this happened, I just stood there in shock. I tried explaining it a couple more times until I realized I wasn’t getting anywhere. I gave in and said, “Okay I’ll put all of them on it”, thinking I would just do enough to make it a slushy brown and then hand it over. However, that did NOT pan out as planned. When I started pouring the syrups, pork-chop hoisted herself up through the window and onto the front of my counter. I was mortified. She watched me like a hawk, ensuring every single flavor was poured into her precious cone. She would also dart her eyes around the hut to make sure there wasn’t a stray bottle lying around. If I DID miss a bottle, she wouldn’t say “You missed that one”. Instead she would point to it and declare, “I want THAT ONE the most!”

One day I decided to deny her; just close the window and wait until she walked away. The problem is she didn’t walk away. She just stood right next to the window and asked every single customer what they were getting on THEIR snow cones and if she could taste them. Sometimes she would start patting their backs while they’re were ordering, as if to say “Yes, that’s good. That’s going to taste just fine”.

It was always fun when a nosy line member would say, “HEY! Just give the kid all the flavors, what’s the big deal?” Then I would shrug and smile, acting like I hadn’t thought of that until they had mentioned it. I would proceed to make a two foot tall snow cone, and slowly pour a drizzle of each flavor into it. By the time I was done creating such a spectacle, the interfering party was either gone or came to the window with an apologetic look of defeat. I would cock my head with a smirk that said “THAT is why it’s a BIG. FUCKING. DEAL. And sorry, we’re outta cherry.”

1 comment:

  1. Courtney, Too funny! Poor Pork Chop. A girl should never have to settle for only 3 flavors.