“He’s doing better than us”

(That’s Toast)

He’s Doing Better Than Us


So it’s Sunday at Katz’s and I’m working the crazy triple! Nine AM to Nine PM, breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s ridiculous. At Katz’s twelve hours can feel like a lifetime and I’m just starting to get sick. My chest is congested, and my head is shrinking around my brain. It is peak lunch time, like 2:30, the restaurant is full, with a line out the door.  I have three tables eating happily, when I decide it’s a good time for a cigarette.

(I know, I know.)


I step outside and hear a car alarm blaring on Ludlow street. It is a fancy, new racing green Porsche wagon emitting this horrible scream. I take a closer look. There is a sweet brown dog in the front freaking out. I don’t know what kind of dog it was and I don’t particularly love dogs, but this dog was nice looking. Anyway, the dog is bugging out trapped in the car, and I have to get back to the tables. What could i do? Break the window? Find the owner? It wasn’t gonna happen.


On my way in the back door, I bump into Johnny R. aka Toast, a 36 year-old utility player at Katz’s for about ten years. Toast did everything at the store well. He usually worked at the back counter, but was also an expert cutter, knew every station, and was one of the few trusted to cater parties outside of the store. Toast was a valued worker in the store, but he is also a troublemaker, a rabble rouser, and supreme instigator. Always masterful with jokes, and great at getting under people’s skin.


“Toast, did you see this?” I’m making conversation.


“What?” He asks me.


I show him the dog.


“What?” Toast doesn’t even break stride, quickly looks at the dog in the Porsche.


“He’s doing better than us, Dave.”


He’s gone.


I say nothing, smile to myself, and go back to work.

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