Daily Special

May 27, 2008
By Eric Ross, Buffalo Grove, IL

The time was 7:00. A small, circular red light vanquished, and the same size, but green light appeared from the distance. The 4-door, green car sped through the intersection and Jake pulled up to the white line. I have to be there in 5 minutes, he thought to himself.

He sped through the intersection and flicked the knob on the right side of the steering wheel up. On the back, right hand side of the car, a yellow light strobed on and off. Jake made a narrow, right turn into the parking lot. On the left side of the lot was a line of buildings hugging each other. On the right side stood a Chase bank. There was a 5-car back up to cash small paychecks and take out enough money to last them a week.

The green car pulled around the side of the building and into a compact parking spot right in back of the double white doors leading in the kitchen of Einstein’s Bagels. Jake opened the door and paced up to the doors. He lifted his left arm, opened his hand palm side up and hammered the door.

Inside of the kitchen stood a 5’9, Latino man, kneading dough. The kitchen was 30-feet deep and about 20-feet wide depending on where you were standing in the kitchen. “I’ll get the door,” Charlie yelled to the front of the store.

“Ok,” Marco called back to him. Charlie walked over the muddy water gathering underneath the sink to the back door. He slipped his right hand into his pocket and grabbed the shiny, silver key. He placed it in the fire alarm in the middle of the door and turned the key to the left. Once the door was unalarmed, he pushed it open.

“Hola amigo,” Charlie said.

“Hola, como estas?” Jeff responded.

“Good, and how are you today?”

“Well, I would be better if I got here on time.” Jake dictated.

“Well, it’s only 7:03, you have 2 minutes to get to the register before Marco kills you.”

“Yeah, I don’t need that happening today.”
Jake walked past Charlie through the 5-foot opening leading into the front of the restaurant. The floor sparkled as the morning sun seeped into its cracks. The black chairs laid on the top of each table. The display case was crammed with bagels from Plain to Dutch Apple. “Jeff, get to the register. You’re almost out of time,” Marco yelled.

“I’m going,” he replied, “sorry.” Jake walked to the black 12-inch screen on the side of the counter. He pressed the small buttons on the center of the screen and punched in his ID number. I have to change it; It’s unfair that it is my social security number, Jake thought to himself.

“Alturo, go open the door and flick on the light,” Marco dictated to Alturo.

“Ok. Jeff, put on some gloves and get ready,” he yelled back.

“I got you. Bring on the scavengers,” he chuckled.

“Watch your mouth, you never know when someone important walks through the door,” Marco said.
Piles of customers raced through the small, glass door into the shop. They walked past the tables. ‘Johnny sit down while I get the food.’ Jake heard a million times a day. It’s the same routine everyday, they tell me what they want, I turn around, make it, they pay, and I clean up their mess, Jake thought to himself.

A middle-age woman walked through the store to the front of the counter. Jake’s eyes widen to show his hazel eyes, and his red lips bounced to the upright position from never existing.

“Hello, would you like to try a Spicy Elmo today?” he asked the client.

“No thank you. Can I please have a Plain bagel with a shmear on the side,” she responded.

“What kind would you like?” he asked.

“Plain, please.” Jake turned around to the metal counter with the 16 plastic containers of cream cheese all neatly cleaned. He took his left hand, wrapped it around the knife, and dug out a quarter ounce chunk of the cheese. Jake then whipped the cheese onto a side of the bagel and drowned the bread. He put the 2 halves together, wrapped it in aluminum and gave it to the client.

“Have a nice day,” Jake stated as he grinned showing his front pearly white teeth. He looked up at the clock with the edge of his left eye: the black arms were at 7 and 6. Jake looked down and walked into the back of the store. While opening up the freezer, he noticed an orange liquid was crawling on the floor. What the hell, he thought to himself. Jake bent down at the knees and dipped his index and middle finger into the goo. He picked up his fingers and drew them by his nose, while taking a whiff of the goo. His eyes opened up, face stiffened, and his mouth dropped to his chest. Charlie put down his knife and walked over to Jeff at the entrance of the freezer. “What is it?” Charlie asked.
“I don’t know.”
“Where is it coming from?”
“Well, maybe we should open up the freezer and have a looksie,” Jake mocked.
“Bueno,” Charlie replied. Jake stood up, backed Charlie up against the metal grate and turned the 5-inch handle to the left. He yanked back at the handle, and pulled the door to the side.
“It’s cold man,” Charlie said.
“No s***,” Jake responded.
“I’m going to get my jacket,” Charlie said as he walked out of the freezer heading towards the coat rack by the back door. Jake took a step towards the end of the freezer making circles with his eyes as he searched for the mystery. He moved the cardboard boxes to the side and notice something glimmering with the edge of his eye.
“Jake we need you out here,” Marco called.
“Give me a moment por favor.”
“Hurry up, we have many customers who need their food.”
“They can wait a second. I’m doing something back here.”
“Make it fast,” Marco dictated.
Charlie slid into the freezer and slammed into the jar of pickles on the back of the shelve. He fell to the ground and smacked his head against the shelf.

“A little help please,” Charlie asked.

“Ok, I guess so,” Jake replied. Jake bent over and threw an arm out to Charlie. He grabbed his wrist and wrapped his fingers around the crevasses of Jake’s hands. Jake and Charlie bent their elbow’s and he propped himself up.

“Thanks man,” Charlie said as he gave Jake a big smile. Jeff turned back around to the shelve and tilted his head down to get a better glimpse at the inside of the box.

Inside the box were 7 clear, plastic bags of salad dressings, mayonnaise, special sauces, and mustard. To the top right corner of the box was a bag with a slight tear in the side. “There’s the son-of-a-bitch,” Jake yelled back at Charlie.

“Thanks man. I’ll clean it up and you get back to the front.”

“You’re cool man,” Jake mumbled. He walked out of the freezer, made a left turn at the door, scooped up the mop leaning against the ice dispenser and chucked it back at Charlie standing in the freezer.

As he walked into the front of the store, Marco yelled out “I need to see you up here.” Jeff turned around and walked over the register.

“What’s up?” he asked.

“I have some god news for you,” Marco replied.

“Ok, what is it? Am I getting some more cash?”

“Well, kinda. I have seen your work lately, and I am very proud of it,” Marco said.

“What’s your point?”

“I would like you to try something new today. Last night when I was working at the computer, I took another look at your application.”

“You mean a first look,” Jake chuckled.

“You’re funny man. Anyways, I saw that you put down that you wanted to work at the register when you applied.”

“Yeah,” he responded. Marco reached into his right pocket and gripped a small, white card. He pulled it out of his pocket and handed it to Jake. “What is it?”

“It’s the manager card for the register, and it’s yours,” Marco said.

“What are you talking about?”

“You’re going to be the new assistant manager,” Marco stated.

“Aw….that’s cool.” Jeff smirked.

“I’m going to start training you now,” Marco said, “follow me into the back.” The both of them walked into the back room, past Charlie cleaning the freezer, and stopped in front of the computer. Marco opened the top, left drawer and picked up a blue book. On the front page was the phrase, ‘Manager Training.’ He threw the book at Jake as he caught it in the saddle of his arms.

“I expect you to have this memorized by tomorrow.”

“I’ll try,” Jake question.

“No, you will,” Marco dictated. Jake put the manual in his black backpack sitting on the boxes of carryout containers against the freezer. Him and Marco walked back to the front of the restaurant. As they passed the freezer Charlie called out, “It’s done man.”

“What’s done?” Marco asked.

“It’s nothing. There was a leak and Charlie and I took care of it,” Jake stated.

“Nice job. I think I am going to be right about this promotion.” Once back in the front of the restaurant, Jake saw that none of the tables had anybody sitting in them. All the chairs were pushed in: covering the mountains of crumbs lying on the floor. The Coke refrigerator looked like it has just experience World War III. There was about ¼ of the cream cheese containers left and all the Orange Juice was gone.

“Hot coffee,” Charlie yelled as he jogged the freshly brewed pot over to the straight row of coffee pots sitting next to the 4 bottles of cream. I guess I better get to restocking, Jake thought to himself. He walked over to the soup area and wrapped his hands around the 2-foot grey cart. It was covered with lemonade, orange juice, cream cheese, broccoli and cheddar soup, and coffee. “Somebody needs to clean this guys,” he called out.
“What are you doing?” Alturo asked.
“I’m going to restock everything.”
“No, no, Marco told me to train you at the register today. Come over here.”
Jake walked over to Alturo standing over the black screen with a piece of paper in his hands. “This is your new password, it will allow you to ring people up.” Alturo handed the paper over to Jake. He snatched it from him and unwrapped it. Inside was a series of 5 numbers. He glanced at it real quick and threw it in his pocket. Jake hit the screen with his left hand, and punched in 5-7-3-9-5. This is a lot better than using my SS number, he mumbled to himself. The entrance screen disappeared and a new screen with 20 small boxes appeared. On the left side of the screen listed bagels, coffee, sweets, salads/soups, and catering. Jeff hit the catering button and a new 20 boxes appeared on the right screen.
“Does this mean, I have to switch menu’s for every little thing the customers are getting?” he asked.
“Yeah but, you will get use to it though.”
“I guess so.” Alturo shoved Jake to the side and demonstrated how to ring someone up. The order was:

First: type in the bagel amount

Second: Punch in Sandwiches

Third: Salads/Soups

Fourth: Sweets

Fifth: Press Carryout or eat in.

“It doesn’t matter,” Alturo stated.
Sixth: Press the button for however they are paying and put in the cash amount
Seventh: Always give the receipt

“That doesn’t seem to hard,” Jake said. He pushed Arturo away from the register and tried to make his own entry.

5 Bagels with Shmears

No Sandwiches

No Soup

3 Chocolate Chip Cookies



Give them the receipt

“Good job, but one thing is wrong.”
“What is that?” Jake asked.
“You didn’t ask the customer if they had any special bagels. You always have to ask if they have any.”
“Sorry,” Jake mimicked.
“It’s fine. It was only your first time. I’m gunna go in back and close up the other register. Call me if you need anything,” Alturo said.

Jake walked over to the oven, picked up the broom, and walked over the bagel counter. He glanced at the clock over the garbage can and it read 3:15pm. He picked up the bagel baskets on the top shelve of display and placed them on the lemonade table. The second row of baskets was placed by the soup. He took the last row, and slammed them on the condiment area. He grabbed the broom, stuck it onto the beams of the first row, and slid it across the top. As Jake was sweeping the second row of beams, the front door opened.

A middle aged man walked over to the register. He was wearing a multi-colored checkered shirt, and had Khaki shorts on. His head was bald, and he bounced the sun of the top of it. When the man walked up the register, he asked, “Can I get some help please.”
Remember to ask him if he would like to try the Spicy Elmo and to use my new password, Jake thought to himself.

“I’ll be with you in one moment sir,” Jake yelled back. He laid the broom on the bottom of the counter and walked over to the man. “How can I help you today?” The man walked behind the counter and headed for the back of the store.

“Sir, you aren’t allowed back here,” Jake said.

“It’s ok. I am,” the man replied. He reached into his back pocket and wrapped his hand around something.

“Sir, what are you doing?”

“It’s not what am I doing, but what you are going to do.”

“I am trying to help you,” Jake stated.

“No, you are going to open up this register and step back,” he said as he whipped pulled out a 4inch blade with a sky blue handle. “Where is everyone else?”
The register stood in front of Jake with the robber to the left of it. All the bagel bins were stacked on miscellaneous shelves. The red light flashed on the coffee pot behind him signaling that it was done.

“One is in the back and the other is taking out the trash,” Jake answered as sweat dripped down his face. He lifted his right arm and placed it on his forehead making a smooth motion to his right.
The sun stroked the glass windows, seeped through the cracks and spilled onto the floor. A pile of pieces of bagels laid to the right of the register compiling themselves. The smoke from the oven and the smell of fresh bread and flew across the room. In the corner of the store was a pair of black shows coming closer and closer to the 5-foot opening.

“Tell, whoever it is that you are fine and to go back to what they were doing,” the robber said.

“Hey amigo, how you doing up there?” Alturo asked.
A puddle of sweat landed on the floor as Jake replied, “Yeah, nobody’s here.”
“Ok then, have fun cleaning.”
Jake walked back over to the register and put his hand on the screen. The screen flashed the phrase Please enter password please. Jake entered his 5-digit number: 5-7-3-9-5. Error-Password invalid, the screen flashed.
“Put in the password now,” the robber screamed.
What is the f***in’ password, Jeff thought to himself. He put his hand back on the screen and typed in 8-3-5-1-8, and the screen changed to the main ordering screen.

“The button is on the bottom left,” the robber pronounced.

“Ok, I got it,” Jeff mumbled. He pressed the 1-inch by 1-inch button and the cash drawer bounced back at him hitting him the gut. The robber shoved Jake out of the way with his right hand and dug his left into the single’s column. He placed the money his right pocket and continued to do the same for the 5’s, 10’s, and 20’s. Once his pockets were spilling money, he slammed the drawer shut and strolled out through the front door making a left towards the street.
“Alturo,” Jeff screamed as he ran into the back room.

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