With the Kid
-by the Casual Swiss
Free water. Free sun. All very well and good, but after about three weeks Seth
found the whip-its. Working in the kitchen of the Haughty Wench (theme cruise
ship for Sunset Seranada Inc.) we made our own cocktail sauce, orange juice,
salad dressings, and whipped cream. Nitrous cartridges were everywhere. It was
in that gap right after lunch but long before supper. Our jobs (Seth and mine)
were to answer any calls for room service. As the other kitchen workers
frantically prepared the afternoon sea food buffet, we sat around. There were
only two room service calls that afternoon. To increase our slacking-on-the-job
was the fact that on a senior citizen’s theme cruise anybody getting room
service were sea sick in their cabin and not wanting to eat much.
like we were manning the helm. So, as I sat reading The Long Walk from the
Bachman Books and sipping some cooking wine, (rather dry) Seth helped himself to
a whip-it. As he took a full hit from the cracker, our boss (a young man, 26)
came bursting in.
A few words
now about the dynamics of whip-its. You don’t feel the high after inhaling,
it’s after exhaling that your brain reverberates unto its self for 90 seconds
as someone takes the cracker out of your hand for their turn. The Mod (what we
called our boss) knew this and immediately put his hand over Seth’s mouth,
preventing the high.
odd act, occurring five seconds after The Mod stormed in, I noticed that our
boss was sweating hard. True, the ship was moving parallel with Mexico at the
time, but he was sweating a whole lot. Real pale too.
information, Seth!” he yelled, with his hands preventing Seth’s breathing.
“Where did you send that steak to?”
The Mod was
doing this to find out where we sent a room service steak? He was loosing it.
And he’d lost his phony English accent, which I found amusing despite my
friend being suffocated. The Mod didn’t want to wait for Seth to exhale,
recover after a minute, and then tell him where the steak went. I’m not sure
he even knew I was in the room.
for a moment, started to shake a little, and with the fingers of his right hand
held up two. Then one. Then five.
room two-fifteen?” the Mod asked, still with his hands over Seth’s mouth.
Seth nodded (or convulsed) and The Mod let go.
Seth let out
a mighty exhale, an inhale, then collapsed on the floor. The suffocation
enhanced his whip-it high by forty times. The Mod stood dumbfounded that the
answer to his inane question was 215. Before asking him why this caused such
panic, I approached him slowly and made a little chit-chat.
whenever I’m feeling low about myself or a little blue, I just say, “Thank
God I’m not Seth…or a crack baby. Yessir, Seth or a crack baby, two things
I’m glad I’m not.”
didn’t laugh at my poke on Seth’s bad luck and ‘damned if you do’
existence. Seth didn’t think it was funny either. But, lying on the floor
clutching his brain, all I thought he could hear was loud elastic Wah-Wah-Wahs.
that steak from the Menor Mello box!” that was a box, marked as such, in the
walk-in freezer that held various meats.
so?” Seth let out a moan and The Mod, starting to spit when he talked, began
confessing his sin.
gambling during shore leave in April. I lost everything I had.” He began
sobbing. “I also lost a rather damned large chunk of the Haughty Wench’s
dietary funds for this season. So, I fudged the books and cut corners. I hired
guys like you for less pay and bought substandard foods.”
keep your voice down.”
it’s all over now. That’s Peter Schwartzman in cabin two-fifteen.” The Mod
flopped across a counter. “I thought I could keep the meat away from the right
people and everything would be okay. But Schwartzman, he’s a retired shehitah.”
butcher. He’s slit the jugulars…humanely, of probably thousands of cows and
whatever. He’ll know what’s beef and what’s what and when he cuts into it
he’ll come for my neck next.” He sat up. “Have you ever seen a sohets
thing. He’ll behead me, sure as anything.”
think he’d travel with a ritual knife.”
about when he tells the other Jewish passengers that I’ve been serving them
non-kosher food like the brochure promises. Let alone horse meat!”
won’t be so bad.”
began to pant. “IT’S FUCKING ISRAEL UP THERE! They’ll rip me to shreds!”
There were a
lot of Jewish passengers. In the kitchen, we were made aware of those who asked
for a kosher meal. No pork, and no lobster or oyster. I was just made painfully
aware, no horse meat either. We sent them meat on plates that never touch dairy
food, and dairy on plates that never touched meat.
a bit extreme to us in the kitchen, annoyed that we had to look for the tiny M
or D on the bottom of the plates (but, like all the plates on the haughty wench,
it had a parrot design to keep with the pirate theme). It was later explained to
me by a rabbi that the whole, “No dairy with meat,” was included with Jewish
dietary laws way back in the day to put an end to the latest fad in preparing
A young goat
would be boiled in it’s own mother’s milk. I’ve always wanted to write
about this now defunct cooking procedure. It has the perfect ironic
insult-to-injury feel that would have been great if compared well to a Life
Situation. But I write about it now in explanation of what it was and what it
meant to Jews and kitchen workers alike.
I used to
take the meat/cheese part of kosher meals seriously, when a mistake could get me
in trouble with The Mod. But, after he confessed to the horse meat thing, I
figured I was in the clear. But, I do now respect the creation of that rule. If
I was a rabbi in ancient times with the power to make an entire monotheist
ethnic group quit boiling baby goats in their mother’s milk, I’d damn well
couple of thousand years later, off the coast of Mexico, in a theme cruise ship,
we had other food related problems. I tried to calm The Mod down by offering him
some cooking wine. That’s when I saw that Seth was gone. No longer doubled
over and gasping for air. But I soon would be.
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