4 Days to Go. Every day, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, ... Is my last.

Tuesday is done. A slow night, the owner, loudly arguing on the phone with suppliers, he's going down the toilet, talking with regulars, their predictions? 3 more years, he won't survive that long, the ex, she's squeezing him for even more child support, knowing full well that the restaurant, the city, it's hit hard...

We've had a few tryouts. An older Iranian waiter, pleasant, but not too sharp, the owner says no. It's always the owner, never me, I'm too easy going, I'm leaving, I'm just beating the bush until my departure. After a couple of weeks he sends us an email, he only worked a couple of hours but he wants his wages and his tips...

Another girl, Iraqi-Persian-come-Syrian-come-Canadian, she wants a job, bad, started as a Salad Girl on the weekend, wants to work front of house.

She has no experience, but she assures me she's a hard worker, great worker, such a good worker, she'll figure it out... she wants out of the kitchen bad...

We give her a trial. A slow Friday night, same night we're trying M*****, old waiter back after 10 years. He's good, you know it after just a few minutes, a worker, a rarity around here. She, well, not so. We teach her to pour water, deliver Brushetta, bread, she can't keep up, she fucks up, stands by the bar talking with the others. The owner tells me he wants her gone, tonight, she's been calling him every day badgering him for full-time, dictating her hours and conditions, this is bollocks, she hasn't a clue how to waitress, let alone even bus tables, I catch her busing one table, separate trips for napkin, salad fork, dinner fork, knife, spoon, napkin, water glass, wine glass, nobody can be that stupid, she's that stupid...

I tell her, end of the shift, we'll call her, she doesn't need to call us...she takes it, teary eyed, calls the owner the next day...

The days pass. The regulars, the once a month, the once a week, once a day regulars, I've said goodbye to the once a month ones, not literally, only a few know, in my head goodbye, they don't need to know. It's not important, I'll be replaced. The once a week regulars, now, day by day, I don't say anything, why bother, they understand, they know. 

There's some new regulars...

The Gangsta, one of many, old school, my age, married, but in two consecutive weekends with two different blondes, not his wife, molls, drinking several bottles of Prosecco, he's affable enough, done his time on the murder bit, enjoying the high life with no visible means of support and a wallet full of cash, classical Italian...and then there are the younger gangsta's, the United Nations of Drug dealers, track suits, ball caps, red sneakers, paying in cash, they sit in the private room, young, maybe 20's, thirties oldest, Somalian, Asian, one Italian, their friendly, they tip from a bag with easily $7,000 cash...

We've gotten a lot less picky about our customers. We're letting them all in, baseball caps, wifebeaters, tee-shirts, tattoos, business is slow and we can't afford to be picky. And the diners, the ones coming in for a fine dining experience, they ask us about the dress code and we know, we roll our eyes, any business is better than no business, but this new business, it's costing us our old clientele...

The owner wants out. No denying, he's up front, the economic forecasts for the province, 3 more years of NDP, 3 more years with damage that will take decades to repair, will never be repaired because the world is changing...

Don't get me wrong, nothing against the NDP, change was overdue, long overdue, but for the old guard, for the out of work and formerly successful entrepreneurs, for a lot of people it's too much in too little time, and the price of oil isn't helping...

...kids, now, playing, running around in the dining room, we're losing the good customers at the cost of acquiring the shitty ones, but an odd observation, we've opened ourselves up to a wider cross-section of Calgary, families, the newly entitled and wealthy, and despite the recession (or because of it) we're seeing more cash flow through the restaurant than ever we've seen in our lives...not revenue, just cash, cash VS interac, Visa, MasterCard, you get the idea...

The regulars, I come to get their drinks, tell them the specials, the nephew comes 'round to get their orders, they give me that look of abandonment, they wanted to be served, maybe not by me necessarily but served in general and they know the nephew, know what's up, I come around to reassure them, haven't told them I'm leaving, it doesn't matter but things, there, will be changin'...

M*****, he's on to it, he's the new lead and after a mere 3 shifts had figured things out, the Monkey's Paw, no concealing it, I'm giving him the black shirts off my back and I'm off...