WESTWOOD, KS– The staff at Sk8r Poi, a local crust-punk-Hawaiian cuisine output, was incredibly upset when the managers cracked down on the “no drinking during shifts” policy. The rule had been on the books since the restaurant opened, but the original GM, Gregory Serrano, was a known alcoholic who regularly bent the rules to his liking. He held the firm belief that no employee could be expected to work an entire shift without even a single alcoholic beverage, and he was known to pressure underage bussers and hosts to drink with him (hence, he is no longer the general manager of the establishment). A new manager rose from the ashes, like a Mormon phoenix, to pull Sk8r Poi back together after the restaurant had received two strikes and currently faces the very real danger of losing its liquor license. “I’m cracking down,” said Rebecca Bunch at the staff meeting she called on her first day on the job. “I know how lax the rules about alcohol consumption have been around here, but that has not been good for us as a restaurant, as a team, and as God’s children.” One of the dishwashers awkwardly tried to hide the tall boy he had brought to the meeting, and a bartender, in the midst of pouring Jameson into a line cook’s mug as he handed her a sandwich, dropped the bottle on the floor. Miraculously, it didn’t break, but rolled excruciatingly slowly and loudly around the room, expelling its contents at everyone’s feet. Things became more difficult after that. Sure, ticket times got a little better and the front of house made fewer blatant omissions in their sidework, but morale had never been lower. The front of house staff gradually quit and were replaced by fresh faces who had no knowledge of or nostalgia for the good old days. The stalwart back of house, however, stuck it out. They knew things would get better eventually. They knew Rebecca Bunch would ultimately crack or forget about her stupid rules. They knew how annoying it would be to leave and try to find jobs elsewhere. Eventually, they came up with a new system. Josh Chan, the line cook chosen after a few minutes of hasty discussion because he was the most presentable-looking that day/the least disliked by FOH, sauntered up to the bar with a metal ⅙ pan. “Hey,” he said to the bartender at the time, a little too loudly but trying his best to appear casual. “Just getting some whiskey for the new special entree’s sauce.” He tried to maintain eye contact to gauge the reaction as he began pouring well whiskey into his container. The newly hired bartender Heather Davis, who had no reason to be suspicious besides Josh’s suspicious demeanor, shrugged and continued polishing glasses. “Okay, whatever.” Josh breathed a sigh of relief and hurried back to the kitchen with half the whiskey bottle in his ⅙ pan. A new tradition was born. A week later, the FOH staff was jokingly telling guests how much they enjoyed the Poi Boy special because of the amount of whiskey in the sauce. Josh did his panhandling ritual at the beginning, middle, and end of every shift he worked, and Heather informed the new bartenders she was training because of the continuously high FOH turnover rate that he was just getting whiskey for the sauce. “What’s going to happen when the special ends?” Sauce On the Side asked the BOH staff, after listening enraptured to the story up to this point. Josh Chan shrugged. “We’ll say the new penne needs a pint of vodka per order. Or that we started sauteeing everything with wine. Last week, we told everyone that our supplier ran out of sherry permanently. We always think of something.” We left the kitchen staff to their brainstorming and went out to the bar to interview Heather and her trainee of the day. “They don’t have to work so hard,” Heather said, rolling her eyes. “We know they’re just drinking everything they pour back there, we honestly just really don’t care. Ms. Bunch thinks we’re all idiots, so there’s no way we’d actually be blamed for letting that much alcohol go missing even if she finds out. I’ve just been writing it on the spill sheet, and so far she hasn’t batted an eye. That’s how dumb she thinks we are.” Last we heard, Josh and the rest of the BOH staff were still delighted to be pulling one over on their manager and the FOH. We’ll be following the story to see how long this lasts.

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