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How You Know Your Restaurant Is Failing: A Series of One-Acts

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#1: Insurance? What’s That?

A four-top prepares to leave. The matriarch, a wizened old lady with two Manhattans in her system, rises slowly, leaning on her metal cane, then promptly topples over. Paprika, Parika’s bossy co-worker, and the matriarch’s daughters help her up; the woman appears unharmed, and is escorted out to her car by her daughters. They drive away, and Paprika and bossy co-worker walk into the kitchen. Paprika rolls silverware while bossy co-worker dries pint glasses.

Bossy Co-worker: Shit. I hope she’s okay.

Paprika: She seemed alright.

Bossy Co-worker: Yeah. It’s just, we don’t have insurance up front.

Paprika: Say what now?

Bossy Co-worker: We have it in the back, but not in the front.

Paprika: How the fuck does that work?

Bossy Co-worker: Illegally.

#2: Fuck OSHA

Paprika, having just washed the blender, attempts to dry it with a cloth. Somehow, she slices her finger open on one of the blades, and blood gushes forth. It’s really gross.

Paprika: What the hell? I already sliced my hand trying to cut brownies this morning. I suck.

Paprika goes into the bathroom and wraps her bleeding finger in a paper towel, then walks into the office, seeking band-aids. She is saddened but unsurprised to see that the first-aid kit is completely empty, so she improvises by tightening the paper towel around her finger and securing it in place with a hair tie. She goes into the kitchen, locates the restaurant’s one remaining dry erase marker, and kneels in front of the whiteboard. The kitchen manager walks up and stands behind her, arms crossed.

Kitchen manager: What’re you doing?

Paprika: Putting band-aids on the “need to order” list.

Kitchen manager: Good fuckin’ luck.

Paprika: I know.

Kitchen manager: Cyndi’s been trying to get me to buy them for you.

Paprika: What? I know she told you to bring your own once–

Kitchen manager: Yeah, now she wants me to buy them for the waitstaff too.

Paprika: But you’re the kitchen manager.

Kitchen manager: And she wants me to buy all the dry-erase markers.

Paprika: How about no.

Kitchen manager: How about fuck no.

#3: Nothing to Claim

Pepper and Paprika pull up in front of the “stove store,” a shifty business perpetually under construction, from which Paprika obtains her bi-weekly paychecks. Paprika exits the car, walks through the mess of construction, and finds Marlys, the dispenser of the paychecks.  Marlys hands Paprika her check, then gives her a Very Severe Look.

Marlys: You know, you need to be careful about how you claim your tips.

Paprika: Do I.

Marlys: Yes, you’re not claiming nearly enough.

Paprika: We’re not very busy. Sometimes there’s nothing to claim.

Marlys: And sometimes what you claim is less than ten percent of your sales.

Paprika (annoyed): Yeah, ok.

Marlys: It isn’t fair for you to be claiming so little–then the other employees have to make up for it.

Paprika: Right, well, have a good day.

Paprika walks out, swings Pepper’s car door open with great force, plops down in the passenger’s seat, and angrily relates the tale.

Pepper: Uh, what? Half the time when you work you don’t even make minimum, and they don’t compensate you for that.

Paprika: Oh, I know.

Pepper: And they pay you three dollars an hour, so…

Paprika: Uh-huh.

Pepper: And aren’t your credit card and check tips automatically reported?

Paprika: They sure are.

Pepper: And how the fuck are the other employees “making it up”?

Paprika: If they are it’s illegal. I don’t fucking know. Let’s go get ice cream.

#4: We Be Fancy

Paprika stands behind the bar, hunting for a bottle of the house cabernet. Bubbly co-worker starts making a daiquiri, then looks over at the perplexed Paprika.

Bubby co-worker: Are you looking for the house cab?

Paprika: Yeah.

Bubbly co-worker: We’re out. John’s having us use that Lucky Duck wine.

Paprika: Isn’t that, like, three dollars at Wal-Mart?

Bubbly co-worker: Two ninety-seven.

Paprika: So what are we charging for this?

Bubbly co-worker: Well, we’re supposed to be charging six-fifty a glass.

Paprika: What are we actually charging?

Bubbly co-worker: I haven’t decided yet.

Paprika: How about free? Can we do free?

#5: Seriously?

Paprika walks in to work, ties her apron around her waist, and immediately checks the 86ed list.  They’re out of: avocado, portabella, bleu cheese, two kinds of Riesling, spinach, feta, chocolate syrup, and bread.


They’re out of bread.

How the fuck do you run out of bread?

Paprika: Man, I really hate being overworked and underpaid.

The Economy: Whatevs. I think it’s great!

/close curtains


About Paprika

Paprika Davis is a perpetually annoyed twenty-something college student waitress who would rather be a squirrel. The lack of commas in the previous sentence bothers her, but her laziness overrides her desire to improve the writing.

One response »

  1. Fucking nailed it. BAM!


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