Have you ever laughed at someone else’s misfortune…that YOU caused??
And you tried not to laugh, you really tried, but it could not be helped. The laughter came out in suppressed waves of giggles and then finally erupted into flinging your head back into the air or hugging your stomach that hurt because you could not stop laughing. You kept trying to stop, but you were no longer in control. You felt like the terrible person you were.
This is one of those stories.
It was another summer day at the zoo. We had just experienced what we termed “A Rain-Forced Rush”. A Rain Forced Rush was the unexpected and sudden visit of thongs of people filling the restaurant do to rain. On a day that had been already so busy our food supply was nearly wiped out, we were unprepared for the sky to turn gray and thunder to rumble and drops of rain that sent a literal mob of people that were all “Hangry”.
People of all shapes and sizes squeezed into the restaurant, exceeding the max capacity by a crazy number. They filled practically every corner of the place, and it didn’t help half of the them were manning monstrous strollers that were practically the size of a smart car (you know those strollers with three wheels and enough seats for the entire family to be pushed around in). Kids were screaming, adults were screaming. It was madness.
By the time the people were done with us we had about two ice cream cones, a hotdog, and a squeezed beyond recognition bag of cotton candy left over.
Then! There is was! The sun! Breaking through the clouds the sun beamed into the restaurant signaling the rain storm was over and we were saved. The people left just as quickly as they came (so quickly I was afraid someone would be trampled!) and in their departure a disaster. Cups strewn across the tables and floors, red cherry slushy mixture and melted ice cream puddled the floor, napkins here there everywhere, tables and chairs upturned, mashed French fries and half eaten corndogs littered the area.
Our manager knew that the day was rapidly coming to an end and there were still nearly half of the staff that had not gotten a break. He sent them all on break and the rest of us unlucky ones who already had our break were on clean up crew.
I had the wonderful task of tending to the trash. There were about 10 trash cans, each of them filled and overflowing and foul. I put gloves on and moved from trash can to trash can, lugging the 30 lb. filled bags back to the backside of the restaurant where the dumpster was.
For my story to make sense I have to quickly explain the room where the dumpster was. It was like a mini “garage” attached to the end of the restaurant. The dumpster was elevated about two feet above the small walkway, I’m not sure why this was done but I can tell you it made tossing trash into it quite the exercise, especially for those of us who are short. Opposite side of the dumpster were two chairs and a bucket for cigarette butts, this was our lovely “break area”. Not even a coffee corner! Haha! Most of the time I ate outside, I mean facing a trashcan while you are eating your lunch is hardly appetizing.
Once I had gathered all the trash bags in a nice pile I set to work on getting them into the dumpster. I greeted my friends Will and Mike who were on break and occupying the two chairs in the “break area” and joked about how I was going to have crazy arm muscles after all of this heavy lifting. I had an art to how I got the trash in the dumpster, I perched on the edge of the stairs that were the same height as the dumpster and tossed the trash bags in from there. It was an angled toss, but I had become an expert. Quickly I tossed in bag after bag, feeling disgusting by the revolting smell that seeped from the each bag. Mean while Will, the Zoo’s jokester was making joke after joke and laughing in his usual way.
Every now and then you will get a trash bag that I call a “juicer”. Juicer trash bags are the worst because like the name implies they are filled with “trash juice” (an unholy mixture of all liquids that are in the bag…diaper juice, oil, ketchup, soda, ice cream, slush, etc.). I picked up the bag, it was the last one! When I picked it up, I didn’t notice the bag was punctured and trash juice was spilling onto the ground. At the exact moment Will opened his mouth widely, roaring with laughter at some joke Mike cracked, I tossed the trash bag into the dumpster. All I saw was a reddish brown juice fly through the air. And splash! It made contact with it’s victim. The juice flung across Will’s face…and into his wide open mouth.
It was like everything was in slow motion for a few seconds. Me and Mike stared at Will in shock…and then at each other. Did that just happen? Will’s eyes were huge and filled with the most awful look of horror. The red juice dripped down his face and his open mouth was frozen in position.
Mike said, “Dude…”
And I…began my apologizing. “Will! I am so sorry! Oh my gosh, I’m so so so so sorry. I can’t believe….bahahahahahahahahahahaha!” The laughter began to take hold of me. My voice began to shake and my body trembled because the laugher longed to escape. Finally I couldn’t hold it in any longer. Wild laughs exploded out of me. I felt awful but I couldn’t stop! I tried, but I just… was rolling.
Will got up, groaning in horror and ran to the dish washing sink and using the commercial sprayer sprayed his mouth and entire face off.
Meanwhile, I watched, still laughing.
Will did forgive me