I remember it was raining; it was one of those days you dreaded during a New England summer in a tourist trap. Cold, wet, and raw, not a fun- filled day by any means. I wouldn’t have even ventured out into it, if I wasn’t such a creature of habit.
At 1:00 PM everyday of the week, rain or shine, you’d find me at Le Bec Rogue drinking a glass of Johnnie Walker Black on the rocks with three olives floating in it, eating a plate of fish & chips. Le Becs, as the locals call it, is a waterfront restaurant/bar. It has this amazing rooftop dining area; where you can just sit out on the deck, look out over the Atlantic,and listen to live music performed by some guy on an acoustic guitar singing cover songs like “Brown Eyed Girl” or “Margaritaville.” The tourists love it. The food’s great and the scenery–amazing. It’s where I’d go to start my day.
Most of the staff knew me. The waitresses loved me. Probably only because I’d tip whatever the amount the bill was. A $40.00 lunch tab equalled a $40.00 tip. They’d fight over whose table I was going to sit at. Odds were though, I’d just request Crystal, and sit at her table. Crystal was cool, I liked her. She was a hustler like me, only her hustle was a little different. She liked to act like she was dumb as a box of rocks. It paid off in spades for her, let me tell you. Guys just figured she was your usual bimbo slut, toss her a couple bucks, buy her a bottle of Captain’s, help her move into a new place, and she’d surely repay you for it the way all bimbos do, in warm- wet- pussy. Well, that never happened. Because Crystal wasn’t that airhead bimbo slut they thought she was. It was her grift, and she was Goddamn good at it. I certainly respected her for it. Hell, when I first met her, believe me, I thought that bottle of Captain I bought her was a one-way ticket to the promise land.
The rain had fucked up my usual routine. The restaurant was dead as a crab dropped from the air onto the asphalt by a seagull. Management had cut the majority of the staff for the day; nobody goes to the beach on a rainy day. Not even Walter my usual bartender was there, never mind Crystal. So I decided, fuck it, just let them sit me wherever.
Honestly, I was pissed. I hated change. I hated not just having my glass of scotch immediately brought to me. I hated having to explain to a waitress they had to put three olives in it, or that I wanted fish & chips to eat. I just wanted it delivered, no questions asked.
I’ll never forget the look on her face when she approached my table. It was the same as mine, disappointed. She obviously wanted to be anywhere but here on this rainy day. I couldn’t blame her; a rainy day on the beach equals zero dollars for a waitress, well nothing worth spending an 8 hour shift doing nothing over. She asked for my order in a thick Russian accent. She was one of the types the locals hated, a Russian.
It never made sense to me why the locals hated the Russians. They invited them to the beach every summer to come and work for peanuts. But, once they arrived they treated them like shit, packed 6 of them into a two bedroom cottage that honestly was anything but up to code, and complained about them every chance they got, but had no problem taking their dollars. I’d personally never met, or interacted with a Ruska, until this moment. She was beautiful in every sense of the word. No makeup, no Victoria Secret push-up bra, no fake tan, not a damn thing which American girls define beauty by. She just had it.
I asked. “What’s the matter? You don’t look happy.”
“Today is my 21st birthday, and I must work on rainy day.”
“Yes, sucks, very bad.”
With this she took my order, made her way to the bar, and brought me back my drink. She wasn’t exactly the greatest waitress by any means; Crystal would run circles around her. But you could tell there was more to her than this waitressing gig, if you had the right pair of eyes. This was just something she was doing to do make money on her big American dream vacation. But most Americans, being the ignorant assholes we are, figured she was over here to suck up American dollars working this high paying waitressing gig. I mean Jesus fucking Christ, why else would they come here? All they have in Russia is potato farms, right? Nobody ever put the thought into the fact this wave of 90-day work visa students were most likely post grads, who on return to mother Russia, were probably going to land jobs, as doctors, lawyers, business execs, and a variety of other six figure positions. Nobody once thought about the fact maybe they were just coming here for a vacation, and to see what America was like. No, obviously they were here to suck up American dollars. Working at the most illustrious of positions America had to offer: waitresses, chamber maids, dishwashers, and fry cooks on Hampton beach for minimum wage.
I won’t ramble; I’m drunk, at the moment. It’s the only way I could pound this story out, fuck you, if don’t like it.
Anyways, I wasn’t going to hang out at La Bec’s all afternoon, like I usually did, if it was just me by myself all afternoon. So, after I drank my scotch and ate my fish & chips, I asked for the check. She returned with it, with an even more disappointed look in her eyes. I couldn’t blame her. I mean it was a $15.00 check, and I was the only customer in the place. Her day was going to be a slow one to say the least. I felt for her, I really did. Who the fuck wanted to spend their 21st birthday waiting on people who obviously hated them? So I took a hundred dollar bill out of my pocket, and tucked it neatly behind a ten and five ones, then slipped it into the leather folder she left on the table.
She snatched it up with the best fake smile she could muster up. I sat at the table crushing the ice cubes that remained in the glass between my teeth. It didn’t take long for her to return with an extremely puzzled look on her face.
“Excuse me. I think you make mistake.”
“Mistake, what are you talking about?”
“Your check is $15.00. You gave me $115.00.”
“No, that wasn’t a mistake. Happy birthday, I know I wouldn’t want to spend my 21st birthday working here on a rainy day for no money.”
I watched her grow even more beautiful as she cracked a very real smile from ear to ear and blushed. I’d find out her name was Diana, and she invited me to her birthday party later that evening.
At first I didn’t know if I’d go. I mean I was definitely going to feel out of place in house full of Russians. But, my friend Alex convinced me I should go. Alex was another 90-day work visa student. He worked as a dishwasher at Le Becs, and knew Diana. He was from Belarus. The best way I could describe him as the epitome of the old Saturday Night Live skit “Two wild and crazy guys.” He even talked like that.
“Come on Ed, tonight we make par-tee! Tonight you fuck Russian pus-see! It is best in entire world!”
“I don’t know Alex, I mean, I don’t know if I should go.”
“You must go! It will be considered an insult to Russian girl, then; you will never get Ruska Pus-see.”
He did have a point; I didn’t want to insult her by any means. So, I decided I had Alex to watch my back, and to translate for me. So, what the hell? Why not go?