Smorgy’s was a Hawaiian all-you-can-eat restaurant that I worked at in the mid-90’s and I’m not afraid to tell you it was a shithole.
The Smorgy’s kitchen was like an exotic sea port, filled with miscreants, outcasts and freaks of all descriptions.
The dishwasher spewed out steam while the customers just spewed. The cockroaches skidded uneasily across the grease-stained floor, scrambling for the delights of the scraps bin.
Stan was one of the ‘chefs’ at Smorgys, although that is a generous description. The faded tattoo ink on his arms screamed ‘merchant navy’. Stan’s teeth looked like the pillars of a pier, complete with barnacles. His head was permanently angled to the ceiling so he could peer through the bottom of his fogged up coke bottle glasses. Did I mention that he was the grumpiest old cockney prick I have ever met? He was a mean, miserable old arsehole. And then there was his bad side.
One night I came into the Smorgy’s change rooms to get changed for my shift. Stan was sitting with his chef’s trousers around his ankles. His doughy white legs were covered in sores. I could only tell where his undies started by the yellowish stains near his crotch.
Stan had a tube of cortisone cream. He was rubbing it into the festering sores on his legs. Then, without a second thought, he pulled up his dacks and set off for the kitchen. I was bloody mortified – I knew what was going to happen, but I had to follow him just to see it with my own eyes.
Stan took those unwashed, stubby, infected hands and plunged them straight into a bowl of ‘Nasi Goreng’ (noodles with some sort of home-brand bottled sauce). He seemed to be enjoying the warm viscous sensation as he let the ribbons of noodle slip through his fingers.
I turned to the head chef, Wolf, a six-foot-four-inch mountain of a man with a heavy German accent. My eyebrows arched, challenging him to censor Stan. He looked helplessly back and shrugged his shoulders:
“You cahn deach an old dohg noo dricks” (You can’t teach an old dog new tricks).
The noodles were whisked out to the buffet to take their place between the cinammon donuts and the pizza slices. The ferals and bogans paid their $12.95 and ate themselves senseless to the zippy tones of Hawaii 5-0.
Just another day in my own Hawaiian-shirt hell.