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"Moody Cool's," a farce in one act


Autumn 2001, Kilkenny Ireland —

Moody Cool's restaurant was a disaster before it even opened.

They hired me away from Lautrec's, where I was doing washup for about €7 per hour. I was going to get €8 per hour as a cook (or "chef," as you're called in Ireland, once you step into the kitchen dressed like that.)

Two days before opening, the facility had not been finished. Rainwater was coming in through the hole in the ceiling where the exhaust fan was meant to be. Electricians had not yet wired up the kitchen, and the natural-gas line was not yet connected. Once the gas was in, the pipe feeding the oven was obviously of too-small caliber — so the oven was useless. The electrical supply, too, was inadequate: the microwave blew a main fuse.

The cabinets had doors on them — leaving the dinner-plates etcetera almost inaccessible for commercial service.

The dishwasher was a household version that ran on a 45-minute cycle. Its door opened horizontal at shin height between the kitchen and the service staff's only access.

The list goes on.

The head chef was a plonker. He wanted to reverse the order of cheese and toppings on pizza, because everybody does it the other way. He was an affable fellow, but hapless, and his affability did not save the restaurant.

Justin, the co-worker at Lautrec's, who'd gotten me this job, was probably capable of operating the kitchen.* But the chef and the owner were drinking together, staying busy taking various drugs and going after women. As it turned out, they weren't about to let business keep them from having a good time.

I don't even want to know what kind of debauchery went on in lieu of business — except that it went on in lieu of business. It was stupid.

The fact is, I didn't really get too upset about the incompetence — you don't often get that kind of bumbling farce for a laugh.

But, really, it was not a pleasant experience. These boys, working in a serious industry, pissed away the business — if it ever had any chance at all.

They cut employees' hours, without saying anything about it — industry-standard behavior. A little bit, and a little bit more.

And then, without being fired, I didn't have a job.

And then nobody did.


* After having seen Justin in action over the years, talking about all the places he was going to save, and knowing now what a bullshitter he always turned out to be, I doubt he could have helped Moody Cool's if he had been in charge.

Besides that, Moody Cool's was not salvageable. Disaster was built into it.
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