Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Merry Xmas, Trash

"I got a lotta private parties comin' up before Christmas," said JD. "You interested?"

"Yeah. I'll take whatever you got."

"How 'bout Sunday night, then? Six to ten?"

"Yeah," I replied. "I need the cash. What kinda party?"

"Dunno. Corporate Christmas thing, prob'ly."

Ever since I've been back in the bouncing game, I've been willing to work the door -- or stand on the box, as the case may be -- for anything and everything the club offers. Need a fill-in on a Wednesday night? I'm your man. Fuck sleep. What's that you say? You need a doorman for that after-hours industry shit on 26th and 8th? Until 10 AM? Sure. Why not? Every little bit counts, and all those little bits, accumulated, have been enabling yours truly to pay his rent and keep himself eating and driving for the better part of the past two years. Assign me a designated date, time and place, and I'll be there, in all my calculated malevolence, to collect your money and menace the customership with my unique combination of uncongeniality and negative vibes.

As I've stated previously, on several since removed posts, private affairs are decidedly my favorite worknights at any of the clubs at which I've been employed. You're paid your usual bouncer shift rate to spend the balance of the evening doing absolutely jack shit. You're simply a greeter, and that's the entire extent of your involvement. Once everyone's inside -- the club operates at about a quarter of its capacity, at most, during these things -- all I'm really required to do is stand at the door and make sure nobody tries to come in, uninvited, from off the street. I solve this problem simply by locking the door about a half-hour past the appointed start time on the invitation, once most of the names on the guestlist have been checked off. No sweat.

The single most attractive aspect of working private parties, however -- aside from the extra cash involved -- is dealing with a clientele that's markedly different from what you'd encounter in the club on a typical weekend operating night. It reportedly costs a cosmic fuckton of money to rent out this particular club, even for a few hours, so a bouncer can work these events with reasonable assurance that, just this once, he'll be doing his business unfettered by the spectre of Staten Island Guido harassment. Occasionally, you'll even find yourself in the presence of a celebrity, or group thereof, as they harmlessly imbibe themselves into oblivion, a situation I've found, at times, to be exceedingly lucrative.

Armed with this knowledge, I trained it into work on Sunday night prepared for the light and the easy. I'd be working with "Juan," a bouncer with whom I'd had a serious problem over the summer. We've since ironed things out -- to the extent that such ironing was possible -- but we're still not exactly bosom buddies, meaning I'd be working alone for the majority of the shift. Suits me just fine to do it that way, though. I'll work with the guy, but I'm not about to go register a complaint if he chooses to keep his distance. I prefer it like that.

"I'll take the door, you take the back," I said, sportingly offering him the easier assignment.

"Why, 'cause I'm brown?" The closest he'll deign to come to banter like we used to have.

"Yeah. Mexicans in the back. Why don't you go mow the lawn, wash the dishes, and hand out towels while you're back there?" Hollow.

"Si, jefe."

The first people to arrive were familiar faces. Coworkers. Bartenders. Male. Two of them.

"Hey, Rob, what's up, man?"

"S'up, Kevin. What the fuck you doin' here? Workin' this?"

"No, dick."

"You're guests?" I asked.

"Shut the fuck up."

"Seriously. You're guests at this thing?"

"Wait," said Kevin. "You don't know what this party is? Di'nt you get invited?"

"No, should I have?"

"Yeah, asshole! It's the club's fuckin' Christmas party!"

"No shit."

"Holy shit!" he exclaimed. "You didn't know? You seriously didn't know?"

"Had no idea, dude."

"Hahahahahahaha...That's fuckin' awesome. I bet the motherfuckers didn't invite any of the bouncers! That's fuckin' great!"

"Juan, pick up?" I called on the radio.

"Go for Juan."

"Come up front."


"Dude, did you know this is the club's Christmas party?" I asked.

"Nobody told me."

"Me neither."

"Who told you that?"

"Kevin," I said. "He and that other gay lookin' kid who works the back bar just came in."

"That's fucked up."

But to be expected in this business. Bouncers are perpetually kept out of the loop with this sort of thing. When most clubs decide to do something altruistic and appreciative for their employees, the rank-and-file bouncership generally finds out about it long after the fact. It's part of this whole deal we're in, and we're well accustomed to the slights by now. Why spend the extra money on all the free booze we'll consume? Why buy us dinner when you know we'll polish off an entire herd of bison before the first course is cleared from the table? Why load the softball team with ringers? Fraternizing with bouncers entails the unpleasantness of looking at us. Of breaking bread and clinking glasses with a group of unpretty men who exist in a reality running contrary to everything -- the shaved forearms, the waxed eyebrows and the abject narcissism -- the nightclub industry represents. For people who aren't even there? Fuck 'em.

And so I stood at the door and watched, detached yet -- surprisingly, at least in retrospect -- infuriated, as my coworkers transformed themselves into customers for the evening. And I couldn't tell the fucking difference to save my life. Stupid questions. Spasmodic dance maneuvers. Shrill, drunken douchebags and sluts who insisted upon screaming at each other a foot from my face. Little pussyboys wearing puffy silver snorkel jackets and whining like bitches about the cold. No, you can't take your fucking drink outside, asshole. The whole nine yards.

I locked out the door. People went outside to smoke on the sidewalk. I let them back in when they finished, every time but one.

"Yo," said some random little prick I had never seen before, "you not gon' let dem back in?"

"Is that a question or a statement?"

"Yo, you locked the do'!"

"So open it for them," I replied. "You're standin' right there."

"Fuck you, den," he said. "Dat's yo' job, muthafucka."

I finally had been granted a target for my annoyance with the indignity of the entire situation, and the opportunity wasn't about to slide by. Grasping the little fucker's collar, I kicked open the door and shoved him out onto the sidewalk.

"You wanna talk now, you little fuckin' bitch?"

"What da fuck's yo problem, man? You know who I am?"

"Yeah. You're the little bitch I just threw out. You wanna talk shit out here where nobody's lookin'? Go 'head, motherfucker! Try to get back in!"

"Yo, call Phil! You don' know who I am! Call Phil, man!"

"Do me a favor, you little piece of shit. Go call Phil yourself and tell him how lucky you are I didn't crack your fuckin' head open on the sidewalk."

"Yo, I din't do nothin'!"

Which, I suppose, is exactly why you were invited and I wasn't.