Fryer and Fury

by Mark Wynn


The Tao of Frying

Mike was a nice guy to most people he worked with. In fact he got along fabulously with the Chef, the owner and most of the wait staff. He spent years cooking on the line but he enjoyed the dish washing position because he could be friends with both sides of the house and that always made for a more enjoyable night.

If the cooks needed something he was on it and if the wait staff was in the weeds he could unexpectedly jump in and make salads or roll silverware for them. It sometimes even resulted in some gratuities being passed his way at the end of the evening.

Even though Mike was a nice guy he looked like if he wanted to tear something or someone up, at 200lbs to most people he looked very capable. Most people didn't worry about him flipping out because of his pleasant personality but every once in a while someone came along who was so self absorbed in their own angry world that they never looked past Mike's smile. In their angry world view, tough guys don't smile, so this mild manner dishwasher must be a wimp.

Aaron was this kind of angry guy. Aaron had plenty of reason to be angry. He was prematurely balding at 25 and to apparently compensate, got his head covered with tattoos. He also had a miserable girlfriend that would stop by the restaurant and make everyone uncomfortable.

Aaron was the kind of cook who always referred to himself as Chef, even though he had no education in culinary school. He was just a dead-ender in the restaurant business and his over ripe ego demanded that he identify with being a professional ''Chef''.

Most people dont realize there are two ways to become a Chef. You can spend a rediculous amount on tuition at a Culinary Arts School for a two year degree. An amount that can equal a law degree or just be commited to having no other option. Either course will get you an over inflated ego and value that you can lord over all your co-workers.

In Mike's many years of experience these people were almost always the most difficult to deal with. It seemed to be a combination of their tender egos and his own confidence that rubbed them the wrong way. Aaron wasn't the first to be rubbed the wrong way by Mike. He was just the current one.

For some inexplicable reason Aaron took to cussing Mike when the kitchen became very busy. It seemed to be a way Aaron dealt with the stress, by singling Mike out and talking down to him. It seemed to Mike that Aaron wasn't seeing him as a man equal in experience, but as a lowly dishwasher. Someone on the bottom of the restaurant hierarchy.

What Aaron didn't know or anyone else was that Mike spent several years in a Chilean prison for felonious assault involving an altercation with a small group of guys who thought the smiling gringo was a pushover. So say what you would about the mild mannered dishwasher he had the capabilities to deal Aaron if he couldn't deal with it himself.

There was a few nights Aaron almost found out the easy way. First Mike stopped the Head Chef in the stockroom and explained that it was only a matter of time if Aaron keeps insulting him he would snap. He told him, ''I can put up with this shit for 364 days in a row but one day he's going to catch me on the wrong day.'' This didn't accomplish anything.

The very next time Aaron got busy he started in on Mike. So a few weeks after talking with the Chef he went to the owner and explained the same thing all over stopping short of saying ''I am going to stab him in his fucking uvula with this filet knife one of these days!'' but again to no effect.

So after about 6 months of everyone ignoring Mike's warnings and Mike ignoring this idiot Aaron, Mike had had enough. It was not planned 5 minutes in advance. He had warned everyone. He had waved the red flags but no one seemed to think he was serious. Even after he went as far as to tell the chef that he was going to fucking blow up on Aaron and shut this restaurant down for the day with the result of the explosion. Still nothing.

Mike felt like he checked all the boxes leading up to this night. Aaron cussing him wasn't the actual problem. The actual problem was that Aaron couldn't in anyway back his mouth up. And nothing was as unacceptable as someone ''running their mouth.'' That was another thing he told the Chef, ''It would be so refreshing to have a guy threaten to whip my ass and then whip my ass!'' But that hadn't happened in 40 years and there was no way this tatoo-headed cartoon character was going to be the one to teach him. People constantly underestimated him like this.

Constantly being underestimated helped Mike realize years ago, probably around the time Aaron was having his first diaper changed, a universal truth about fighting. That if the guy that wants to fight you thinks you dont want to fight, then the fight is nearly won. Mike didn't need to read that in the 'Book of Five Rings' to know it was a fact.

Every fighter, boxer or karate man says you got to get inside the other guys head, like when you see a professional fight and the fighters meet in the middle of the ring at the beginning and the fighters always have the meanest look they can muster to intimidate the other guy.

Mike knew that was an absolute joke. Thats the equivalent to a dog bristling up cause he's trying to hide his fear. If you really want to get inside the other guys head say you'll do anything to avoid the fight. Nothing convinces a tough guy of an assured victory like fighting a coward.

Its like bullfighting, you need to lead the bull right into the sweet spot without the bull even realizing he's being led and then without warning stab him thru his god damned heart. He will hit the floor stiff legged without quite knowing what happened. It's a tried and true technique that has bested countless adversaries.

If you want to sell tickets, then look tough, come out breathing fire but if its a fight to the death look terrified and victory is nearly assured. If Sun Tzu or Myamoto Musashi said that people would take it to the bank but since it Mike the Dishwasher, it will fall thru the cracks. I'm sure you could adapt this philosophy to selling used cars or vaccuum cleaners to make it of value to people.

So back to the restaurant, we were in the middle of a rush, Mikes stacking clean dishes on the line and as he is leaving the kitchen he passes this Aaron. Aaron mumbles under his breath something about Mike being a ''fucking dick that needs to get out of his way.'' So Mike's switch flips and he turns on him and Aaron almost expecting it turns at the same time and they're nose to nose.

Aaron is growling about how Mike don't want none of this, so to prove Aaron is all talk, Mike blows a huge juicy raspberry point blank in Aaron's face covering his face with spittle. This caused Aaron to blink so Mike says, ''See you ain't going to do shit mother fucker!'' And since this was 6 months in the making he snatches Aaron's hat off his head and throws it in the fryer saying, ''See you fucking bitch!''

At this point the Chef jumps into action 6 months too late and actually comes across the line with a huge knife to separate them. The Chef yells at Mike to go clock out and go home and as Mike is turning to leave he says to the chef, ''What the fuck did I say?''

So Mike goes to the time-clock and clocks out and to leave he has to pass back through the kitchen. As he is just about to enter the kitchen, Aaron who is now on the other side of the line fishing his hat out of the fryer carelessly says, ''He's lucky I don't fuck him up!'' So without missing a step Mike sweeps up a pitcher of Pepsi and throws it directly in Aaron's face saying even more animated, ''You ain't gonna do shiiit!'' He immediately snatches up an entire baked chicken and spikes him right in the chest and finally at this point Aaron says, ''That's it!''

As he steps around the line to confront Mike, Mike meets the advance cheering him on saying, ''That's more like it! Come on! Show me!'' Aaron telegraphs a ridiculous over hand right which Mike punches out of mid air sending Aaron stepping back holding his hand. Having proved his point Mike just turns and walks out laughing like a madman and everyone just stands in the kitchen wondering what they should do.

Later when the Chef calls Mike to tell him that upon reviewing the security tape the owner has instructed the Chef to fire Mike. Mike laughs and says, ''Well fucking of course I'm fired! Jesus Christ!'' Then the Chef says, ''Man, between you and me that was the coolest thing I've ever seen! You looked 10 feet tall!'' You got a reference if you need one.

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