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Part 34
New York, Sunday July 9

11:12 a.m.
Woke up with head feeling like basket full of snakes, their slimy slithering bodies writhing and contorting inside my head into thousands of tiny unbreakable knots. Stood up and took one look at the mirror. Inexplicably, half a dozen multi-colored beads hang round my neck. I play with them, wondering where the heck they could have come from. Look quite pretty but kind of inappropriate... like they came from some far away carnaval... Gots to make the coffee thinking brainee make hurtee...

11:39 a.m.
Aaaahhh the soothing beans from Uncle Juan Valdez have returned the feeling in my left arm and jogged my memories too... Ohhhh, it all came back to me in a flashI can't believe the day I had yesterday... Body is still ingesting the alcohol consumed last night or should I say until wee hours of the morning. Feel so thirsty for a big tall glass of chilled Coca-Cola Classic but only thing I have in the fridge is some dubiously dated orange juice. Settle for tap water even though have seen Erin Brokovich twice.

Am completely humiliated.

It all didn't start out so bad actually. Manny and Bruce were supposed to come pick me up after my last shift and go for a drink to the Bayou, this funky New Orleans bar (or as the natives would say N'Awlins) to have some hurricanes and fried alligator finger food or some other type of delicious monstrosity. Showed up at work in high spirit and immediately, Teresa barked at me to go wait on Table B in my section, on the upper floor of the restaurant. I walked up the steps and towards the table. Given my astigmatism, and the fact that vanity prevents me from wearing my glasses unless I absolutely have to, it wasn't until I reached the table that I recognized my customers: Cinnamon and Peerooz, and another couple. I recognized the guy in the other couple: It was Joe, a trader friend of Peerooz's. Standing there with my waitress uniform and white sneakers, my hair hastily swept up into a bun, holding pen and paper pad ready to take down orders, while they were sitting there all glitzy and glammed up as usual, I felt my entire body break into sweat. The only thing that made me feel a wee bitter was the sight of Peerooz's ears turning beet red. Then again, I thought, he is probably not feeling bad for me but just embarassed that his friends have discovered his "ex" is a mere waitress!

-- "Weeeeeeeelllll now! I'll be daaaarned..."

This is of course Cinnamon speaking in her infuriatingly nasal voice, her little pug nose turned up at me, a jubilant smirk on her pretty mouth. Her hair and eyes are as albino-ish as ever, her skin so pale that her blue veins protrude visibly from under it. Given her paleness, I really wonder if there is blood flowing through those veins or just merely water. She already seems a bit inebriated. I guess this is not their first stop of the night. She continues:

-- "Spaz... is it?.. Is that your name honey? I always have such troubles with these Eye-ranian names... heeheeheeheeheehee..."

She breaks into stupid giggles as I try not to look at Mr. "Peter" a.k.a. Peerooz sitting there avoiding my glance.

-- "Have you decided what you would like to drink?"

But she won't let up. Oh why do I suddenly feel like I'm in high school again ?

-- "Hey Spaz... Are you really a waitress here? Karoline said she'd seen you in here last week... and... IT's TRUE!... heeheeheeheeheehee... Peeeeter (She turns to Peerooz) I thought you told us she was a lawyer? What happened? Job market that horrible?... heeheeheeheeheehee..."

I can't help but give a quick glance to Peerooz with a feeling of pity. Poor man is so obsessed with outer image he couldn't even bring himself to tell his friends I was a lowly paralegal back when we were "dating". What must he be suffering tonight!

-- "So have you decided what you would like to..."

-- "Yes Naz thank you, you can just bring us a bottle of red, whatever you think is best."

This is Joe speaking, thankfully interrupting this nightmarish interrogation. I just realize this is the same Joe that was supposedly dating Cinnamon way back when. And now they are all out on a double-date as if everything was hunky-dory... People are so strange. I thought I was supposed to be the actress here, but they are the ones acting on a daily basis, smiling at each other, dating each other, backstabbing each other, and then going on as if nothing is out of the ordinary. I am about to leave when Cinnamon chimes in again:

-- "Wine? Oh yaaaawwwnnn... How boring Joey... No I think I'd like a repeatif."

Repeatif? What is she trying to say? Oh god! Is she trying to ask for an Apperitif?

-- "A nice A-Repeatif... Bring me a Green Lizard will you hon?"

I bite my lip to stop the obvious joke from exiting my mouth. A Green Lizard indeed. Slimy drink for her slimy personality. Actually I take that back. I feel sorry for her. Who is to tell who was the woman scorned in this bizarre lust triangle between Peerooz, Cinnamon and I. For all I know, in her eyes, I am the Other Woman who threatened her happiness. I sigh: Why is it that women have the instinct of hating each other instead of their cheating partner? Cinnamon seems especially young, and her attitude certainly does not belie her immaturity. Let her have her little fun at my expense. I am bigger than that.

Fabrice, my French co-worker, senses at my discomfited face that some tragic love story is unfolding at Table B upstairs and offers to replace me. But I reassure him this is more farce than tragedy. Besides, I want to believe I am a strong enough person to survive through this dreary episode.

The rest of the evening gets only worse. With every new Green Lizard, Cinnamon gets more vocal and obnoxious, returning her perfectly fine drinks and food a few times just for the pleasure of having me at her beck and call. I don't know how such a tiny frame can withstand all that alcohol. The louder she gets, the more diners turn around and become aware of her drunkenness. Peerooz however has not said a word to me all evening except to place his order, nor does he seem inclined to control his drunk fiancée. As I drop off Cinnamon's fifth Green Lizard, she practically shoves her engagement ring, a beautiful platinum and diamond design, under my nose and asks me how many carats I think it is. Unfortunately for me, I know as much about carats as I do about carrots.

-- "Umm...I don't know...10...?"

Cinnamon is so happy she is besides herself. Heeheeheeheeheehee, she breaks into another seemingly uncontrollable fit of giggles and knocks her drink off the table in the process. The sound of the glass shattering brings the restaurant to a halt. The waiters are frozen in place, the diners have abandoned their chit-chat and their eyes are all fixed on the little drama playing at Table B. In the deafening silence, Cinnamon's voice can be heard distinctly amidst her giggles:

-- "Heeheeheeheehee... Gawd Peter, how could you ever go out with this... creature... she is SO STUPID!"

I think I have finally hit my last level of tolerance. Even rent money is not worth taking abuse like this. My first instinct is to take my tray and introduce it to Cinnamon's cranium. But before I can put the plan into motion, a voice is heard out of the blue:

-- "Why don't you shut your trap, you eight shades of white trash."

The voice is Joe's. The funny thing is he is not screaming. He is not even looking at Cinnamon when he said this. He is just staring intently at his wine glass while continuing to play with it, making circling motions on the table. He has said this with a very natural tone, almost bored-sounding. Like a grown-up chiding a little spoiled child. To my complete amazement, Peerooz is still silent. Cinnamon though is outraged. Thankfully, she has taken her focus off me and is now directing it to her table companion.

-- "Peeeeeter... Are you gonna let him talk to me like that? Well ARE YOU?

I take this opportunity to quietly slip away. Teresa is downstairs scowling at me. Oh great! Of course she is going to blame this debacle on me as usual. Guess I'm fired... AGAIN!

Peerooz has finally gone into motion and is trying to lead Cinnamon away from the table as gently as possible. But she is having none of it.

"COWARD!... YOU GODDAMN COWARD!...," she screams at him and snaps his hand away. She attempts to march down the stairs herself but her drunkenness and Manolo Blahniks are a deadly mix. She loses her balance momentarily on the stairs and grabs onto poor Fabrice who unknowingly is on his way up carrying a tray of lobster dishes for his table. BANNNNGGG, all the plates and food come crashing down, splashing on both Fabrice and Cinnamon. She just walks on though, with not even a glance at the chaos she has created. Peerooz is following her sheepishly and has the actual nerve to drop a few dollar bills on the ground where Fabrice's lobsters lay ruined.

When Manny and Bruce came to pick me up, I couldn't even bring myself to tell them this story. Instead, Fabrice, who decided to join us, did the honors while I was inhaling one hurricane after another. Oh! Now I remember where those beads came from! In honor of the N'Awlins carnival tradition, each patron gets a beaded necklace with each order of hurricane. I count the number of my necklaces sheepishly123... Yikes... Too many to continue. I am so ashamed of myself. It is NEVER a good idea to drown your sorrow in alcohol. It is actually quite ridiculous as alcohol is a depressant and will only make you feel worse! Gosh, I better keep these beads around my neck as a stern reminder of my sinful behavior in manner of Albatross hanging round Ancient Mariner's neck!

4:32 p.m.

I am bouncing off the ceiling, onto my walls, then onto the floor again. I can't believe it! Eva Braun just called me (on a Sunday no less, maybe I misjudged her!): Apparently I got the understudy part for the maid role in the off-off-off Broadway play I auditioned for. I am happy as Homer Simpson at the sight of free donuts: WOO-HOOOOOO!... WOO-HOOOOOOO!... Off come the N'Awlins beads and into the air they fly!

Rehearsals start tomorrow.

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