“Get up. You're leaving,” the girlfriend said to the guy.
“Help me,” the guy said, trembling.
“I said get up before I humiliate you in front of all these people,” the girlfriend said.
“Help me, brother. Help me…”
It was obvious who wore the pants in that relationship. The guy was another victim of the Zan Zallil Syndrome and he was too much of a coward to stand up and tell the girlfriend like it is. I felt a strong connection with the guy due to our intense male bonding episode earlier. We guys are stupid like that. Just because we spend a few minutes sharing something primitive but personal, we automatically become best friends. So, I figured what the heck, I'll help the dude.
“Give him a break, lady. Can't you see the guy doesn't wanna go with you,” I said in a brave manner.
“And you are… ?” the girlfriend asked.
“Yes, who the hell are you? And why is this any of your business?”
“Lady, I'm a friend of this idiot who is obviously too terrified to give you his two weeks notice. Chill out and let the bird fly.”
“Excuse me? What are you? His lawyer?”
I made the guy standup. I pulled him closer and whispered in his ear, “Man, don't be such a wuss. Tell her you wanna move on. Be a man.”
The guy swallowed hard and managed to stutter words out, “I don't want you anymore.”
“What? Is there someone else?”
“Who?” the girlfriend shouted.
The guy started shaking again. How pathetic, I thought.
“Yes I'm in love with someone else.”
“Who is she?” the girlfriend asked.
“Listen, I'm coming out of the closet,” the guy said. “I don't care anymore. I'm gay, okay? There, I said it. And one more thing, I'm in love with a man. We've been together for a while and I wanna spend the rest of my life with him; I want you out of my life.”
This is every guy's classic line, “it's not you. it's me. I'm gay.” We guys use that line to get out of dysfunctional relationships without hurting women's feelings. It's cowardly but it works.
“Who is he?” the girlfriend barked.
The guy took few steps back and pointed at me, “It's him.”
Hell NO, you didn't!
“You bastard,” the girlfriend howled as she kicked me in the front bumper. I grabbed my crotch and hit the floor. The pain was so intense I couldn't decide whether to inhale or exhale. I let out a sound that resembled Luciano Pavarotti minutes after he was pulled out of his mother's womb.
The girlfriend threw a left hook accompanied by an uppercut. Her 50 carat diamond ring nicked me right in the face.
“You bitch; you think you can steal my man? Huh?” the girlfriend said. “I'm gonna kill both of you. You think I let you two make me the talk of the town? Huh?”
I looked up and saw my father and the headwaiter staring at me. This was getting better and better. My father grabbed me by the neck and slammed me on the chair.
“What the hell is going on here?” my father asked.
“What's going on?” the girlfriend said, “I caught your waiter makin' out with my man. That's what's going on.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Your waiter had his hand in my man's pants,” the girlfriend said.
I had the wind knocked out of me. I tried to spit words out but nothing was coming out. The freakin' dude was standing in the back, smiling. I bet he thought the whole thing was funny. Helping a brother my ass; I'm gonna kill this guy.
“Are you gay,” my dad asked.
“He looks gay to me,” the headwaiter said.
“I want to hear it from him. Answer my question, are you gay?”
“What do you think he is? The doer or the doee?” the headwaiter said.
“Son, open your mouth and tell me if it's true.”
“No wonder he is always staring at my ass,” the headwaiter said.
“Son, this is the last time I ask: are you a homo?”
I could see murder in my father's eyes. At that moment, the whole story of Rostam and Sohrab made perfect sense to me. Rostam killed Sohrab not because of some misunderstanding or foul play, but because somebody told him that Sohrab was gay. My father, like Rostam, was waiting for slightest affirmation to pull his sword out, weave it in the air and stick it in my ass. I felt like the main attraction in a freak show.
I took off my apron, dropped it on the floor, lit up a joint, put my feet up on the table and leaned back on my chair. The entire restaurant was looking at me with eagerness.
“Dad, I smoke joints, drink alcohol, have STDs and pay child support to mothers of my kids. I steal, embezzle and panhandle. I cheat, lie and swindle. I have a longer criminal record than a rap star. I seduce, penetrate, operate, intimidate, initiate, masturbate, instigate and insinuate. I sell, buy, trade, push, exchange, transfer and traffic. I make the devil look like a boy scout. Dad, I'm the healthiest, headerosexual Iranian man in LA and I'm the fruit of your love. Relax, I'm not gay.”
My father picked me up from the chair and slapped a big kiss on my face. “Son, I don't care about all that so long as your ass remains a one-way street. I could've never kept my head up in this town if my son was a homo. I want to thank you, and take the rest of the night off. Here is a fifty; go have some fun.”
The shish kebob master had spoken. My father was so relief to find his son's sexuality on a right track that he overlooked all my other misdemeanors.
Every night you find a new drama at my father's establishment. Maybe that's the reason I love working for him. My father's restaurant is the stage show of our Persianness. It's addicting. I go to work every night expecting to experience jolts of comedy and tragedy all jam-packed in one captivating, colorful, fascinating, intriguing and crazy people — the Iranians. To be continued