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The Part

by Gary Beck

          I was exhausted when I got home. My shift at the restaurant was supposed to be from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. It was my luck that a group at one of my tables paid the maitre’d to stay later. They were loud, drunk, obnoxious and one of them was a fondler. Every time I served near him his hands went exploring. The first time I moved away from him. The second time I pushed his wandering hands away. He thought that was funny. The next time he groped me I poured a pitcher of beer on him. His friends thought it was hilarious. He sulked until they left about 2:00 a.m.

Before I could leave I had to endure a lecture from Benny about how to treat the customers. I was too tired to argue, so I just said:

“Yes, Benny. Goodnight.”

I walked out with him still droning on after me. If I wasn’t so tired I would have told him where to get off. I don’t care what he said. The customers don’t have the right to touch me. I didn’t have it to take the train uptown and I wasn’t going to stand at the bus stop for 20 or 30 minutes. I took a cab and had to listen to screaming Arabic music. Well at least it wasn’t a jihadist broadcast urging the driver to attack the indecent western woman in the back seat. He actually gave me a sweet smile when he left me off at 95th Street and Broadway.

Part of me wanted a hot, soothing bath. Another part of me just wanted to hit the bed, without even brushing my teeth. I compromised and played back the answering machine. I wasn’t in the mood for my father’s usual admonition to either get a career, or a husband, so I erased the paternal injunctions. The next message electrified me.

“Hi, Monica. This is Mitch from L and B productions. We want to offer you a role, but there are some things to discuss first. Come to the rehearsal studio in the morning. 10 a.m. This is not an audition, so you don’t have to prepare anything. See you then.”

I did a running jeté into the bed, set the alarm for eight and chortled:

“From now on, nights at the theater, not the restaurant.”

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