by Mackenzie Stickney
For the last few months, I find myself taking naps from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., driving down to work the graveyard shift at the drunk-munchie haven our restaurant becomes after the bars downtown make their 2 a.m. last call. Between chopping thirty-something bell peppers or serving 20-something-year-old-word-slurring customers, I try to make time to fill my head with the more beautiful things. I try to get snagged on the rarely coherent customers’ particularly poetic syntax, or try to piece together the little snippets they tell me about their day. I try to recall memorized poems or make my own while cutting onion after eye-watering onion. Sometimes, if the place isn’t too rowdy, I make the more intriguing customers into characters to be stored away in my material memory bank to be cashed out at some later date.
The night shift has become fuel for my writing. The constant flow of rowdy, inebriated and unrestrained personalities bulging out from behind the counter is an exceptional opportunity to collect goofy dialog or outrageous interactions from one angry drunk man to the other
My once-dreaded weekend shifts have forced me to observe the more ‘unrefined’ night life of Chico I have missed because I had either been stumbling along with them or drooling in bed. Now I look forward to Friday and Saturday nights to observe and collect ammo for my next artistic endeavors.