Flat Out Weird

The Street Hustle

I had a weird moment at work this Friday.

An older fifty-something couple came into the bar and sat in my section.  After giving them the drinks they asked for, a Bellini for her and glass of Rosso De Veo for the gentleman.  As is our custom, I offered to transfer the drinks to their table, which is what they wanted.  All I needed to complete the transaction was the reservation name.

“Let’s see how good he is,” the gentleman nudged his wife and she nodded.  “The last name is Schmerin.”

I spelled his name and he seemed suitably impressed.  He told me I must have been a championship speller in elementary school.  “Oh no,” I said.  “I actually went to school from K-11 with a girl named Jennifer Schmerin.”  He must have seen the melancholy on my face as I could see his frown grow.  I felt it better to let the matter drop.

“You must be from Detroit,” he said.  I nodded and went to put the drinks into the computer and set up the transfer.  As I walked by, the wife pulled me over.  “We were just married two months ago and all the Schmerins from all over the country were there except those from Detroit.  Why was that Jim,” she asked.

He looked at me and shrugged.  “Well, honey, I hardly knew them but I believe this young man can tell you why they weren’t there.” 

Although I felt horrible about what I was about to say, the guest wanted me to pass this piece of information on to his wife.  As our corporate philosophy is to make the guest as happy as possible by giving them whatever they wanted, I knew there was no way around it.  “The entire Schmerin family (except for one) was killed in a small plane crash in February of 1986,” I said.

If it were October, I would have just chalked it up to Halloween and a good story but as it occurred nearly 23 years to the day of Jennifer’s death, I just thought it was beyond strange.  Even as I walked home that night, the whole tableau seemed straight out of a Hitchcock movie.

Once safely ensconced at my local, I noticed Nick was having trouble with some customers who came in from the Guyland bar next door.  “Look, I don’t have Goldschlager.  What else do you want,” he asked the two guys and girls, getting no discernable response.  They trundled out and Nick put a pint of Guinness in front of me.  “I fucking hate when it’s a full moon out,” he told in a stage whisper.

Oh, so that explains it.


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