It takes all types to make the theater go round.
One day the GM came up to me with a bemused smirk on his face. Actually, he wasn't clever enough to be bemused. It was more of a devilish grin. He said that he had a new hire who was perfect for the kitchen. "Perfect for the kitchen" was code for "too weird or incompetent to be seen by customers." Great. This was my boss' version of Punk'd, but without celebrities, cameras, or a point. It was basically just a cruel prank to make my life hell. I couldn't wait to meet this new guy.
MK was a nice guy, but he definitely had some issues. He was very cheerful but had a tough time following instructions or staying focused. We put him to work portioning french fries since he couldn't really handle preparing orders. He was a hard worker, and he did his best, but he was just a few beers short of a six pack. The elevator didn't go to the top floor. The lights were on, but nobody.......ahh, you get the idea. I don't want to be mean because I really like MK. The world could use more people like him. He was certainly more reliable than most of the other employees, and his endless discussions about video games and Transformers were rather endearing. He was also obsessed with 80's music, which was odd because he was barely born in the 80's.
Time went by, the old Earth kept spinning around the sun, and the seasons changed. MK was doing pretty well and we started giving him more responsibility. Everything was going as well as could be expected until one fateful night. I wasn't working, thank god. MK was closing the first floor kitchen when Rob heard a piteous shriek. It was a cross between the high pitched wail of a small child and the intense screech of a cornered hyena. Rob said he had never heard anything like it before, and hoped to never hear it again. He rushed into the kitchen to find MK standing in the corner as a huge puddle of grease was spreading on the floor. The fabled deep fat fryer accident was actually coming to pass. The event that every chef, cook, kitchen manager, and janitor dreads. MK hadn't closed the valve while changing the fryers, and over 15 gallons of hot grease was seeping all over the floor. It crept under the fridges, under the prep table, and into every corner of the little kitchen. It was pretty much a worst case scenario. A total meltdown in many ways.
Rob tried to calm the distraught and sobbing MK down. He took him out of the kitchen before getting as many employees as he could to start the horrible and futile process of trying to clean up the mess. The kitchen always had the muggy stench of dirty grease after that. The floor was always a little sticky and dirty. The poorly ventilated little corner of the theater was extra gross and depressing after that. MK should never have been in charge of changing the automated fryers, but what could we do? Nice hire, boss.
That was the last shift that MK worked in the kitchen. We moved him to ticket taker, and he recovered well from the trauma of the incident. In fact, I think he completely forgot about the whole thing. Ignorance is bliss as he really took to his new position ripping tickets. He did have the bad habit of seeing which movie people were going to, and then ruining the movie for them by talking about important details. He was a walking, talking, high functioning spoiler. People were pretty forgiving because he was clearly a little off, but I did my best to get him to stop doing that. Then there was the other thing.
Imagine, if you will, this picture: You're walking down a long hallway. At the end of the hallway stands an usher with his hand, ney, his arm, down the front of his pants working away. Scratching or adjusting, it's tough to tell what's going on. As you get closer, he removes his hand from his pants and reaches out to take your ticket. A lot of complaints are bullshit, but sometimes the customer really is right. Telling an employee that he has to keep his hands out of his crotch is an awkward and horrifying experience. My old boss was right. MK was "perfect for the kitchen." Except for the whole handling food thing I suppose. Ughh.
One day I was sitting in the office with Van D putting together an abnormally large deposit, when an amusing vision flashed through my mind. What if MK's act was just a ruse? An elaborate and clever ploy to get us to let our guard down. I imagined that as we handled the thousands of dollars of cash in front of the open safe, there is a knock at the door. I check through the security peephole, but it's just MK, so I open the door. He asks for a band-aid, and after we let him into the office, he pulls out a nickel plated Glock and says in the most crisp English accent: "Hallo chaps. I'll be taking that cash and all the movie passes too. It would behoove you to not call the bobbies for at least five minutes whilst I make my escape, otherwise I might be back with an itchy trigger finger. Understood lads?" He then mockingly sticks his hand down his pants one last time before laughing sardonically and disappearing out the door with the cash. Maybe I've seen the movie The Score one too many times (some people would say that once is one time too many, but Edward Norton is great in it).
Whenever I go back to the theater, I'm always glad to see MK. He's a lifer at the theater if there ever was one. It's actually the perfect job for him. Last time I was there, it looked like he was basically running the box office! I don't know if that's more of a statement about how far he's come, or how far the theater has fallen. I recently became facebook friends with MK, and his status updates are absolutely priceless. There should be a show called "S*** My Friend MK Says." I'll leave you with a few gems:
"just relaxing after work, got some new songs to "Under Pressure (live)" by Queen, if you listen you can bet were villina Ice got the idea for Ice Ice Baby...."
" I feel like I'm the the only one at work that is half sian there. That include the guest!"
"Well good night everyone, shampain wishes and cavear dreams. Why people want that I got no idea, but that's the saying so who am I to complain right?"
"Just finished WALL*E, boy that robot was a gluttion for punishment all for a femmbot. I guess that's love or something?"
"ok, I was walking into FYE today after work after getting a new case for my Itouch I was looking on the 4th floor were the soundtracks are at with 8 mins left to cloes there I found the ghostbusters 2 soundtrack it was used but I got it for $5.99. I have been looking for this CD for years! now I can say: I ani't frade of no ghost!"
"well had a good day off now it back to the colded theaters and *shutter* sex and the city 2. why people shell out money for it is beyond me, never mind I do the same for video games and Transformers."
" I saw the A-Team movie yesterday, I thought it was a good story, plunty of action and a few well place jokes in it. but what I like to know is why the newpapers down the movie so much? what were they thinking when going in? titanic? some arty movie that would bore the living piss out of a guy off the street? well it's ...not, it a action movie a good old action movie, thank god! final words, go see it."