Fresh Water Ostrich Jihad
While working at Amici’s, a 200 seat hellhole in the Jersey burbs, I had the pleasure of meeting one of the biggest assholes I would ever encounter in this business – a Syrian waiter named Wahdi.
A hulking, sweaty, brutish, bully; Wahdi was brought over to America by our Lebanese manager, Sayeed, as part of some sort of twisted waiter terrorist exchange program. Devoid of social skills, knowledge of American culture, or patience, Wahdi was ill suited to wait tables. Worst of all – he was a greedy son of a bitch.
New waiters usually start off with the worst shifts and sections. Not Wahdi. On his first day he demanded the most coveted section on Saturday nights. He would harangue the hostess if he fell behind in the customer count. At the end of the shift he would pore over the server receipts and if he did not make the most tips he threw a temper tantrum
Of course we just had to fuck with him…..
At the start of shift one day, Wahdi ran up to the head waiter, Rizzo, and began his spiel about how he was going to take Section One. Rizzo, who owned that section, stared at him and said flatly,
“If you fuck with me Wahdi I am going to call the Syrian consulate in New York and tell them you are a Mossad Agent.”
I swear I heard Wahdi’s sphincter pop. The Syrian intelligence services are not known for their subtlety. He ran crying in Arabic like a little bitch to the manager. Just to shut him up Sayeed put him in Section One.
Chagrined, Rizzo turned to me and said, “Time to dance a little jihad on Wahdi’s head.”
Rizzo ran off to the kitchen. When he emerged with the chef in tow, he called us over to get the night’s specials. After the usual bullshit the chef announced he had a special dish.
“Tonight we have fresh water ostrich in a Dijon mustard sauce, Make sure you tell the customers its fresh water ostrich – not salt water – the taste is entirely different.”
We stared at our dupe pads pretending we had heard nothing out of the ordinary. Wahdi was scribbling the specials down furiously.
“You got that Wahdi? FRESH WATER OSTRICH.”
“Yes I got it.” Dumbass..
Rizzo and the chef smiled at each other. This was going to be fun.
The restaurant filled up immediately. Wadhi was in trouble from the start. Greedy for sales he pitched “fresh water ostrich” to his tables and was mystified as to why the customers burst out laughing. Embarrassed, but not knowing why, Wahdi’s social ineptitude took over. He began arguing with the customers. “Of course ostrich is a fish!” As he got angrier and angrier he moved slower and slower. Tables waited half an hour before they even got their cocktails.
Finally a customer walked over to Sayeed and said: “That waiter is a complete asshole. I want another one. He thinks an ostrich is a fish!”
Sayeed knew instantly what was up. He pulled Wadhi aside and they began screaming in rapid fire Arabic. Seeing his tables unattended, Rizzo and I pounced. Before you could say “bobaganoush” Wadhi lost his section.
Sayeed was pissed but there wasn’t much he could do. Wahdi’s temper had got the better of him and he was useless. The Egyptian busboys, which rounded out our little Arab mafia, hated Wahdi and were taunting him mercilessly. “Fresh water ostrich? You asshole! Go back to Syria!”
Wahdi began screaming at the busboys. In the background I could hear Rizzo crowing,
“Hello Damascus information? Could I have the number for the secret police?”
Wahdi ran up to him bellowing, “You have done this to me!”
Rizzo yelled back “WELCOME TO AMERICA MOTHERFUCKER!”
Wahdi broke down crying in rage. He was fired two weeks later.