Thursday, April 5, 2007

Buh-bye, Slappy

If you’ve just stumbled onto this blog, you might want to go back and revisit the TDOY archives to learn the story of “Slappy,” the sharp-as-a-marble security officer who provides endless amusement for the front desk staff at the La Quinta Midtown…except for one, the cranky night auditor who is frequently driven to distraction with his man-child antics.  (In case you haven’t figured it out, that night auditor is me.)

It’s a little too premature to be reporting this, but as of Tuesday morning, Slappy has been relieved of his part-time La Quinta duties.  We had a new man patrolling the hotel’s grounds Tuesday evening and though he described himself as a “floater” I’m hoping that the security company will be providing a suitable replacement by next Monday eve.

Monday night, Slappy informs my co-worker (the individual who’s manning the desk from 9 to 11pm until I come on) that he can’t climb upstairs anymore because he’s afraid of heights.  Why this realization took more than a year to discover I do not know, but said co-worker tells me he’s going to have to drop a few things off at several upstairs rooms because Slappy refuses to go.  I venture out of the back office and, seeing the Slapster is seated at one of the tables in our lobby, I inform him that this does not bode well for his career at La Quinta.  What I said was, “I don’t think the boss is going to allow me to call those individuals getting out of hand or creating a disturbance to ask them if they can move it downstairs so that my security guard can handle the situation.”

Slappy tells me he’s not feeling well.  “I’m sick, man—real sick,” he continues to wail over and over and over again.  He reveals further that he’s not necessarily afraid of heights, it’s that he gets dizzy climbing the stairs and he feels like he’s going to fall.  So I tell him that if he’s ill, he needs to call his office…inform them of his situation…and let them know that they need to send someone out here in his place.  I hand him the phone and he complies with my request.

This past week, we’ve been tres, tres busy here at Midtown—due in part to Spring Break and also the Masters Tournament in Augusta.  (Yes, hotels are busy to the point where guests are actually forced across the state and into Savannah.)  So the audit has been a little heavier than normal, and I find myself with precious little time to devote the usual amount of adult supervision in Slappy’s case.  He did discuss the matter of his being sick with the guy in charge of the security office, and he tells me that the individual told him to sit tight while he made preparations to get a replacement out to us.  I then told Slappy (in retrospect, kind of stupid I know) that he could either walk around the property to a) get some fresh air and b) pretend he’s doing his job or he could sit down for a breather until his substitute arrived.  Naturally, he chose the option that would involve sitting down.

And he sat…and he sat…and he sat…for about four-and-a-half hours, according to my watch.  At first, I wasn’t too concerned about this because this security company is notoriously slow in getting a relief man (or woman) out to us.  But gradually, it becomes apparent that the guy he talked to apparently rolled over and went back to sleep, because after two hours he’s still sitting there and no one’s coming to relieve him.  On top of this, he starts complaining to just about everyone who walks into the lobby (the driver of the CSX van, our two Carolina Trailways drivers, etc.) about how the people who employ him aren’t doing him right—he’s sick, and when he talked to his boss he told him to “stick it out for the rest of the night.”

As you may have guess, the part about “sticking it out for the rest of the night” doesn’t jibe with the rest of his story—particularly the part about his company sending out a replacement.  When I call him on this, he assures me that help is on the way—but with every passing hour, it’s not looking good.  In fact, when he told the CSX van driver about how cruel his company was for making him work while he was sick, the driver gives me the hairy eyeball, thinking I’m the slave driver.  I shot back a look that I hoped conveyed the message: “Do you see him sitting there?  Does it look like he’s working?”

By this time, I was grabbing items out of our makeshift kitchen and bringing them out to the breakfast area in preparation for our award-winning continental breakfast.  It’s about twenty minutes before Slappy’s shift officially ends, and as I enter the lobby through the back door he says to me excitedly: “Hey!  I know now what was making me sick!  My blood sugar was low!  I just checked it and it was low!”

So I just stood there, silent and not moving a muscle, because to do so would involve me strangling the little twerp and I’m not entirely 100% certain a jury is going to let me walk—this is Georgia, you know.  He proceeds to produce a hamburger that his wife made for his lunch and pops it in the microwave, wolfs that down and then asks me if he can have some toast.

“Slappy—a half-hour ago you were at freakin’ death’s door…and now, just as it becomes time for you to leave you’ve got the nerve to ask for breakfast?”  I continue to stare at him as his pudgy little fingers shove the remaining bits of burger into his maw.  He then realized that we had this conversation about sponging off the breakfast area last week, and decides that it was bad form to ask me for toast—but instead, picks up the house phone and calls his wife to let her know he’s on his way home…and asks if she’ll make him some pancakes for breakfast.

As he gets ready to leave, he says to me: “Well, I guess I’ll see you tonight.”  He turns to go, and I interrupt him with the aural equivalent of floodgates being opened.

“Slappy—I’m going to do everything in my power…move heaven and earth if I have to…to make sure you never cross that threshold in an employment capacity ever again.  Your career here at La Quinta is over, my friend.  You’ve spent the last four-and-a-half hours with your fat ass in that chair, complaining you’re sick, and now I learn that it’s all because you refuse to take care of yourself.  You played me, man—and the camel is buried in a big straw stack.”

He interrupts me with “No, I didn’t play you” but I’m not finished.  “Slappy, I don’t know why I felt sorry for you.  You’re a diabetic, and yet you continue to shovel crap and garbage down your gullet that completely violates the diet of any known diabetic.  If my father ate even half the shit you do, my mother would be a widow now.  There wasn’t anything wrong with you this evening that a proper diet wouldn’t cure, but instead you decided to play the illness card and faked being sick so that you wouldn’t have to do a goddamned thing.  Well, it’s over, my friend—I’m done protecting your job.  I’m fed up with your mooching and napping and your just-plain-laziness.  The GM and I are going to have a talk in the morning about this, and again…if you’re still employed here by the time we finish our chinwag, I can assure you that I won’t be.”

I related this incident to my boss in pretty much the same manner as set down in this post, and even though he looks upon Slappy as some sort of hotel court jester, he reluctantly agreed that Slappy had to get the yank.  He says to me: “Did you really tell him about doing everything in your power to keep him from coming back here?”

“You better believe it,” I responded.  “My only request is that you don’t make a liar out of me.”

No comments:

Post a Comment