I have finished for the evening. We tried to tidy up throughout the shift, but there are dirty cocktail napkins and glasses on every table, muddy footprints on the floor. I will be cleaning for a good few hours yet.
Rush Day arrives when the first few of the big ships make their runs across the Scar. It is the one time I wish I had another pair of hands. I’ve got different drinks orders to process, different languages to work through, directions to give to the toilets. Cleaning up spills. I drafted some of the farmers in to help clear rubbish and send through orders, but I’ve still been flat out for eight hours. My backs, legs and arm are hot blocks of stone, and the base of my spine is a little pot of coal.
We cannot even focus on the customer services side of the bar. The first rush of people to arrive is also the time to fill up on different supplies. Barrels and crates of beer, and bottles of wine and spirits. Toilet roll, crisps, and cleaning products. Medical supplies and blankets. They all need paying for, be it in various currencies or produce. There have been times when drinks have gone across the bar from the customers, and served back to time with ice and lemon within the hour.
I heard them long before the farmers set off their alarms. The roars of different engines, from electric hums to the roar of fossil fuels. Some of the regulars have visited for over ten years. This speeds up the orders at least. Despite the rush, it’s good to have the bar so crowded and full of life again. There’s always the fear that this year they won’t return.
But we are now in a state of heightened awareness. Some of those ships must have travelled somewhere with parnsipheads. Right now they will be staggering through holds or banging on airlock doors. Some may already be heading for their next feast.
We have taken on many challenges once the guests return. I am sure this year will be no exception. We have weapons and lost property behind the bar. I will be ready for service again tomorrow, even if a dead man is knocking on the door.