Perils of Serving Alcohol Underage

tucson statueOkay!! I found the story about that boy’s sister, mentioned in Mistaken Identity.  She’s quite hard to describe.

This family moved from California, I remember that.  That didn’t mean anything in this era.  She had Aquarian energy. In part, this was due to her unusual name and her boy-hair cut which was unique in this time frame and location, outside of skater, Dorothy Hamill.  She wore her hair well and she was full of an attitude I could not understand at all.

In hindsight, she may have been pissed she had to leave California. She moved back at one point, though the rest of the family stayed. I didn’t know her in high school as she was way too cool for me. I was her little brother’s friend. If she looked at me it all, it was down from on high.

I went on to leave home when I was fifteen and ran into her on the street, when I was seventeen.  I mean, literally, I ran into her walking down the street.  I didn’t have a car and either did she.

She recognized me and stopped to chat.  “Hey!  Aren’t you my brother’s friend? My mother came to your house with a bat?”

I was intimidated by her, initially.  She talked fast, about things foreign to me. For example she went on and on about a band called, Van Halen.  This was before they’d released their first album. She’d talked about the band, incessantly, and claimed to have slept with two of them when she lived in California.

I can’t tell you who, I was barely listening. I’d never met a groupie before and it got boring, fast!  But we went to the mall when Van Halen released their debut album so I could see the faces of the these men she worshipped.  Point being, we ran around together for a time.  We also shared an apartment, briefly.

The problem with that is she could never swing her part of the rent. I was constantly paying all or part of her share.  When she moved her boyfriend in and said I should continue paying half the rent rather than one third, because they slept in the same bedroom… well I was intending to get out of there at my earliest opportunity. I was paying two thirds as it was. Further, they were screwing, constantly. Ugh.

I worked lunch at an upscale Mexican restaurant. This was my day job. I tended bar at night at Scott’s mother’s bar. Working underage, I kept two jobs at all times so when I was found out and fired from one, I’d have the other to list on an application. If you’re already working as a bartender, a new employer is very unlikely to ask for ID.

It was a great place. I worked lunches and made killer tips. I also ate well, for free. What else do you want when you’re poor?

It was a slow day. I was looking for something to do, killing time until my shift ended at three. I decided to help the dishwasher.

There was no dishwasher on shift. He didn’t come in until four. This gave him time to clean up the dishes before dinner rush, but on this day there were some pans with cheese and sauce baked on. I liked the guy and decided to soak them for him. I told my boss what I was going to do and she said, “fine”, warning me to be careful because the water was seriously hot. Good enough.

There was a big machine to wash the dishes and a large sink so I poked around for some soap. Being infinitely stupid I poured some powered soap into the sink… and then some bleach and then some other stuff, just because it was there. Turned out to be “jet cleaner” for the dishwashing machine. Not that it would have mattered if I’d have known that. “Cleaner” is cleaner, yes? And I am trying to get something clean.

So I dump in this last jet cleaner, and become fascinated with one of those chemical reactions you hear about. The stuff mixed with the stuff started bubbling up (yellow, I think, then blue) with steam, or a fume plume rising out of it. Of course I leaned over the sink so I could see better and I inhaled… well who knows what.

emergencyI got dizzy and wound up at the hospital. I’d gone to the doctor maybe twice in my life when I was growing up. It would not have occurred to me to go to one, but my boss insisted I go. I definitely didn’t think I needed to be there, but my boss assured me that workman’s comp would pay for it. Here comes the nurse.

“What’s your name?” she asked.

“Elsa P.”


I give my birthday, lying about the year, of course.

She asked some more questions. Where, what, why.  I answer them, acting bored and teenager-ish. She left but she was back in a flash. “Er…Are you sure about this birthday?”

Fuck, I think. “Yeah, I’m sure.”

“Because I pulled your record and it says you were born in 19XX.”

“What?” What the hell does she mean? What record? I’d never been in this hospital in my life.

“You were born here.”

“What?” I blushed.

“You were born in this hospital in 19XX.”

“Um…” I try to think fast.

“So this is right?”

It’s news to me.  I thought I was born at a different hospital. “Uh, yeah. If you say so. Hey. Could you not tell my boss? I’ll lose my job.”

She looks at me. “This is a hospital. We’re not the police.”

“Oh.” I didn’t really know that that meant.


It was the height of lunch rush. I loved working at this place. The uniforms were totally cute for one thing, and I was a marvelous waitress. I was swishing around a corner with four margaritas on a tray. I was supernaturally happy, in total control of what I was doing.  This is when two cops came in. Spotting them, I didn’t miss a beat.

The waitresses sat the customers, so I swung by the front, grabbed two menus and greeted them with a big smile. “Two for lunch?” I said.

“Uh, no ma’am,” one of them said, politely. “We’d love to, but not today. We’re looking for Elsa P.”

handcuffs Fuck. I was cool though. Mostly because I was so happy. I thought the floor of the restaurant was my ice. I skate on it, because I read a quote when I was a kid. “We live amid surfaces. The idea is to skate well on them.” I was committed to this idea since the minute I came across it.

I smiled wide, “I’m Elsa P,” I said.  .” I set my tray of drinks down and extended my arms out straight so they could handcuff me. One of them laughed.

“That won’t be necessary.”

“Oh,” I said, a bit flustered. “Can I just go to work then? I’m getting behind,” I explained.

“Are you seventeen?’


He points at my tray. “Then you can’t serve those. Go tell your boss, you’re leaving.”

Crap! I would have just left out the front door, saying nothing.  “We’ll wait,” says one of the cops.

I dash back to the bar where my boss usually sits during lunch unless someone gets swamped. “Hey, Beth?”

“What do you need?”

“You better take my tables. I’m leaving with some cops.”


“Yeah, they’re here for me. Someone told them I was seventeen.”

“You aren’t seventeen. Just show them your id.”

“Yes, I’m seventeen.  I can’t work here anymore. Bye.”

I don’t remember what else was said, but she wasn’t mad. I was supposed to return the uniform and come back for my last check. I apologized and went back up to the front so I could go to jail.  I left without handcuffs which I thought was strange. Outside behind the restaurant, one of the cops asked, “What are you doing?”


“You’re underage.”

“I know.”

“So what are doing.”

“Making money.”

“Well you’re going to have to find another way to do it. Work somewhere where they don’t serve alcohol.”

I don’t mention my bartending job. “Yeah. I just got hired here so I was just working…”

“Don’t do it again.”

“Okay. Right.” I stare.

“You can go.”

“I can?”

“Yeah. Just don’t do this again.”

My heart soars. “Okay. So I can just leave?”

“Uh huh.”

“Okay. Bye, officers.”

They both laugh.

I walked around the front of the restaurant, but walked a half a block before I stick my thumb out to hitchhike the hell out of there. There are windows to the street from the restaurant and I didn’t want my boss or my customers to see me hitchhike. I have my pride.

A half-mile away, it sinks in and I feel totally dejected. I really liked the job, but worse, I knew who turned me in and it wasn’t the hospital. It was my roommate. Betrayal, burns.  She’d been threatening to do this to me… if I didn’t cover the rent for her and her boyfriend. Pluto was conjunct my Mars and Mercury in Libra.

I wanted to go yell at her, but I didn’t have the time to waste. Now I needed a job and a new apartment. I thought about crying, but to hell with it. Who has time for that, with problems like these? Did she call the bar as well? And it’s not like I didn’t see it coming. I was afraid she was going to do this and now she did.

Oh well. I figured it was done now and it was one less thing to worry about. And I was going to get my last check.  It figured it could be worse.

I asked nobody in particular how long it was going to be this way.   I asked the sky, I mean. “Awhile.”  That’s the answer I got back.

I was informed, setbacks would be the norm, but carry on so I shrugged and started to plan in my head. I was going to miss this cute uniform, that’s for sure. It was the best clothing I had, by far.

The featured picture identifies the restaurant I’m talking about.  Very good people built that place and ran it.  Just super fine, all the way around. More to say on this, but this has gotten quite long.

6 thoughts on “Perils of Serving Alcohol Underage”

  1. Haha. You were a wild free spirited girl Elsa! You should write a book called Adventures in Astro. Life of a Free Spirited Girl. What transit triggered all that adventure? I was so much like you except it didn’t start to 18. I dropped out of college, working illegaly in a different country. ( not the usa). Hopping from roommate, and apartment to apartment. Going clubbing in Quebec, escaping a killer in a black Mercedes who thought I was a streetwalker. Someone tragically ended up in the canal the next day, I barely escaped it.

    Here I was , a quiet straight A girl with a Star Of David that got activated crazy. I had to forge new paths, explore everything, got into trouble with police. Inside, I was a good person like you, just prone to weird adventures. Lol. Looking into one day what my transits were. Lol

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