Steve and Lenny have not been pleased with the revenue on Monday nights, and think the answer is designating Monday as game night.
They came up with a catchy name—Monday is Funday!—and then bowed out of the planning; putting Mary Ann in charge of the logistics. She advertised via flyers posted all around Stenny’s, as well as via posts on their social media sites. She also instructed the bartenders to let their customers know and thoughtfully provided the following script:
Steve, Lenny, and Mary Ann would like you to know that we are implementing a game night. From now on, Mondays are Fundays. There will be prizes. We hope you agree that this is a great idea, and shows our commitment to making Stenny’s your best option for food, drink, and fun. Can I count on your attendance?
“Mary Ann,” Melissa says on a late Wednesday afternoon as she stands behind the bar polishing martini glasses, “I’ll tell folks about it but I’m not saying those words.”
“And why not?” Mary Ann is standing behind the bar too, a hairs breadth away from invading Melissa’s personal space.
“Because I don’t talk like that. No one does. My customers will think I’ve been taken over by a pod person.”
“And I presume Stephen and Tara feel the same?”
Melissa shrugged. “You’ll have to ask them.”
“Such a contrarian,” Mary Ann said. “At least I can count on Caitlyn to toe the line.”
“Tote that barge!” Melissa says. Mary Ann clearly doesn’t get the reference and Melissa doesn’t explain.
Instead, she tells Mary Ann that she has to check on her customers. Ben (who many have begun to refer to as Ungentle Ben) and Big Mouth Ralph are at the other end of the bar, talking heatedly about something or other.
“I’ll come with you, and deliver the message to them myself, as per the script.”
“It’s your funeral,” Melissa says. Mary Ann shoots her a look of pure animus, so she adds “So to speak.”
Mary Ann strides toward Ben and Ralph, Melissa on her heels. At the last second, Melissa scoots around her and says, “Ben. Ralph. Do your drinks need freshening?”
“Hang on one sec, Melissa,” Ralph says. “I need to finish the point I was making to Ben.”
“No you don’t,” Ben says. “I get your fucking point just fine. And you’re wrong. I’ll have another Amstel, Melissa, thanks.”
“What are you wrong about this time, Ralphie?” Melissa asks.
“Melissa!” Mary Ann says sharply. “That is not an appropriate way to address a customer.”
“It’s fine,” Ralph says. “We’re pals. Ben thinks I’m wrong in my belief that socialism would be an optimal system if people weren’t so selfish. I’ll have another whiskey sour, please.”
“I’m on it, “Melissa says, and moves a few feet away to pull Ben’s Amstel and to prepare Ralph’s whiskey sour.
Mary Ann wants to take command, and says, “I’m Mary Ann. Steve’s wife and the general manager of Stenny’s.”
“We all know who you are,” Ben says. “What is it that you want?”
She pulls a piece of paper from the pocket of her slacks and begins to read:
“Steve, Lenny, and Mary Ann—that’s me—would like you to know that we are implementing a game night. From now on, Mondays are Fundays. There will be prizes. We hope you agree that this is a great idea, and shows our commitment to making Stenny’s your best option for food, drink, and fun. Can I count on your attendance?”
Ben and Ralph are both silent.
“Well?” Mary Ann says.
“Well, what?” Ben asks.
“Can we count on your attendance? The Funday Mondays begin this coming Monday.”
“Mary Ann,” Ungentle Ben says, ungently. “This is a bar. Not school. Not work. Not an army base. You will know I’m here if you see me.”
Melissa has returned with the drinks, and she chuckles.
“What kind of prizes?” Ralph asks.
“That has yet to be determined,” Mary Ann answers.
“If you won a prize, would you share it with the other competitors?” Ben asks him.
“No, why?” Ralph says.
“I think Ben is saying if you were really a socialist, you would share,” Melissa says.
“I can speak for myself, Melissa,” Ben says. “But yes, that’s what I mean.”
“You are getting more and more crotchety,” Melissa says to Ben. “Be careful, you may lose the few friends you have left.”
“Melissa!” Mary Ann says again, even more sharply. “That is disrespectful. I’ll see you in my office in ten minutes.”
“I’ll be there if you see me,” Melissa says, echoing Ben, who laughs and palpably relaxes. “Want to share some fries?” he asks Ralph.
Ralph replies in the affirmative and Melissa says, “Coming right up.” She heads to the register, knowing that Ben and Ralph have turned their attention away from Mary Ann, who will, if past patterns hold, stand in awkward silence for 30 seconds or so before sputtering something about needing to get back to work.