I felt like crap–achy, stuffy head, cough. I had not been sick in years, even working so closely with the public as I have in various restaurants. Not a sniffle, not a thing. Until now.
“He will think I am bailing again for the 95th time,” I complained to my co-worker. “But I really don’t want to go. I feel horrible.”
“Don’t you tell him every time you go out with him that you are just friends?” she asked.
“Of course, I have to,” I said, popping a Ricola drop in my mouth.
“So just call him and say you’re sick and you’re not going to Miami overnight with him and his pals. No big deal,” she said, then paused and smiled, “If you’re really just friends like you say you are.”
Sometimes I feel like I have to convince my new girlfriends even more than the boys that I am really, truly, very much only friends with anyone I go out with down here. They mean well, these girlfriends. They’re just a pain in my ass. Haha.
“I don’t know, maybe I should just go. It could be fun.” But I knew I would regret it if I went.
“Okay, we flip a coin,” she continued, reaching into her apron for a quarter. “Will RG have fun in Miami?” Heads yes, tails no.”
“Sure,” I agreed.
She tossed the quarter in the air and we watched it clatter onto one of the tables. Heads. Crap.I didn’t want to go!
“Will RG be better off if she stays in the Keys?” asked my co-worker girlfriend, tossing the quarter again. Tails. Oh for God’s sake.
“Just ask the damn thing if I should go,” I grumbled. Heads.
“Two out of three?” my co-worker girlfriend laughed.
In the end, tails ruled, and I called my guy friend who, according to my pain-in-the-ass girlfriends, is ready to set a date any time now, and I told him I was sick and bowing out of the Miami road trip. This would be the same guy whom I had told two weeks ago while we were at a pathetic local strip club when Upset Waitress had dragged me there “because you’ve never been to one” that we HAD to remain friends. I am pretty sure he only pretended to hear me while I was wondering exactly where to offer a handful of dollar bills to the dancer.
“Just take Dayquil and come on up,” he whined. No, seriously.
“Um, no. I really feel awful,” I tried to explain.
“Come on up. You’ll be fine. You don’t sound that sick.”
Are you kidding me? NO!
“No. I just need to be in my own place and swill cough syrup,” I said in a more certain voice. “I’m really sorry. You’ll have fun, though, I know it.” He hasn’t stopped calling and texting since, and he’s starting to make me insane. But, the quarter definitely had it right–even if it took two out of three to get it right.
“Do you think it’ll answer questions for me?” my co-worker girlfriend asked, flipping the quarter over in her hands.
Thus, our quarter became our answer-man, our fortune teller, our tell-all-and-tell-no-lie beacon.
Should my co-worker girlfriend go to Costa Rica? Heads. Yes! Will Upset Waitress like her new job. Heads again. Great! Will we have a good season? Heads. Yea! Will the new owner of our restaurant be a total idiot to work for? Tails No! Awesome.
A couple of customers overheard us and wanted to give our quarter a try, too. “Will I catch any fish tomorrow?” Tails. Oops, sorry.
“Will I drink too much tonight?” asked another. Heads. Duh, you’re in the Keys.
“Will you go out with me?” Tails. No kidding.
Will RG Daughter be happy in the job she landed for after graduation? Heads!
Will RG ever give up this whole “friend” stuff? (This from my co-worker girlfriend.) Tails. See, I told you.
Our cook, who speaks little to no English and cooks like nobody’s business, is supposed to marry his girlfriend soon. So he tells our busser. Will he get married within a year? we asked the quarter. The busser translated for him. The cook watched the quarter toss as if his entire life’s future depended on it. Tails. Oh. Oh no. He was crestfallen.
“Wait, let’s ask the quarter if he’ll get married within six months!” I said to the busser who told the cook what I had said.
“Si, si!” Coin toss. Heads! Whew. We would still have burgers and burritos to serve that afternoon.
“How about me?” asked the busser. “Will I go home soon, you know, in a year?” Tails. Ugh.
“Ask it again, but say 13 months,” he pleaded. He was serious. Geez, this was getting a little too serious. Heads. Okay, perfect. Okay? Done.
The cook and the busser exchanged several comments in rapid-fire Spanish, laughed, and went back to work.
“That was intense, huh?” I grimaced.
“A little,” laughed my co-worker girlfriend.
“Hang on to that quarter,” I urged her. “Powerful juju, I think.”
Later that afternoon, my co-worker girlfriend forgot all about the quarter. Then, it was gone. Just gone. We figured it was in a random customer’s pocket on its way to a parking meter or vending machine. Which was probably just as well. It had told us all we needed to know. Which was just enough.