The dishwasher fucking hates you.
Whoever and wherever you are, the dishwasher fucking hates you.
He's standing in front of an industrial sink with a large drainage bin full of dirty dishes.
There are pieces of every kind of food all over, with a thick under layer of condiment scum—a colorless foam smelling like the same fucking thing always.
Always every fucking night.
The dishwasher is frowning, staring at the dishes, holding a sprayer attached to the sink.
It's his job to spray off the dishes before putting them through a machine dishwasher.
When there aren't dishes for a little bit, it's his job to stare off, frowning, thinking about how much he hates you.
And everyone else.
No matter what.
Even theoretical yous.
You could be performing surgery on his beloved pet and he'd knock on the operating-room door and mouth, 'I hate you.'
You could be performing the same surgery on him and he'd wake up from the anesthetic and take off the mask and say, 'I hate you.'
Because these are your dishes.
A busboy drops off a huge bin of dishes and napkins and silverware and ramekins.
A ramekin is an oversized thimble thing that people use to eat condiments and feel less like idiots.
The dishwater didn't even know what a ramekin was for the first couple days he worked there.
Or maybe the first couple weeks.
Someone would reference it to him and he'd be like, 'Yeah, definitely' and just stare at the dishes thinking, 'Which one of you is it...' narrowing his eyes.
Someone would ask for more ramekins and he'd bring over a stack of most possible dishes/things.
Someone would say, 'We always run out of ramekins' and the dishwasher would shake his head and say, 'Fuck, I know.'
Then he learned it by name and now he hates ramekins for sure.
He knew he probably did before, but now for sure.
Just like he hates everything else.
Just like he hates you.
Only maybe not as much.
Because ramekins are made one way and can't change.
Wait, he thinks, then laughs and sprays honey mustard out of a ramekin.
The honey mustard splashes out on a wave of hot water and mixes with all the other bullshit on the sink—disappearing somehow but never really disappearing—becoming part of the mess.
The mess, thinks the dishwasher. We all become part of the mess.
'Fuck, I'm gonna kill someone, Homer,' he says to the cook.
The cook is behind him, behind a cooking station and heat lamp.
'Yo, kill they asses, Big Sexy.' The cook snaps his tongs with both arms out, his balding head sweating. 'Kill all them motherfuckers, Big Sexy.'
'Oh-mare!' yells the dishwasher.
'Que paso, guey?'
'Shut the fuck up.'
The dishwasher and the cook first met when the dishwasher was downstairs wrapping cellophane around a block of provolone and the cook yelled, 'Whatchoo doin boy!' coming down the stairs and the dishwasher smiled and said, 'I'm wrappin up that loney, motherfucker' and the cook laughed and walked right back up the stairs saying, 'I heard it all now.'
The dishwasher sprays out another ramekin.
Each and every fucking ramekin.
Each filled at least halfway with whatever bullshit the assholes need.
Whatever the assholes needed.
The ever-needing assholes.
Ever-needing assholes of the mess, thinks the dishwasher, such that it seems to him like someone screamed it in his ear.
Holding the sprayer over the ramekin and spraying the scalding stream.
Half pressure to keep the stream concentrated.
Right into the ramekin.
Water sprays back on him.
He's covered in a thin layer of sweat and water.
Feet slowly slipping out beneath him on the greasy floor.
Tired and sore, hands raw from hot water.
And oh he fucking hates you.
Plate after plate after fucking plate.
Small plates with shit on them.
Medium plates with shit on them.
Big plates with shit on them.
All this shit.
Shit from the ever-needing assholes.
They say there is an asshole that needs more shit than it gives, the dishwasher thinks in a voice he doesn't recognize, laughing.
He sprays more dishes.
Carving away with brilliant sprays.
Side to side.
Up and down.
Different tactics and techniques.
Spraying then stacking the dishes on blue pallets to be slid underneath the doors of the machine dishwater.
Clamping down the door and hearing the engine activate, the water pour.
The shaking of the dishes.
'Homer, the dishes are singing to me man. They sing.'
'Quit smoking that paste then, nigga,' he says, wiping his head off on his shirt and throwing chicken wings into batter.
The dishwasher stares at the machine dishwasher.
The machine dishwasher didn't really do much, just finished off what the dishwasher started.
Which made the dishwasher think they should sell the machine dishwasher and give him the money.
Because the dishwasher hates everyone.
The hate slowly pouring out of his face all day and night.
A big metal ball inside his skull, growing.
His entire body tensing up.
His brow setting.
Backed-up ramekins were kept in a small plastic bin off the side, full of water and detergent to prevent congealing.
He reaches into the cold filthy water.
He pulls them out in clinking messes.
Bullshit all over his fingers.
He places the ramekins facedown on the pallet, then covers them with plates to keep the ramekins from flying all over.
And oh he loves the sound of the ramekins hitting against the plates.
Like dull chimes.
It is so beautiful to him.
Sometimes executing perfectly rhythmed patterns.
Which the dishwasher repeats in his head.
Or adds to with his teeth, hands, and feet.
Or drums to with knives on an overturned mixing bowl.
Ok ok ramekins, he thinks. Ok you're not that bad. I'm sorry. Ok ok.
Because it calms him down.
Relaxing the muscles in his jaw, neck, arms, hands, back, and legs.
One long slow unravelling.
To the dull chimes.
And his heart would beat a little faster because he'd probably been holding his breath and finally let go.
He opens the dishwashing machine door and slides out a steaming pallet and slides a pallet of plastic cups in.
They are different.
He does not hate the cups.
All you do with the cups is dump them out and stack them on a pallet and put them in the machine dishwasher.
In this way, the dishwasher is ok with them.
They mean no harm.
Otherwise, just a repeating cycle of dirty plates and napkins stuck to the plates and silverware and mixing bowls and spatulas and ramekins.
Sometimes burning his hands to the point where he goes, 'hnnn' and flexes his hand and fingers.
A server comes through the two way door.
She screams and makes a bunch of random noises in a babyvoice.
'Look how many review cards I got,' she screams, holding them out like a hand of cards.
'Yo fuck that shit,' Homer yells.
The server bunny hops over to the dishwasher and holds the cards in his face and yells, 'Looooook.'
The dishwasher has no reaction and continues to spray the dishes.
The server puts her finger in the ramekin soaking container and swishes it around a little, making a face at the dishwasher.
'I already gave you attention before,' he says. 'Now go get me more dishes.'
'YOU'RE A DISH!' she says and skips away.
He unlatches the machine dishwasher and takes out the pallet and steam comes out and he stacks the cups and brings them over to the kitchen.
'Thanks, Big Sexy!' the cook says. 'Why you gotta hide my buffalo sauce though, nigga!? Can't find that shit anywhere.'
'I shit in it,' the dishwasher says.
He returns to washing dishes, picking through a bus tub, throwing the cloth napkins into a laundry bin nearby, stacking the plates on the filthy sink and hating everyone in the world, dead born or not yet born or never to be born.
Especially the never to be born.
A different server walks back into the kitchen and says, 'Oh god oh god, Homer, did you get my aioli or no? I need two sides NOW! This person is gonna freak!'
He's looking around like a kid lost at the store.
'What aioli, nigga?'
'I need some garlic aioli. I asked for more aioli. You told me you had more aioli. I need it. Where is it? The guy needs more aioli and he's gonna freak if I don't get this aioli for him. Do you have the aioli?'
He's looking around like a kid lost at the store.
'Yo I don't have your aioli, nigga.'
'Who has it then?! It's somewhere. Somewhere within this world, probably even this very room, there is my aioli. I need it now. They asked for more.'
The cook yells to the dishwasher, 'Yo Big Sexy, why you taking everybody's aioli, nigga? You have to stop hiding the aioli. That shit's for everyone, nigga.'
'Yo, Homer, fuck your aioli, Homer,' the dishwasher says, smiling.
He picks up two knives and drumrolls them on an overturned mixing bowl while waiting for more bullshit to do, yelling, 'Oh-mare!'
The server has both his hands on his face, looking from the cook to the dishwasher. 'Oh god you guysssss.'
He runs back out.
'A la verga, guey,' the cook yells. Then he sings, 'She only think I'm sexy when I'm paiiiiiid.'
The dishwasher grabs a plate and sprays it.
Plate after plate.
Carving away the mess.
For eight hours.
Tireless heroic precision.
Feet and legs and back aching.
Hands raw from the burning water.
Mindset of an abused dog and ignorance of a weed.
Plate after plate.
His entire night perfectly described in a list.
A list of dishes.
To be inscribed in his tombstone in very small letters.
Stacking the dishes sideways on a pallet.
Spray hitting his shirt and face.
Smelling like a combo of weak deodorant remnants and strong body odor.
'Yo, Oh-mare!' he yells.
'What it do, Big Sexy? Lay it on me, nigga.'
'Fuck your aioli. I'll kill you.'
And the cook, visible only as a pair of eyes below a heat lamp, points some tongs at the dishwasher and says, 'That's from the heart, Big Sexy. I like how you thinkin.'
A different server comes back and sits on the counter.
She opens a plastic container and starts forking through it.
'This, fucking guy out there,' she says, eating a grape, 'he orders all these wings, but he wants two of these, one of those, three of this kind. I literally almost lost my mind.'
Nobody says anything for a second.
Then the dishwasher says, 'Yeah but it doesn't matter because you're gonna die.'
'I know right?' she says. 'Do you want a bite of this fruit salad?'
'Yeah I'll get a littla that,' he says.
He wipes his hands off on his pants and walks over and goes to bite the strawberry she's holding out but bites her hand instead.
'Ow!' she says.
'Yo eat that bitch, Big Sexy!' the cook yells, snapping his tongs. 'Eat that bitch.'
The dishwasher finds himself staring at the cook, thinking, 'Oh my little crab.'
Then he feels something touching his head.
He turns around.
The server is bumping a strawberry against his face, kicking her legs up and down and staring at his mouth.
'You need to fucking shave, you're gross,' she says, smiling.
'Are you eating gum and fruit at the same time?' the dishwasher says.
He eats the strawberry.
He leans over and touches his toes and groans.
The server kicks him in the ass a little. 'Move move!'
He walks back to the spraying station and grabs the sprayer and sprays it directly into his eyes until his eyes shred apart and get pushed into his face and his whole face tunnels a hole through his head and his brain slops out the back and slaps against the floor.
Then he puts the sprayer over his heart and grips the lever and it sprays through his chest and his heart shreds apart and goes out the hole in his back and sprays against the wall and slowly slips down in slop on the floor.
Then he sprays downward and rockets through the building high into the air before coming done and smashing against the floor directly where he was standing, bleeding out into the drain.
Totally fucking dead.
But then someone brings in more dishes and the dishwasher stands up and is fine and continues to work.
He sprays more dishes.
A hundred more.
Hundreds more after that.
Food and filth accumulating around the sink.
And the dishwasher notices that the dimensions of the sink would make a decent coffin if you lay right.
Fuck it, even with all the food bullshit floating around.
Shreds of lettuce.
Clumps of ground beef.
Chicken wing bones.
A sad brillo pad.
Around midnight, the dishes begin to lessen.
The dying pulse of the needy asshole.
And the dishwasher has to clean the sink.
Corralling food with the sprayer into a hole in the corner of the huge metallic sink area.
He sprays away a few big piles.
'Oh-mare! I'm gonna fucking kill somebody,' he says.
'Don't hurt me, Big Sexy, please.'
A different server comes back and leans against the counter, texting.
'Hey,' the dishwasher says.
She looks up.
'You wanna run my face through that deli slicer there?' he says.
She looks at the deli slicer and says, 'Yeah!'
The cook laughs and says, 'Hell yeah, kill that motherfucker, girl.'
The server grabs an onion nearby and tosses it to herself a few times. 'Let me practice with this first.'
The dishwasher grabs a knife off the wall and motions for her to throw the onion.
She laughs and says, 'Oh my god this is going to be great.'
She bends her knees and tosses the onion and the dishwasher slices it in half.
The halves fall by his feet.
'Holy shit,' the server says. She covers her mouth, laughing. 'That was even better than I thought.'
'Did he do it?' the cook yells. 'Shit.'
The dishwasher puts the knife down.
The server holds up a container of mustard and says, 'Let's try this now.'
'No,' says the dishwasher. 'I'm not going to clean that shit up, you sick fuck.'
He lifts up a huge grate and has to fingerfuck some food out of the drain for the filthy water to go away.
There is always a right way to fingerfuck it.
But you must listen with your fingers, thinks the dishwasher.
'Listen with your fingers,' the dishwasher says to the server as she watches, staring.
She makes a face and rolls her eyes and walks out, saying, 'Come get me when I can cut your face off.'
'I will,' says the dishwasher as he gently finishes fingerfucking the drain.
When the water drains he carefully sprays all the remaining garbage to one side of the sink so he can slop it out with his hand into a garbage can.
And then, everything is clean.
All that has been used has been prepared to reuse.
Everything that has been taken out and used has been cleaned and put back away to be taken back out and reused.
It takes a long time but the sink is shining and ready for the next pointless day of the endless journey.
Pointless and endless.
Part of the mess.
The dishwasher stands there, holding the sink with both hands to help his aching back.
His feet burn.
Hot and blistered and swollen.
And he hates everyone everywhere, even the cook...
...no, not Homer, he thinks, looking at the cook's eyes beneath the heat lamp.
'What's good, Big Sexy!' the cook yells, snapping his tongs.
'How much I love you.'
The cook laughs and says, 'It ain't like that nigga. But thanks for playing.'
The dishwasher stacks the last of the steaming clean dishes up on a rack.
His entire back cracks.
He slides across the floor over towards the back door.
He grabs his hoodie off a hook and puts it on.
'Yo, you leavin me, Big Sexy?'
'Ey, who you gonna kill tonight, Big Sexy?'
The dishwasher stares off for a second. 'I'm gonna kill everyone.'
'Kill everyone, dude!' the cook says in a California surfer (?) accent, playing his tongs like a guitar.
The dishwasher goes back to the sink and sprays hot water into his cupped hand and washes off his beard, lips, nose, and eyes.
Everything feels better except now he is fully aware of that same oniony creamy smell that stains his clothing and skin and hair and beard every night.
A disgusting stain.
A disgusting stain in the center of the mess.
Smelling like garbage.
Looking and smelling like garbage to keep shit not looking and smelling like garbage.
For one more fucking day.
Each day, one more fucking day.
'Everyone, Homer. Everyone.'
'Later, Big Sexy.'
A busboy comes through the doors and drops a huge bin of dishes on the clean sink.
The dishwasher looks at the dishes.
He looks at the busboy.
They look at each other for a few seconds.
Eventually, the busboy says, 'Fuck life, right?'
The dishwasher says, 'Yeah man' and stares at the bin of dirty dishes, like it's a thing staring back at him.
Then he washes the dishes.