The Rosie Project Page 32

The solution to both problems was simple. Rosie went behind the bar to assist while I took all the orders myself. A good memory was a huge asset, as I did not need to write anything down, or process just one table at a time. I took orders for the whole room, then relayed them back to the bar at consistent intervals. If people needed \ ime to think\, I left them and returned rather than waiting. I was actually running rather than walking, and increased my word rate to the maximum that I considered comprehensible. The process was very efficient, and seemed to be appreciated by the diners, who would occasionally applaud when I was able to propose a drink to meet a particular requirement or replayed a table\s orders when they were concerned that I might have misheard.

People were finishing their drinks, and I found that I could swab three glasses between the dining room and the bar. The remainder I grouped together and indicated to Rosie as I left the tray on the bar, rapidly advising her of the owners\ names.

She seemed a little pressured. I was enjoying myself immensely. I had the presence of mind to check the cream supplies before dessert was served. Predictably the quantity was insufficient for the number of cocktails I expected to sell to complement the mango mousse and sticky date pudding. Rosie headed for the kitchen to find more. When I returned to the bar, one of the barmen called out to me, \I\ve got the boss on the phone. He\s bringing cream. Do you need anything else?\ I surveyed the shelves and made some predictions based on the \ en most popular dessert cocktails\.

\Brandy, Galliano, crème de menthe, Cointreau, advocaat, dark rum, light rum.\

\Slow down, slow down,\ he said.

I wasn\ slowing down now. I was, as they say, on a roll.

15

The boss, a middle-aged man (estimated BMI twenty-seven), arrived with the additional supplies just in time for dessert, and did some reorganisation of the process behind the bar. Dessert was great fun, although it was hard to hear orders over the volume of conversation. I sold primarily the cream-based cocktails, with which most of the diners were unfamiliar, but responded to enthusiastically.

As the food waiters cleared the dessert dishes, I made a rough mental calculation of our coverage. It depended a great deal on Rosie, but I believed we had samples from at least eighty-five per cent of the males. Good, but not optimum use of our opportunity. Having ascertained the names of the guests, I had determined that all but twelve of the Caucasian males from the graduation party were present. The missing twelve included Alan McPhee, unable to attend due to death, but already eliminated by means of his daughter\s hairbrush.

I headed for the bar, and Dr Ralph Browning followed me. \Can I bother you for another Cadillac? That was maybe the best drink I\ve ever had.\

The bar staff were packing up, but the boss said to Rosie, \Make the man a Cadillac.\

Jenny and Rod Broadhurst appeared from the dining room. \Make that three,\ said Rod.

The other bar personnel surrounded the owner, and there was a conversation.

\These guys have to go,\ said the boss to me, shrugging his shoulders. He turned to Rosie. \Double time?\

Meanwhile, the diners were forming a throng around the bar, raising their hands for attention.

Rosie handed a Cadillac to Dr Browning then turned to the boss. \Sorry, I need at least two to stay. I can\ run a bar for a hundred people by myself.\

\Me and him,\ said the boss, pointing to me.

Finally, I had a chance to use my expertise. Rosie lifted the hinged part of the bar and let me through.

Dr Miranda Ball raised her hand. \Same again, please.\

I called to Rosie, loudly, as the bar area was now very noisy. \Miranda Ball. Alabama Slammer. One part each sloe gin, whisky, Galliano, triple sec, orange juice, orange slice and a cherry.\

\We\ e out of triple sec,\ yelled Rosie.

\Substitute Cointreau. Reduce the quantity by twenty per cent.\

Dr Lucas put his finished drink on the bar, and raised his finger. One more.

\Gerry Lucas. Empty glass,\ I called.

Rosie took the glass: I hoped she realised that we didn\ have a sample for him yet.

\Another Anal Probe for Dr Lucas.\

\Got that,\ she called from the kitchen. Excellent, she had remembered to swab.

Dr Martin van Krieger called out, loudly, \Is there a cocktail with Galliano and tequila?\

The crowd quietened. This sort of question had become common during dinner, and the guests had seemed impressed with my responses. I took a few moments to think.

Martin called out again, \Don\ worry if there isn\ .\

\I\m re-indexing my internal database,\ I said to explain the delay. It took a few moments. \Mexican Gold or Freddy Fudpucker.\ The crowd applauded.

\One of each,\ he said.

Rosie knew how to make a Freddy Fudpucker. I gave the boss the Mexican Gold recipe.

We continued in this mode, with great success. I decided to take advantage of the opportunity to test all male doctors present, including those I had previously filtered out because of incompatible ethnic appearance. At 1.22 a.m. I was confident that we had tested all but one person. It was time to be proactive.

\Dr Anwar Khan. Approach the bar please.\ It was an expression I had heard used on television. I hoped it carried the required authority.

Dr Khan had drunk only from his water glass, and carried it with him to the bar. \You haven\ ordered a drink all night,\ I said.


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