07/07/07 - posted by Boris
You mean Noriega Furniture on Tararval. Another Sunset mystery.

Hey, I worked at Noriega Coffee Shop on 32nd Ave. from ''64 to '66 for 1.65 per hour. I was 15 and was the dishwasher, mop boy and waiter simultaneously. The place was run by a man from Greece and he had a bunch of pin ball machines that paid off. He taught me how to make big pans of soap that we would then cut into squares for use in dishwashing. He made the best apple strudle and vegetable soup in the world from "second hand" apples and vegetables that he would retrieve from the rear of the super market down the block and then have me cut off the rotten parts before serving it to his customers.

His homemade chili and split pea soup were also excellent , and he would let me stay after hours to do my homework, play the pins and crank up the radio while feasting on the most elaborate concoctions I could come up with, followed by the hugest banana splits that I could fit into a boat and consequently into my stomach.

Life was great until I bent down to pull an old newspaper out from under the dishwasher one day. As I did, a cockroach skiddled across the floor. Then another, and another. Before long there were cockroaches running madly all over the walls. I don't know why, but moving that paper triggered a cockroach frenzy like nothing I've ever seen. Within a couple of minutes the little devils had reached the ceiling and were doing kamikaze backflips from anything that resembled a platform and making their way out of the kitchen and toward the dining area.

By the grace of God I managed to prevent their escape from the kitchen by smashing them on the walls with one of Jim's black wingtips that he kept by the bathroom. Their escape would surely have been noticed by the patrons. What happened under the wooden floor racks was another matter altogether, but I couldn't be bothered with what I couldn't see.

We managed to keep things under control and Jim threw a big sigh of relief as he drove me home that night. No one would have been the wiser had it not been for some overly-sensitive customers that happened to find cockroaches in their bowls of chili and split pea soup the next day. Within hours Noriega Coffee Shop had gotten shut down tight by the Health Dept. and I was out of work for a month.

If there is a moral here, my guess it has something to do with Karma, or perhaps that what you don't know, won't hurt you--take your pick. As for me, I'm an artist and greatly admired my boss's ability to create works of art from other people's refuse. Besides, I was a minor and take no responibility for what I might have fed to some of you.

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