Lunch was very busy. They sold almost all the bleus and hamburgers they’d prepared. Bill had to deep-fry thirteen orders of chicken fingers and he did a lot of pickerel too. He knew he would have to change the grease tonight at the end of his shift.
They sold a good deal of the roast beef and each time he picked up the knife to carve it, he remembered he had not changed his uniform. Mary’s words rang in his ears. The knife slipped several times. Each time it hit the kitchen fork he was using to hold the meat. Careful, careful, careful, he thought.
Tommy did a formidable job of expediting. He called the orders then picked up what he knew he could, as he could. He kept the tables with only roast beef orders separate and told Bill to pick up them up as he could. So all in all, they ran on time and certainly could have handled more.
When it was mostly over, Tommy turned the remaining orders over to Bill and Henry Lee, drew himself a coffee and left the kitchen. Henry Lee and Bill ran out the board then went out in the hall to smoke cigarettes. Bea and Mary came out shortly after them. Bea used Bill’s cigarette to light her own, then she settled down on the lettuce cases. Mary went to the screen door to catch some fresh air.
Bill had the sudden urge to go stand behind Mary and hump on her. He stood leaning against the wall, wondering if any more orders were coming in, hoping they really were finished. When Bea started into a conversation with Henry Lee—they were talking about the horses they had bet at Beulah Park—he did just that, walked up behind Mary, reached his arms around her bosom so he could feel her up and pressed himself against her butt.
“What the hell you doing, boy?” Mary asked. But she made no attempt to stop him or move away from him. Instead, she pushed back against him and started to grind on him.
“Damn,” Henry Lee said. “Look at them two. They like dogs mating.”
“Hope it gets the boy good and hard,” Bea said. “I’m getting some of that later on.”
“You crazy, girl,” Henry Lee said to Bea.
“Crazy and I don’t give a flying you-know-what. He can put it anywhere he wants as long as he takes care of me.”
“What you see in him?”
“You kidding me? He’s just a little white lollipop. I love to eat those lollipops.”
“Wait till Robert finds out.”
“What’s he gonna do? Give me a lecture? That flaming faggot doing our boss and he gonna give me a lecture? And all the while his uppity ass directing the church choir.”
“What’s Mr. Bea gonna say?”
“What Mr. Bea don’t know, won’t hurt him. What’s Mrs. Henry Lee say?”
“Well she better know nothing more than Mr. Bea.”
“Love them little white boys,” Bea said. She chuckled, her deep throaty chuckle.
“Yeah, bet you do,” Henry Lee said.
They watched. Mary was leaning back against Bill and taking him as he humped on her, meeting his strokes so he could press fully into her. She helped his hands inside her kitchen dress, inside her bra. As he fondled her, she closed her eyes to let herself feel him.
“Why don’t you all go downstairs?” Henry Lee finally said.
“I’m getting hot just watching them,” Bea said.
Then they all heard the sound of the bell. The bell meant a waitress had an order and had put it on the spindle. Since no one was in the kitchen, the waitress rang the bell. If someone, anyone, had been there, she simply would have called out “ordering.”
Henry Lee and Bea went into the kitchen first. Mary and Bill followed shortly afterward, but not until Mary had turned and kissed Bill full and hard. “You better not leave me high and dry,” she told him.