kitchen-4A problem. Mary liking him was a problem. Him liking Mary was a bigger problem. It was complicated.

Money was no longer a problem. Bill and his wife-to-be could pay the rent. A car was no longer a problem. They had gotten a cool, sporty-yet-practical car. Bill’s only problems were his police record and his extra-curricular activities, both self-inflicted wounds.

Bea wanted Bill more when she discovered Mary was keen on him. Bill was forbidden fruit, young, thin and highly energetic, not to mention exotic, the only white boy she’d ever tasted. She enjoyed his being only twenty. That age on boys was just perfect for anything and everything she could want. She was in her mid forties, in an already twenty-five year marriage, not getting much at home. Young and strange stuff made for ecstasy. She looked at Bill and licked her chops. She looked at him and she was creamy down there, ready for action.

“I do like the boy,” Mary finally admitted one day. “He’s not just a piece of meat.”

“Yeah, he is,” Bea said. “And a good one at that. And I like him too. I like him in the morning and in the afternoon. I like him wherever he puts it, and I let him put it anywhere he can think of. I ain’t had this much fun since I was his age when my mister was still treating me like a princess. But I didn’t know what I was doing back then. Now, it’s anything and everything goes and oh so much fun.”

“Well you ain’t me,” Mary said. “I don’t work like that.”

“Damn, girl, you should try it. Take your head out your ass and your heart out the situation. Get your rocks off and be happy.”

“If I could I would.”

“I’m taking what I want and what I can get.”

With that said that day, Mary went back to her station. Bill came up from the meat room a bit later. He’d been cutting meat with Henry Lee. He went directly to where Mary was and reached for her, but she pushed him off. “You want a piece of ass go to the salad station,” she told him.

Bill shook his head. “What’d I do?”

“You came here.”

“What’s that mean?”

“Lord have mercy,” Mary said.

“You can have a piece of ass,” Bea said. Apparently she’d heard the exchange of words. “I got to go downstairs anyway.”

Bill, a bit confounded, drew himself a coffee and headed back for the stairs. Mary sulked, called Bea a bitch under her breath. She watched Bea traipse after him downstairs.

Bill didn’t want Bea. He wanted Mary. That was the problem. He should never have wanted her for anything other than sex and he shouldn’t have even wanted her for that. It was the being-young curse.

Back in the meat room, he took a long swig of the bourbon he and Henry Lee were drinking. Then he drank half his coffee and filled the mug to the rim with bourbon so he had some strong coffee to drink. He had just begun cutting steaks again when Bea came into the meat room and asked him to help her get something from a high shelf in the storeroom.

“Go get some,” Henry Lee said.

Bill followed Bea into the storeroom. As soon as they were both inside, she closed and blocked the door. She reached for him, fondled him, dropped to her knees.

Twenty minutes later, back in the meat room, Bill gulped down the remainder of his coffee. He filled the mug with straight bourbon and finished it off too. He was drunk by the time he and Henry Lee began carrying up meat trays for the service.

Coming Now In About Another Month:

The Ghost Writer, Rose’s Story: A Look At The Worlds We Hide