Dinner turned out to be extremely slow. Mary, Henry Lee and Bea left at six. Grandma and Jimmy were in place. but they would leave early since it was so quiet. Tommy was really upset. Not only did his mouth hurt, but he didn’t want Drenovis to have anything to criticize, anything to say. Drenovis would complain about losing money and brag about how much more revenue the west side brought in compared to the east.
Marie wore the sunglasses all night. She would wear them for the next week as it turned out and she would still have the remnants of the shiner when she took them off.
Bill used the steaks that had sweated and which he had washed first. Tommy only had to expedite for about an hour but Bill and Jimmy could have handled the orders without any expediting. Bill asked Tommy if he wanted to go to the office and take it easy. Tommy said he’d watch over things to make sure everything went as it should.
After Tommy had left the kitchen, Marie came over to Bill during one of the lulls. Bill was smoking a cigarette, standing in the doorway where he could see any orders brought in and where he could catch the cool air blowing in through the screen door. She stepped so close to Bill he could feel the softness of her breasts against his arm.
“I ain’t really sorry, you know. I’m glad you seen my coochie. You can see it any time you want.”
“Ain’t my business.”
“I could give you a good time.”
“Ain’t interested. You got enough problems.”
“He won’t care. I could give you some nice lip service if you like.”
“Wanna know what I like?”
“You go over on your own station and leave me be.”
“Shit,” Marie said. “It’s your loss.”
“I’ll live with it.”
Marie got huffy. “You scared of him, ain’t you?”
“Why would I be? Not that you need any explanation, but I don’t need the hassle.”
“The hell with you then.”
“Listen, Marie. You don’t want to be getting on the wrong side of the people you need. I think you’re miscalculating. I run this kitchen at night and you need me a lot more than I need you. So just do your work and understand I am not interested in anything with you except you taking care of your station. What’s between you and him is between you and him.”
Marie whispered something under her breath before she went back to the salads. Bill simply let it go, finished his cigarette and walked back onto the line.
By ten-thirty he was sitting out in the hall. Jimmy and Grandma were already gone nearly an hour. Jimmy had sat on the metal milk cases where Bill was now and eaten a big order of Grandma’s fried chicken just before he’d left. Then he’d smoked a cigarette and asked if Bill minded if he took off.
Bill was happy to be alone except for Marie and the dishwashers. He was nodding off where he sat until Lorraine came out with a beer for him.
“Mind if I have some?”
“I’m off,” said Lorraine. “Bebe wants a super medium rare. She said about eleven.”
“I’ll take one too.”
“Think I won’t give it to you?”
“Yeah. But you can’t tell anyone or let the others see you eating it.”
“I like it rare.”
Lorraine sat herself on the lettuce cases. The stack was only two cases high now. In the mornings it went to four and sometimes five. Still she was higher up than Bill. She drank half the beer before she gave the bottle over to him.
Look for Rose’s Story on Amazon Kindle in just a few more days.