kitchen-4About quarter to midnight that Saturday, Lexi came into the kitchen. She carried a beer for Bill and had two orders which she turned in. They were straightforward enough. One was for two hamburgers medium, one was for three steaks, a queen, a super and a Boston all medium-rare. Bill was in the process of cleaning up, not that he had gotten much done yet since there were orders almost all the time. He had managed to get his soap water and brush, but because they were open late and there were orders, he had not broken down the steam table yet or begun to strain the grease.

He and Lexi hadn’t had time to even to talk alone since their last interplay. Both she and Victoria were on now and had customers. It was all work for everyone.

Jim had said something about the beer again. This was the fourth time. Bill was being as easy as he could about it, not wanting to tick Jim off and not wanting to make him feel bad. But one rule that could not be broken, not technically at least, was giving alcoholic beverages to the dishwashers. He was sure he could give Jim a beer and not get fired for it, but no way was he going to. Jim was a wildcard. Bill wasn’t messing with a wildcard.

He did have Lexi bring a pitcher of soda for the dishwasher crew. Andy, the kind-of-crazy, bald-headed pot washer, was working tonight. Andy had strange eyes. Jim had dead eyes. Paul had alive and alert eyes. He was  ADHD in a time when they hadn’t even labeled it yet. It was called Hyperkinetic Impulse Disorder at that time and Paul was not diagnosed. Mickey, the pimp, a relatively new man on the team, smoked a lot and just did his work.

Bill called Mickey the pimp because out of the blue, one early evening, Mickey approached him and asked if he wanted to meet some young ladies. Bill was curious and asked Mickey what he meant and who they were. Mickey said they were just some lovely young women who boarded where he did who were looking to meet a nice young man. He said they were pretty, just a little on the big side, and he said they would be happy to pay him to come over and meet them. Hence, the pimp.

The dishwashers were grateful for the soda. They stowed the pitcher where it would not get bothered and was easily accessible. Lexi was nice. She gave them the pitcher, smiled and said hello. She was always nice to them, and overall she was nice all around to almost everyone. Drenovis did not like her because he did not hire her and he couldn’t get in her pants. Bill was thinking that when he and she did end up together it would double-irk Drenovis, and this was a good thing in his eyes. But Lexi, he knew, had to be forewarned about the fallout from their fraternizing. He was sure there would be repercussions and he didn’t want to be responsible for her getting canned.

Victoria said good night at twelve-thirty. She came into the kitchen in her street clothes, carrying another beer for Bill. She already had her coat on.

“There’s more people coming in,” she said.

Bill was busy scrubbing now and he had, in the last twenty minutes, strained both fryers. The steam table was broken down and the food was lined up on Mary’s back counter, ready to be put into the walk-in.

“Lucky me.”

“Tommy said to tell you he isn’t closing up if you get more walk-ins. He said he’d let Lexi let you know when there’ll be no more orders.”

“Okie dokie,” Bill said. He stopped working and faced Victoria, gave her a serious look-over.

“What?” she asked.

Bill smiled. “Nothing,” he said.

“Tell me.”

“Yes.”

“Yes what?”

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