kitchen-4“Just yes. Night Victoria.”

“Night, love.” She stepped close and kissed Bill on his cheek. “See you at lunch Monday. Another shitty shift for me.”

Bill didn’t say anything. There was nothing to say. Tommy made the schedule up to a point, but Drenovis oversaw everything. That was because he knew all the waitresses and some of them he used interchangeably between both stores. Victoria, thus far, was not one of the interchangeable ones, but sometimes he overrode Tommy’s schedule by claiming he needed someone over on the west side. It was all designed to either get Victoria to submit or get her to quit so he could replace her with someone who would submit to whatever he wanted.

The best Bill could do for her was make it easier on her. Tommy too. Tommy gave her the best shifts he could and he made sure she had the best stations. The front dining room filled first and turned over quicker, so he made sure she was in the front room. Bill gave her steak and pie when she wanted it. She could also drink from his beer when she wanted. He also made sure to push her orders out first so she could service her customers quickly and efficiently. This way she could turn her tables faster too.

Sunday was a quiet day. As they did every Sunday, they opened late, served only dinner and closed an hour early. Henry Lee came in for only half a day. He cut steaks for the day and to start Monday for both stores. Mary and Bea came late, after church. At church, they sat with Alfreda and their kids. Robert, who had a truly gifted voice, led the choir.

So when Mary came in she was dressed up. She had a church dress on with nylons and heels. She was made up, fully made up with rouge and lipstick. Her nails were done and she was spiffy. Every Sunday, Bill noted, she was spiffy, and once they’d become intimate, he loved messing with her on Sundays when she went down to change. He particularly liked that she wore a garter belt, and he liked kissing up her thighs when she would let him. As often as he could, when he was in before her, he would take her by the hand into the ladies’ room and push her up on the sink counter. She would protest, not so much because she didn’t want him to do what he did, but because it was the fashionable, the lady-like thing to do, especially on Sundays.

Lately Mary had taken to chiding him, asking if he would prefer one of his little waitress friends. Bill was quick-witted and reminded her that she had told him if  he wanted real loving, he would find it with her, not with them.

“Dammit, boy,” Mary said when he grabbed her hand, “I just heard the preacher talking about fornicating.”

“Forn-a-what?”

“Don’t play stupid.”

“I’m not playing.”

Because it was a lazy day, what was generally a slow one, they took their time. A whole half-hour they stayed in that ladies’ room, enough time for them both to be noticed missing.

“We’re gonna get in trouble.”

“You know what I say to that.”

“I’m gonna kill you.”

“Shut up and enjoy yourself. Let’s go to the Upper Room one night this week.”

Bill let Mary go up first. He didn’t go up empty-handed. He carted two meat trays up on his shoulder, trays with steaks that needed to be used first. He’d taken a long drink of bourbon in the meat room before coming up the stairs, and he’d rolled several joints. He, Mary and Henry Lee would all get high in a little while and then they would coast through the day’s work.

“I get my turn tomorrow,” said Bea when they were together upstairs.

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