kitchen-4“Don’t you be sorry for me.” Angry as she was, Marie looked at Bill, stuck her tongue out at him, then she freed her hand and gave him the notorious middle finger.

Bill laughed. He wanted to smoke another joint, so he stood up. He was going to ask her if she wanted to take the edge off, but just before he spoke, he saw Jim, the dishwasher who’d been causing him concern but who had been relatively quiet lately, step up to the end of the line by the knife sheath. Jim took it upon himself to lean over the sheath and linger there.

Bill moved to his left a bit to get a better angle so he could see if Jim’s hands went to touch a knife. But he heard Paul say something and understood that a rack of dishes had come out of the machine and needed to be emptied. Jim straightened himself up and disappeared out of sight from the doorway.

“I’m smoking a joint,” Bill said to Marie.

“I want a drink.”

“Henry Lee’s down there.”

“Forget it then.”

Bill shrugged his shoulders and went on out the door. He hadn’t even had two full tokes when Marie joined him. “Maybe it make me feel better,” she said.

“I already had some. You smoke what you want.”

Bill left Marie and stood where he could see the doorway and her. He kept an eye out. As he was standing there, he saw Lexi park her car and when she got out head toward where he stood. She was wearing a coat so he couldn’t see her clothes, but he could see she wore dark hose and high heels.

“Goddamn cold,” she said.

“You just need someone to keep you warm.”

“And who might that be?” She kissed Bill, much more than a hello kiss.

“I’m sure you have options,” Bill said after the kiss.

“I’m sure I do.” Lexi smiled and walked inside.

Bill stood waiting for Marie who came to where he was when she was done smoking.

“Feel better?”

“No. But I’m horny now.” She looked closely at Bill’s face, saw that he had lipstick on his lips. “You got lipstick on you.”

Before he could do anything, she moved in toward him and licked his lips where the lipstick was. She took a good, long lick on his lips, then she wiped it with her hand. Then she reached down and felt him up.

“That’s where it should be,” she said. “That’s where it could be.”

“We need to get inside.”

“No we don’t. Only reason we need to get inside is cause it’s cold out here. Who put that lipstick there?”

“Lexi kissed me hello.”

“Hello,” Marie said. She reached in again and kissed Bill a long, deep kiss. She laughed and pointed to the mistletoe on the doorway. Then, “I ain’t apologizing to Henry Lee.”

“My name is Been It and I ain’t in it,” said Bill. He started for inside, Marie following him and goosing him every step of the way until they reached the doorway to the kitchen. When Bill turned at the doorway, he noted Jim was back at the knife sheath. He didn’t say anything but stepped past Jim, Marie doing the same and walking through the line over to the pantry station.

Jimmy was up on the line now. Bea and Mary, seeing Bill and Marie come back inside, started for the doorway to go down to change clothes. Mary stopped by Bill. “We’ll talk when I come up,” she said.

Tommy came in the kitchen a moment after Bea and Mary went down the stairs. He walked through Marie’s station, checked on everything in the walk-ins, drew himself a cup of coffee. Carrying the coffee he walked through the line and asked Jimmy and Bill if they were all set. They both nodded and let Tommy pass through, checking what he wanted to check but knowing he didn’t have to check anything.

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