The last day of work was just another day. He lugged the five turkeys up the stairs and he and Mary set them up to cook and put them in the ovens. He lugged up the steamship round and they set that up and put it to cook. He took out another two turkeys for defrosting and left them downstairs. They would get cooked off too, but later. They set up and soaked three roasting pans of bread for stuffing. In the afternoon, between meals, he and Mary actually made the stuffing and set it up for cooking off too.

All Mary’s ovens got a full workout all day long. The kitchen had a different set of aromas to it, not unfamiliar since they’d just done Thanksgiving a month ago. On Thanksgiving, Mr. Bowman gave every staff member a turkey. For Christmas he gave them all a ham.

He and Mary spent most of the day cooking together. The only time they were apart was when he was cutting meat with Henry Lee and when he was on the line doing the lunch service. Mary and Bea stayed late, not just to get their ham, but because they had work to finish up. The kitchen help, except for the dishwashers, all got a cash bonus too.

Mary did take a payment from Bill. They took a moment together in the store room which was much more than a moment. Mary had certain demands she wanted fulfilled, things she had thought of when Bill told her, as they were dressing the turkeys, that he wasn’t doing anything except what she told him to do. At first this threw Mary for a loop, but she managed to tell Bill what she wanted, and he managed to give her just that.

Lexi was late girl and all Bill’s girls were working. Veronica, Lorraine, and Norma were all there. Lorraine asked Bill what she was getting for Christmas. Bill told her he’d see her when he came back. Lexi wanted to help herself to some of him, but he told her what he’d told Lorraine, that he’d see her after the holiday.

Bea was a little more insistent but all she wanted was what she wanted, which was easy for Bill since he’d just been with Mary. She cornered him when he was fetching something and had him scratch her itch quickly and efficiently.

Henry Lee and Marie were back at it. They had a little tiff when she came in but then they went off to the bathroom together and were gone for more than half an hour. Henry Lee knew about Bill and Marie from the night before. Henry Lee said he was glad, that it made it better for him.

Drenovis came over for a little while. He did not mess with Lexi or with Bill. He seemed to be in a fairly good mood. He was the one who gave out the kitchen help’s bonuses, and he had a modest gift certificate for each of the waitresses. Everyone seemed pretty high-spirited. Mr. Bowman had eggnog laced with rum and high-spirited turned happy. The staff, mostly the front staff, had a good time together, coming when they could to the side dining room to drink eggnog and socialize.

The kitchen staff didn’t have much time for socializing. Henry Lee cut meat, Bill set up for the dinner and helped Mary finish the cooking. Bea and Marie worked together to set up the pantry and make sure they had everything they needed plus extra in place and ready to go.

The dinner was busy with more Christmas parties. Bill, Henry Lee and Mary got high in the deep freeze before Bill went up for the service. They drank bourbon too and that was on top of the rum-laced eggnog they had when the waitresses brought it in for them. When everything was set, Bill sat out in the hall until the orders started coming in. Round about seven-thirty, Bea and Mary took off. Bill and Jimmy worked straight through until after eleven when the orders tapered off and they could start thinking about cleaning up. Bill knew he wasn’t getting out until late.

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