They went to work without fanfare. Bill brought up the round, helped Mary set it up in the roasting pan and slide it into the oven. That done, they took an inventory of what they needed to make, what needed replenishing, what had to be brought up from downstairs and what they needed to do for tomorrow.

Bea was quiet over at her station. She did her inventory then sat on her stool to smoke a cigarette and drink her coffee. Mary and Bill joined her for coffee when they were ready. Bill smoked a cigarette too and read the racing page over her shoulder. He could see she hadn’t closed all the buttons of her dress and he caught a good look at her deep cleavage.

“You got a lot of work?” she asked Mary.


“Well we got enough puddings. I don’t need nothing from you.”

“Good, cause I’m tired.”

“Getting a good look at my tits?” she asked Bill.

“Can’t see inside the bra,” Bill said.

Quite matter of factly, Bea reached up with one hand and pulled at her bra, moving it away from one of her breasts so the tip was exposed. “That better?” she asked.

Bill reached down with one hand and copped a feel of her. As he did so, Mary smacked him gently upside the head.

“Jealous?” he asked.

“What if Tommy comes in?”

“So what?”

“How was The Upper Room?” Bea asked.

“We didn’t get no sleep,” said Mary.

“Boy here do a good job?”  Bea rested the paper on her lap and used both her hands to straighten herself up. Then she went back to the racing page as if nothing happened.

“He was okay,” Mary commented. “Gonna give him another chance to see if he gets it perfect.”

“I can give him some practice later.”

“Bet you can.”

“Surely will if it’s okay with you.”

“Why should I care?”

Bea chuckled her throaty laugh. “Good, cause I love them little white boys.”  She closed the paper and stood up. Then she reached up her dress and scratched the back of her thigh just below her butt.

“Need some help?” Bill asked.

Bea laughed again and turned her butt to him. He reached a hand up there inside her underwear and scratched her buttocks. She danced some, saying, “there, to the left, oh yeah, there.”

Mary made a clucking sound, rolled her eyes and went back to her prep area. Bill took a long, intimate feel of Bea before removing his hand. Bea laughed even more, telling him he’d just primed the pump.

That’s when the sound of the door opening startled them. Trying to look casual, Bill took up his coffee cup and sipped at it. Bea started rinsing out her sink. Tommy came in, drew himself a coffee and went back out. Whatever he’d seen, he just let it go.

Henry Lee came in at nine. He was early and they didn’t have much work, but he brought a fresh quart of bourbon. He checked in with Bea, bet his horses, played his numbers. He sat on her stool and drank coffee while Bea stood washing lettuce. Then he went around and spoke with Mary before heading downstairs.

Bill met him downstairs and they got high in the deep freeze. Mary came down for some too, but they were done so she went in alone. Then she sat on the counter as she always did, crossed her feet at the ankles and swung them to and fro. While she sat she gave a big yawn. She leaned back but was not comfortable, so she lay down on her side.

“Anything need checking on upstairs?” Bill asked.

“Everything’s good. Got more uppers?”

Bill laughed. He and Mary both popped a pill and washed it down with bourbon.

“Ten minutes,” Mary said. “Let me sleep for ten minutes.”

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