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Category Archives: Kitchen Stories

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Originally posted in October 2016, this is the third Bill Wynn outtake.

The line marched. All the prisoners were still shackled, so like before, the marching was actually shuffling. Prison doors were buzzed open as the line approached, buzzed shut when it had passed through. The bleeder was conspicuously absent. Bill wouldn’t see him again until the next morning at chow. He had two swollen eyes sure to turn black and a fat lip.

First stop was check-in. The new inmates were issued workhouse blues. The shirts had the letter of the dorm they were assigned to. Sure enough, Bill’s had the capital D. They got one pair of socks, two pairs of underwear, one pair of soft slip-on sneakers, no laces, a sheet, pillow case, blanket and towel.

Next stop was strip search and delousing. It was here, just before they entered, that the shackles were removed. Then, inside, it was kind of like a high school locker room without lockers. There were flat benches and a half wall with an entrance in the middle beyond which were showers. They were ordered to put their prison issue on the benches and to strip. When they were all nude, they were lined up before the benches and strip searched. They had to use the bench to lean on to spread their cheeks. No surprise, they checked everywhere, everywhere being in the nostrils, in the mouth, under the armpits, under the testicles, in the anus and between the toes.

That done, they had to shower. The guards stayed at the half wall. They did this twice a day, every day so they were bored and disinterested. They talked amongst themselves, joked with each other. One told about how the bleeder had been worked over. Another was eyeing Bill. He would be the one to lead Bill to the barber.

In here the guards only carried night sticks. Several of them tapped the sticks on the wall. One paced back and forth along the wall dragging the stick on the wall making a big racket. He asked one of his friends how many asses his stick had been up. His friend said more than his number of fingers and they laughed. He said he thought the stick was pointing to the hippie.

They timed the showers, three minutes start to finish. Then the inmates stood there in the shower area. They were lined up and sprayed with chemical delousing fluid. The sprayers wore rubber suits, rubber boots and gas masks.

Dried off, dressed in the workhouse uniforms, the inmates packed up their street clothes. Private property had been sent along from lockup, taken from them before the bus ride over. Bill noted that one guard, the one who had talked about his stick, kept hanging over him.

“This stick meant for that hippie queer,” the guard said to his friends. “I’m gonna walk him into D dorm personally, show them how pretty he is. Then I’m taking him over to the barber. Make sure he get the haircut he needs.”

“Man, leave the boy alone. He ain’t done nothing to you,” one of his coworkers said.

“I’m gonna make him eat this stick,” the guard said.

“Let’s get this group of misfits settled in,” the sergeant said.

“Move it along you assholes,” one of the guards said as they marched the inmates along. “No talking. Look straight ahead. Arm’s length from the man in front.”

Pick up a copy of my published works here: Books by Peter Weiss.


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Originally posted in October 2016, this is the second Bill Wynn outtake.

The bus arrived about 2:00 PM. Just like in the movies on TV, the prisoners were in foot and hand shackles so they shuffled as the length of the foot chain allowed, their hands in front of them tied to their feet.

Stepping down off the bus was tricky. One boy no older than Bill Wynn who was just twenty-one tripped and tumbled down off the bus. He couldn’t use his hands to protect himself in the fall and stood up with a bloody nose. He didn’t really stand up. Two jail guards pulled him up by the shackles. Bill saw that the handcuff part cut one of his wrists. The boy stood there bleeding at his wrist and with blood dripping down his face from his nose.

“Goddamn dirty pig soiling our yard here,” one of the guards said.

A different guard stepped up to him. “You gonna pay for this, motherfucker,” he said. “You gonna pay for it and you gonna clean it up. Whitey,” he called, “ get someone to bring the bucket and brush.”

Everyone off the bus, the guards lined up the prisoners. There were about fifteen of them by the time the bus had made all the stops for the pickups. Bill was scared worse than he’d ever recalled being scared. He was trying not to cry, trying to look tough and trying to take in everything going on around him all at once. Somehow his eyes must’ve met the eyes of one of the guards because of a sudden that guard was in his face.

“You eyeballing me boy?” he said loudly, so close to Bill that Bill could feel the guard’s breath on his face and smell his stale lunch too.


“No what?”

Bill had no clue what he was supposed to say. “No officer,” he finally managed.

“You call me sir, boy.”

“Yes sir,” Bill said.

“Lookee here,” the guard said. “We got us a bona-fide genuine hippie boy.”

All the guards came over. They all wore side arms and carried shotguns. One guard cocked his shotgun and said “I see the slightest motion out the corner of my eye while I’m checking out this here hippie, I’m shooting at it first and asking about it after I shoot.”

“I’ll be damned,” one guard said.

“Remember the hippie we checked in this morning?” another one said.

“I heard he enjoyed the strip search. You gonna enjoy the strip search, boy?”

Bill did not answer.

Another guard, one who had not spoken, poked Bill in the ribs with the butt of his shotgun. “Didn’t you hear him ask you a question?”

“Yes sir,” Bill said.

“Well?” the same guard said, prodding Bill’s ribs with the shotgun with each word. “Answer his fucking question. You like it up the ass? You look like a faggot to me.”

“No sir,” Bill said.

“You a queer?”

“No sir.”

“We gonna put you in D dorm with the toughs,” the sergeant said. He hadn’t spoken before either. He stepped close to Bill. “Course that’s after the barber gets done with you.”

The sergeant stepped off and told the guards to start marching the inmates in. Just before they did, an inmate came out carrying a bucket with a brush inside it. Bill noted the inmate, in workhouse blues, was an albino.

“Thanks, whitey,” the sergeant said. “Okay now, Mr. Sharp,” he said to one of the guards, “hold the line while the bleeder cleans up his mess.”

One guard pushed the bleeder forward and forced him down to his knees. Another pushed the bucket forward with his foot, not caring that water was splashing the inmate on his knees.

The line of prisoners stood watching while the still bleeding inmate scrubbed the cement with the bristle brush. He stopped only to keep wiping his face with his sleeve so he didn’t bleed on the ground anymore.

“Anyone else wanna bleed?” one of the guards asked.

No one said anything.

Pick up a copy of my published works here: Books by Peter Weiss.

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Originally posted in October 2016, this is the first Bill Wynn outtake.

Bill was on probation. He got three weeks in the workhouse and a two hundred-fifty dollar fine. He actually  spent seventeen days in jail and they waived the fine, but he came away from it all pretty broken and with a police record to boot. The police record meant he couldn’t get a job so he had no money, no prospective income, nowhere to turn for help except his probation officer.

Those days, the probation officer determined how often you had to report. Bill reported the week after he was released from the workhouse since that was required. Bailey, his PO, made the next face-to-face for four weeks away and decided regular visits were to be monthly. Bill wasn’t exactly a flight risk or a danger. He was busted at an anti-war protest and still insisted he hadn’t done what they said he did. It reminded him of a character in a story who said they had the papers on him so he guessed he did what they said he did. Then he said he didn’t really remember and it didn’t matter  anyway.

That first monthly visit changed Bill’s life. He just didn’t know it at the time. That’s when he met Robert, the guy in workhouse blues who looked like he was going to cry. Bill offered him a cigarette, but he said he didn’t smoke. Bill told him he didn’t have any money otherwise he would have given it to him for his commissary. Robert asked him how he knew about the commissary. Bill told him he just got out a month ago.

Bailey was sympathetic to Bill’s plight. Bill wanted Bailey to help him get a job. Any kind of job, Bill told him. “I don’t care what the hell it is,” he said. “I can’t pay my rent.” Bailey said he’d do what he could.

Bill didn’t have much hope. He didn’t have much hope about getting a job or about Bailey helping him. He lay in bed at night remembering. The judge banged down the gavel and then he was clad in shackles on the bus to the workhouse. He had that sick feeling deep in the pit of his stomach. That feeling would never leave him again, never, although sometimes it would go on hiatus for different periods of time, some of them even longer periods.

“Policemen don’t lie,” the judge said. The judge’s name was Shul. They called him “hang ’em high Shul,” because he was the toughest, most conservative judge they had there in Columbus. The town itself was quite conservative once you were away from the university area. Bill had  been walking downtown and a cop singled him out from about fifteen people who were crossing in the middle of the block and not in the crosswalk.

“Giving you a jaywalking ticket,” he said.

“What about all the others who were with me?”

“Shut up you goddamn hippie.”

Bill started to say something but the cop cut him off. “Say another word and I’ll run you in,” he said.

Bill didn’t go back downtown again until he was visiting his PO. By then, after the workhouse, you’d never have known he was a hippie.

Pick up a copy of my published works here: Books by Peter Weiss.


So Mr. Jim made a speech. His wife, also gray-haired, also smallish, stood by his side and held his hand. It was charming to look at and a rather tender moment altogether. Henry Lee stood by Alfreda and held her hand. Marie stood alone. Bill stood by Mary who wanted to hold his hand but wouldn’t reach out for it. So next best thing was to stand close enough to him so her hip brushed up against his. Every now and then she shifted on her feet and made sure that he felt her against him.

Mary had done her makeup in a way Bill always liked. She wore no facial powder except a touch of rouge on her cheekbones. Her nails and her lipstick were deep purple. That purple drove Bill crazy. He wondered if her toenails were done in the same color and when he asked her, she slipped one foot out of her shoe enough for him to see that they were. He was the only man to date that had ever kissed her toes, even licked them and kissed her feet all over. That drove her crazy.

Drenovis looked bored out of his wits. He probably would have skipped the whole thing if he could have, but Mr. Bowman was not letting that happen. Robert stood next to Bea whose husband had come simply because he knew Mr. Jim and his family and he wanted to be there for them. Bea was not happy about Mr. Bea being there, but she had no choice. So on one level, for as wonderful an event as it was for Mr. Jim and his family and even for Suburban, that’s how awkward a moment it was for some of the staff.

Mr. Jim’s speech chronicled his kitchen life. He spoke briefly about being one of the few people of color in those days to graduate high school and be lucky enough to get a job even though it was a beginning job as a kitchen worker on the railroad. He spoke about hard work and perseverance, about simply showing up and being there all the time. He spoke about being the best pot washer they’d ever had and then being the best dishwasher they ever had. He talked about his good fortune when one of the railroad cooks died. While it was not the cook’s misfortune, he was lucky enough to be given an opportunity. He talked about how that opportunity only materialized because he had shown up and done a prideful job all the time.

Mr. Jim spoke in detail about what it was like to be a chef on the dining cars. He spoke about learning all he could from the other cooks around him and from the chefs. He said he was happy in his older age to be able to pass that on to many younger boys who were up-and-coming on the railroad. He said he knew that using the word boy might offend some people, but, he said, being in his sixties meant that kids in their late teens were just boys. He remarked that there were no girls in the kitchens in those days, and Bill could testify to the fact that there really weren’t many girls in the kitchens even into the eighties.

Mr. Jim attributed all his success to his wife of nearly fifty years. She, almost alone, raised their kids, this because he was away most of the time. In the older days, sometimes when the trains were going long distance, the chefs traveled with the trains. He said he was proud to have accomplished what he accomplished but that the trade-off was being away from his family. He had missed a lot of his kids’ growing up, but, he said, he was happy that at least he could be there to watch his grandchildren grow up.

Well, Bill thought, if that speech don’t shame us all. He wondered if Mary, Bea, Henry Lee and Alfreda were thinking the same thing.

Pick up a copy of my published works here: Books by Peter Weiss.

Coming Soon

Bill Wynn: The First Hundred


Bill was washing potatoes at the sink on Mary’s station. He was gonna leave them in the sink, fill up the hors d’oeuvre trays and carry them down. Most of the hors d’oeuvres were sitting on the shelves in the convection oven, the oven where the baked potatoes were cooked. Alfreda stepped up behind him at the sink and helped herself to an immodest feel of him. For his part, Bill tried to but could not quite sidestep her, and as she pressed him into the sink so he couldn’t step away, she could feel him responding to her touch.

“You like that, huh white boy?” She pressed harder on him and tried to work her hand inside his kitchen pants. “Think me and Bea and Mary don’t talk about you? You know I’m starting to feel left out.”

“Jesus Christ,” Bill said. Then an impulse hit him. The water still running, he turned from the sink, grabbed Alfreda tight. He forced his lips over hers and pressed his tongue into her mouth. As he kissed her, he reached under her dress. When his fingers reached where they aimed and he began to explore her, she melted in his arms and ravaged him with her own kisses.

“You know we have to get back,” he said.

“Don’t punk out on me, baby. I’m telling you it’s okay.”

“It ain’t okay.”

“We have to finish this,” she said.

“We don’t have to finish anything. We need to get our asses back downstairs and be at the party with Mr. Jim and his family.”

“C’mon,” Alfreda said. “We got a few minutes and no one’s coming up here. Take me into Tommy’s office and do me.”

“I’ll do you, when hell freezes over,” Bill said.

All this while Bill’s hand was exploring up under Alfreda’s dress. For her it was a mission accomplished. Appearing to have given up the fight since she didn’t respond to what he said, she reached under her skirt and helped Bill’s hand do exactly what she wanted it to do. She was well on her way to getting exactly what she came upstairs for so she closed her eyes and kissed Bill again, long, hard and deep.

It was over when Alfreda had had a nice shiver. She started to get down on her knees but Bill stopped her.

“What’s a matter baby? I can do it real fast,” she said, licking her lips with her tongue.

“Not here, not now.”

“Come on, live dangerously.”

“Goddammit,” Bill said. “Not now.”

Again Alfreda did not bother to take up the fight. Somewhere deep inside her, Bill would find out later, she already knew that she had him and that she would have him and that there was nothing poor Bill could do to stop her. He would find this out on the floor of the Suburban van, while Alfreda straddled him and helped herself to more of him than any woman should have been having except for his fiancé. Only by the grace of God—and a lot of things were happening by the grace of God although Bill could not see it at the time—Bill’s fiancé was up in Cleveland celebrating the new year and the school’s vacation break with her parents and friends.

So they went back down to the party room, each of them carrying trays of hors d’oeuvres to set into the steam table. This they did, each of them, efficiently and deftly. Having emptied their trays, they placed them on a bus boy stand in the corner the party room. Bill immediately went over to the bar and took himself a glass half-full with bourbon. Alfreda followed him and because the bar was open and she could have what she wanted to drink, she had Bebe fix her a vodka and tonic.

While they were both at the bar Henry Lee sidled over. “Been upstairs of my wife, huh?” he said to Bill.

Pick up a copy of my published works here: Books by Peter Weiss.

Coming Soon

Bill Wynn: The First Hundred


Revenge is sweet. That’s what Jenny thought. She was intent upon making Peter pay for coming on to her cousin Pam, who happened to be Bill’s girlfriend. Not only did Peter make a pass at Pam, but he did it on the same night of the day Jenny had a coat-hanger abortion and lay bleeding in Pam’s bed. That was the night Pam and Bill were throwing a party which they didn’t cancel because they didn’t know Jenny was having an abortion.

It’s a dish best served cold, is how the saying goes, and Jenny got it that way using Bill to achieve her end some two months later when she was all healed and Peter was just coasting along thinking he wasn’t getting called out for what he’d done. Jenny was near dying and he was busy feeding his male ego. No, Jenny was not letting that slide by.

In her own way, Marie was doing like Jenny had done, except she was having a full-blown affair-like thing with Henry Lee. It wasn’t exclusively with Henry Lee since she had fooled around with Bill too. That, of course, was not quite what Bill had wanted, but surely what Henry Lee had wanted. Any way you sliced it, it was messed up.

Paybacks. Always paybacks. Bill had thought about finding the undercover cop who was in his Paddy wagon, catching him sometime in a dark alley and doing him in. While the thought in itself was serious, the notion that he could actually do it was laughable. Except for one time, he had never hurt anyone and he wasn’t sure he could hurt anyone now. That one time, so long ago, way back when he was all of sixteen, he had lost his head and nearly killed the boy who had started with him. That incident had scared Bill such that he could never, he thought, hurt anyone again.

So Bill didn’t stay too long inside the party room. He said hello to Robert and all the other cooks and to Mr. Jim and his family. He stopped by Mary and told her he would go upstairs to make sure that whatever needed replenishing was done. He said he was gonna take a minute to wash and tray up the potatoes for baking for the dinner and see whatever else he could do ahead to make sure that she wasn’t stuck there late.

Mary had slipped out of her kitchen uniform and was wearing a dress. She had also slipped out of her work shoes and was wearing heels. She had done her makeup and taken a moment to paint her nails. Bill took a moment to enjoy a long look at her. She was gorgeous, he thought, and he could’ve jumped her bones right there if no one else were around. Jesus Christ, he thought.

Alfreda followed him upstairs. Having checked out the buffet and made a mental note of what was needed, Bill thought he had slipped out quietly. Unfortunately, Alfreda had been watching and took the opportunity to follow behind. She told her husband that she had seen Bill heading up the stairs and that she was going up to see what she could do to help him. Henry Lee, drink in one hand, cigarette in the other, didn’t seem to care. He loved Alfreda. He told Bill this all the time and when Bill asked him why he fooled around he said one simple word: pussy. But then turnaround was fair play and Henry Lee had asked him how he, about to be married, could do the things he was doing. Bill had answered with the same word.

“So,” Alfreda said when they were alone in the kitchen, “really, man, when you gonna give me some?”

“When hell freezes over.” Bill said.

Pick up a copy of my published works here: Books by Peter Weiss.

Coming Soon

Bill Wynn: The First Hundred


At the party, Alfreda was downright brazen. Skinny and trim as she was, she wore a mini-mini that was very low cut on the top. She was mini on the top and mini on the bottom.

She came into the party high. Nevertheless, first thing she did was corner Bill and make him take her into the deep freeze to smoke a joint. Once they’d done that, on her own she went into the bourbon drawer and helped herself to a long pull from Bill’s and Henry Lee’s bottle.

“Damn, Alfreda, can’t you wait till you get next door into the party?”

“Why I gotta wait?” she said. “Give me a little kiss, baby.” She stepped close to Bill.

Bill moved back away from her but she cornered him against the counter and kissed him. It was just by the grace of God that Henry Lee did not walk in at that moment and bust the both of them. Not only did she kiss him, but she reached down to help herself to a long, intimate feel of him. At the same time, she grabbed his hand and pushed it up under her mini. Bill fought her, but even as he did so she still reached up and kissed him again.

“Goddammit,” Bill said.

“Goddamn what?” Alfreda asked.

“What the hell is wrong with you?”

“Ain’t nothing wrong with me,” said Alfreda. “What the hell is wrong with you?”

A long moment they stood with their hands on each other, much to Alfreda’s happiness and Bill’s chagrin. But finally he was able to step away from her.

“I don’t need the trouble with your husband,” Bill said.

“Won’t be no trouble,” Alfreda said. “Don’t you like me?”

“I like you fine. That’s not the point.”

“You only live once,” Alfreda said. “What’s good to you is good for you.”

“Maybe we should get into the party,” Bill said. “Sooner or later they’re going to miss us.”

“Wait,” Alfreda insisted. “I gotta know,” she said. “You and Mary have a good time at The Upper Room?”

“Yeah,” Bill said. “We had a good time. Ain’t the first time, and won’t be the last.”

“When you going to take me?” Alfreda asked.

“Never,” Bill said. “I told you, I don’t want a problem with your husband. We work together every day and I ain’t stepping into that.”

“You’ll change your mind,” Alfreda said. She kissed him again, another long kiss, tongue and all, all the while Bill hoping Henry Lee would not step into the meat room. Again, only by the grace of God, they did not get busted. “He ain’t the only one who could fool around,” Alfreda said. “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

Inside the party room, music was blasting from the stereo, Bebe was behind the bar pouring drinks and people were out on the dance floor having a good time. Mr. Jim seemed kind of awed by the whole thing. He stood with his wife, and while not all his kids could be there, several of them were along with several of his grandchildren. Eddie was there. He was hanging out with Henry Lee. Henry Lee was drinking heavily. Even though they still had to work the night, he didn’t care.

Alfreda stepped up into Henry Lee’s arms as if nothing had transpired in the meat room. Bill walked in a moment after her and the first thing he did was check out the buffet to see what needed replenishing. He was convinced it was better for him to work than to hang out at the party where Alfreda seemed intent upon causing trouble.

Once again, and not for the first time, Bill remembered Pam’s cousin Jenny and what she’d done to get even with her boyfriend Peter. Alfreda was on that same path.

Pick up a copy of my published works here: Books by Peter Weiss.

Coming Soon

Bill Wynn: The First Hundred