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Saturday, June 13, 2015

COOKING UP TROUBLE: Excerpt #4

Audrey picked up the tray of fresh apple fritters to take up front to the counter. She was almost an hour behind schedule, thanks to dozens of small disasters. The evening crew had emptied the twenty-pound canister of flour, and didn't bother refilling it. There was only one egg in the dozen-and-a-half carton, so she had to get more. The evening crew borrowed from her shelf of ingredients in the walk-in cooler and didn't replenish anything, so the cream cheese and butter was frozen instead of soft and ready for use. Jorge didn't feel like cleaning the pans and tools he regularly used, so he borrowed hers, so she didn't have anything when she needed it and had to stop constantly to rinse or scrub something. On and on.

Not that she would complain to Jorge. He had been too quiet from the moment he walked in the door. Every time she turned around, he was watching her. Then he took a phone call and in the middle of it started cursing in Spanish and slammed out the back door -- which didn't want to close, so the kitchen got filled with gusts of icy, snow-laden air. That wasn't good for the half-raised yeast donuts. Jorge hadn't come back for twenty minutes, and the meat he had been browning started to burn, so the fire alarm went off.

It was never good to have a fire alarm go off in a restaurant kitchen. Simon had come barreling into the kitchen, snarling in stage whispers. And of course it was Audrey's fault that Jorge's meat had burned, even though she had her hands full with her own tasks.


When Jorge finally came back into the kitchen, he muttered under his breath and slammed lids and cleavers and pots all over. Whatever his gripe, it was poisonous enough to scare Simon. He had stopped with a squeak in the middle of a scolding encompassing every kitchen sin Jorge had committed in the last five months, and stormed out. After that, Audrey had felt that prickling up her back that meant Jorge stared at her with particular malevolence. She didn't look at him. That might be all the excuse he needed to spew whatever was bothering him.

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