This was written on short notice for Esoterotica’s NSFW-themed show, so it went a little…base, let’s say…with its humor. But I never liked cream sauces anyway.
Nocturnal Admissions: You Can’t Fire Me, I Hit It & Quit It
By Zach Bartlett
I would have known that Warren was a chef, even if most of his stories didn’t involve coke at some point, because he always wore those houndstooth-patterned pants. He scheduled his appointments right after his shifts so that he’d be sure to have a good hour of coked-up lucidity before he had to pass out for the morning. Mostly we deal with his job-related stress, but last night was the first time we dealt with some relationship trouble.
“I need to find a new gig, that’s what’s pissing me off,” he began.
“I thought things were going well? You work with your dealer.”
“I also work with the woman I’m fuckin’ and she happens to be my manager. I can’t keep up with her, though, so I’m gonna have to call that off, then I’m assuming she’s going to take it poorly and fire me.”
“That’s a little arrogant. Have you considered that it’s just a fling for her, too?”
“Oh, it probably is. But either way, the dishwasher is her dealer too.”
“If she flips it’s because she’s gonna be riding a snoot full of giddy-up powder on the clock, she’s like one of those 1980s Wall Street guys. She’s got a wicked temper and always wears low-cut shirts, so some of the line cooks started calling her Spice Rack. And I’m telling you, I can’t keep up with her.”
“What do you mean by can’t keep up?”
“What kind of restaurant has a bed in it?”
“On her desk, then. And on a pile of tablecloths. And the prep counters. Bar. Bar stools. Dessert station. One time on a stack of those square plastic racks we use in the industrial dishwasher and those left the weirdest marks…”
I raised a curious eyebrow. “So you’re actually having too much sex for your preferences?”
“It’s not really the quantity that’s bothering me, it’s that she sometimes wants it when we’re on the clock, and I don’t exactly have a lot of downtime during a shift — it’s throwing me off my game. I was starting to carve radish roses for a ticket that the waitress wrote ‘STACY HEADS TABLE comma DO NOT FUCK THIS UP’ on. Right then Spice Rack walked through the kitchen, leaned over my shoulder and said ‘walk-in freezer, two minutes.’ So, boss’s orders, I had be there standing at attention in a 30-degree room with dead fish staring at me. Doesn’t matter if it’s Tulane graduation weekend and the place is slammed, she’ll need to-”
“Iiii can see where you’re taking that. If she’s using her position as manager to coerce you into sexual situations-”
“That isn’t one of the positions we’ve done when she’s ‘coerced’ me.”
“Well, regardless, it’s unprofessional behavior and it definitely sounds like it’s inhibiting your work performance.”
“Between you and me, it’s also inhibiting the health rating of the entire restaurant. I think that’s actually part of what gets her so hot. The first time we hooked up was when she caught me rubbing a tortilla on the floor and using it to make a burrito for one of the guys from Booty’s Street Food that came in. Then she specifically forbid me from wiping our sweat off the pastry station after we’d finished christening it one night. And that time we did it in the walk-in? As soon as I came she pulled the condom right off of me and slingshotted it into a pot of leftover bechamel. I didn’t even have time to skim it out before I needed to go back and make Stacy’s fancy-ass salad; woman turned my baby gravy into a mother sauce!”
A was immediately glad that I’d never eaten at the restaurant he currently works at, and glad that he’d never tried paying me in gift cards. Once the disgust settled, though, I realized he actually seemed excited as he recounted these incidents, rather than anxious. I began to wonder if I was just the most immediate person he was able to brag to. Regardless, I felt I should help wrap up what little problem he was presenting.
“I take it you don’t have a problem with the actual sex that’s happening?” I said.
“You’re seriously asking that.”
“So you’re mainly worried that you’ll get fired for mistakes that your boss is either encouraging you to make, or making on your behalf?”
“You’ve worked in kitchens for a while. You must have connections that’d be able to get you a job on short notice if this falls through.”
“Yeah, finding another gig’s no problem.”
“Then I’d say don’t worry about it. People make mistakes in the kitchen, and you not only have a manager that understands but, under certain conditions, rewards you. I actually think you should just go along with things while they last and maybe ease up a little on the blow to stop getting panicky about it.”
“You’re right,” he said, “next time Stacy Head comes in I’m going to carve some straight-up George O’Keefe radish flowers for her salad. A councilwoman pitching a fit in the restaurant would definitely get my woman’s motor going.”
“At the very worst,” I said, “you’ll be going out with a bang.”