Day 95 of 100 Word Prompts: Zebra
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” James asked, bringing my eyes back to focus on him.
James had been scolding me for the last twenty-five minutes on how I had fucked up my job, and how stupid I was because of it. Being a new job, and not wanting to lose it in the first few weeks, I kept my mouth shut and went to my happy place in my head, but now, we’re back. Sorry for the tangent.
“Where did the common sense go on this?” James continued, pointing to the plate of food on the counter. “This wasn’t a complex task, Titus. Why didn’t you say something?”
“I told you that the scallops were small,” I muttered.
“Excuse me?” James said, taking a step toward me.
“I told you they were small,” I repeated, lifting my face to look squarely at him. “I can only say it so many different ways.”
“Well, why did you only put five on the plate then?” James continued.
“Because when I told you they were small, you said ‘five per plate, no buts’ and kicked me out of your office,” I said.
“You didn’t say they were half the size of the normal scallops,” James pressed.
“I said, this is wrong, five per plate wouldn’t work. You told me no one would notice,” I said, feeling my cheeks growing hot.
“If I told you to go get me a zebra, would you do it?” James asked.
“If you told me where to find it, and if it was possible, yes, Chef,” I replied.
“You’re a fucking idiot. You know that?” James said, pinching his nose as he shook his head.
“I’m a yes man, Chef. I told you that when you hired me. I told you that I would always do whatever I could for the business,” I said, feeling my temper slipping.
“Shut up, Titus,” James said, looking through the window to the Hugo, the GM. “Refund their bill and give them a bottle of wine. One of the cheap ones, though.”
“Yes, Chef,” Hugo said with a nod as he glared at me and walked out of the kitchen.
My hands were shaking as his attention returned to me. His eyes told the entire opinion he had of me. I was useless, unintelligent, and a waste of space on the line. I could see it as he shook his head and turned away from me.
“Get back to work,” James muttered as he stepped off the line.
My tempter boiled over then. I couldn’t stop it. I grabbed a chef knife and slammed it through the cutting board on the line, right into the reach-in beneath it.
“You’re the fucking idiot!” I bellowed, pointing at the Chef as he turned to look at me with wide eyes. “I told you no less than eight fucking times that the scallops were too small. EIGHT! I told you every way that I could, and you threatened to fire me if you saw more than five on a plate when you walked by. What the fuck was I supposed to do, Chef? What, in all your grace and wisdom of the ages, should a fucking line cook do when the Chef won’t listen and threatens to fire you?”
“Maybe use your fucking brain?” James shot back, slamming his hand on the table between us. “Get the fuck out of my kitchen.”
“With fucking pleasure, you fucking self-righteous asshole! You’re the one that orders the fucking product! You’re the one that receives it! You’re the one responsible for it every step of the fucking way until it hits my station, and somehow it’s my fault that they were too small and a customer got pissed,” I boomed as I stomped through the kitchen, ripping my apron off. “I hope you fucking fail in every way, you piece of shit! I hope that you go bankrupt and lose it all. No one as self-important as you deserve anything like this!”
“Out!” James yelled, pointing for the back door.
“You know what the biggest difference is between you and me, Chef? I actually give a shit about something other than my own ego. I care about the food, and the customer more than my own fucking health. I push myself every day to learn and grow and get better for them!” I yelled, pointing toward the door to the dining room. “You just walk around here talking down to every fucking cook that you under pay making excuses as to why your fuck ups are actually theirs. These guys actually know what their doing, do you realize that? You make all kinds of money off them and this business and gain in fame because of the food, but you do none of it! You didn’t even fucking train them! They came in here with these skills!”
James stormed through the kitchen, picking up a mixing bowl on his way. He stopped halfway across the kitchen and hurled the bowl at me, which quickly caught the air and spun away.
“You are worthless!” I yelled as I turned away from him and kicked the push bar on the back door. “You’re a fucking hack at best!”
The door slammed behind me as I stopped walking, a smile spread across my face as I looked over at Ashley smoking on one of the milk crates.
“You’re fucking crazy,” she said, shaking her head. “I can’t believe you just did that to Chef.”
“I meant every word of it,” I said, my heart still pounding in my ears. “He is a fucking hack. He deserves to go under.”
“What about the rest of us?” she asked.
“Everyone has to eat. You and I both know that. Everyone in this building could have a better job tomorrow,” I said, pointing toward the door. “This whole place is bull shit. I’ve heard Freddie and Jim say it. Grace quit last week and said as much to Steph, who followed her lead a day later. This place is already on fire and sinking. It’s best for everyone if you jump ship now and get one of the good jobs left.”
“I’ll think about it, psycho,” Ashley replied, dropping her cigarette and stepping on it. “I’ve got to get back in, but don’t forget me, okay? Call me tomorrow, and maybe we can do some lunch.”