86’d–A Collection of Short Stories In the Time of No Indoor Dining. By Robert Remler

Story 1- Saturday, March 7,2020

Peter Logo sauteed carrots in a pan. He shook the pan until the ouside of the carrots turned brown. Then he removed the carrots with a slotted spoon and placed them on a sizzling platter.

“I don’t know if I am coming to work tomorrow,” said Logo reaching for his salt mix.

He reached for his tongs and lifted the carrots off the sizzling plates. The grill chef slid a plate with a T-Bone steak in front of Logo.

“Lisa’s got the chills. She’s not a complainer, but she complained all night.”

Logo arranged the carrots on the plate then placed five roasted potatoes on the dish. He lifted the plate off his workstation and slid it beneath the heat lamp.

“Pick up. Table twelve,” said Logo.

The waitress entered the kitchen. Allison started six weeks ago and was a fast learner. She picked up the plate and gave Logo a look meaning she was going top start punching in more orders. Logo leaned back against the range. He wiped sweat off his forehead with the back of his hand. Then he touched his kitchen towel.

“I hope Lisa doesn’t have…”

Logo went silent. He looked at the line cooks standing less than three feet from him.

“Covid-19,” his grill cook said. “That’s what they are calliung it if you believe what they say.”

Just then the floor manager came into the kitchen. The color goine from his face. Logo came out fr5om behind the line and approached the floor manager.

“You okay?” Logo asked. “You ain’t looking good. You want water or something?”

The manager shook his head and inhaled.

The governor just declared a state of emergency.”

Logo scratched his chest and exhaled so loud that the manager asked if anything was wrong with him.

“Cuomo said that?”

The manager nodded his head.

“I’m not surprised,” Logo said. “Lisa’s been telling me she hasn’t been feeling well and she never complains about anything.”

“She still works at that nursing home?”

Logo nodded his head. “She’s been at the same nursing home for six years. Everyone there loves her.”

For a moment the kitchen went quiet then everyone started talking at once. Logo realized nobody was listening to anyone, so he walked back behind the line. He was there less than a minute when the dupe machine spit out orders. Ten four tops ordered at the same time. Logo separated the orders and was laying them on the board when Allison entered the kitchen.

“It’s getting crazy,” she said. “I don’t know what is happening. Somebody started a rumor the governor is shutting down restaurants at midnight, so maybe that explains what’s going on.”

The waitress looked at the floor manager, who realized his hands were still shaking. “You think you can help me bus tables. Julia called in sick today and I’m alone on the floor.”

The manager ignored his shaking hands and went out into the dining room.

Logo shouted to his cooks he was about to run the board and told them to to listen up. Fifteen minutes later, the rush ended, and he wondered what to do about Lisa. Logo hadn’t taken a sick day in years, but this was the first time Lisa complained about not feeling well.


One comment

  1. Pamela Goldman · January 2, 2021

    I felt the angst in the kitchen and the feelings of those days last March come flooding back. An ode to our restaurant workers!!! Well done!


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