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

Story 2- Sunday, March 8, 2020

Floyd Cordoz was not in a good mood. One of his line cooks was a no show. The cook complained about having trouble breathing, which may or may not have been true. The fact is Cordoz was struggling while working two stations. He got home last night at four thirty after having spent two hundred dollars at a bar in Long Island City buying drinks for people whose names he can’t remember now. Nevertheless, Cordoz had one eye on the deep fryer as he turned two lamb chops in a pan and sprinkled both with chopped rosemary.

“Did you hear the mayor today?”

Cordoz kept his eyes on the lamb chops and fryer, never bothering to look at who was talking.

“Floyd,baby,” the salad chef said. “I am talking to you. Why are you ignoring me?”

Cordoz turned his head and looked at Rosie Gonzalez. The two dated weeks ago and it was going well until some cook showed Cordoz Rosie’s profile on Tinder. Since then they never spoke except if Floyd needed Rosie to plate salads or set up desserts.

“No,” Cordoz said turning the lamb chops in the pan. “Why don’t you educate me on what I don’t know.”

Rosie stamped her foot on the floor just as two waiters entered the kitchen. Both wore white shirts and black ties. Each carried menus in their hands. Cordoz looked up at the clock above the door leading into the dining room. It was ten minutes to eight and he knew the rush would begin soon. The waiters knew they didn’t have to say anything to Cordoz. Instead they walked over to Rosie and said something funny which made her laugh.

“Well, at least our chef listens to what you say. He doesn’t listen to me anymore,” Rosie said loud enough for everyone in the kitchen to hear.

Cordoz picked up his chef knife and ran its edge against his kitchen steel.

“You were asking me if I heard what the mayor said, right? You know I don’t pay attention to anything that comes out of City Hall. It’s all B.S. anyway.”

It was three minutes to eight. The two lamb chops rested on Cordoz’s workstation. The fryer baskets were empty. A stillness lingered in the kitchen, which is what happens right before the rush.

“You got two minutes to tell me what is so important before we start cranking out orders.”

Rosie reached for two lemons and started cutting the fruits into wedges.

“de Blasio said the city could be hit with a 100 cases of coronavirus patients within the next two to three weeks.”

Rosie kept her head down and eyes on the lemons. Cordoz shrugged his shoulders, which is exactly when Sunday’s rush started. For the next thirty minutes, Cordoz shouted out orders and plated dishes wishing no bad will on the no-show cook.

Remler.Robert@gmail.com

https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations

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