“We have enough to make it through today?”

Story 13

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Chef arrived late. Our produce guy waited in the kitchen. His hands squeezing the hand truck’s handles.

“What the hell happened?”

Chef pulled off his jacket and you thought the two would square off.

“What are you talking about?” Chef asked.

“You’re late. You’re never late.”

Chef rubbed his hands together.

“We waited an hour for a test,” Chef said.

The produce guy squinted.

“Didn’t the governor say something about 700 testing sites?”

Chef took the packing slip from the produce guy. He scanned the four boxes on the hand truck.

“Andrew from Queens says a lot about a lot of things.”

The produce guy shrugged his shoulders.

“You sick?”

Chef told us to put away the delivery.

“My girlfriend,” Chef said.

The produce guy put the delivery ticket in his back pocket. He turned his hand truck and was leaving but stopped.

“It’s getting bad. Isn’t it?”

Just then the day manager entered the kitchen. He carried a cup of coffee.

“We worried about you,” the manager said to Chef.

Chef walked to the coffee machine. He took a cup from beneath the counter.

“This is crazy,” Chef said filling his cup with coffee. “Nobody’s riding the subway. The death count gets higher and higher.”

Chef’s voice trailed off.

The manager finished what remained in his coffee cup.

“Twenty-six New Yorkers are now dead. Every time I hear sirens it drives me nuts.”

Chef walked over to the ranges. He turned on the ovens then rubbed his hands together.

“What do we have going on today?”

The manager pulled his iPhone out of his pocket. He scrolled messages.

“We’ve got a problem,” said the manager.

Chef scratched his chin. He stared at the manager without saying anything.

“Our guy can’t find food conatiners.”

Chef cracked the knuckles on his left hand.

“What are you talking about?”

The manager rolled his eyes.

“Everybody is looking for food containers. There’s not enough to go around.”

Chef set a pot of water on the stove.

“We have enough to make it through today?”

Suddenly the manager’s phone vibrated. He took the call turning his back on Chef. Once finished he faced Chef.

“That was our supplier.”

“What’d he say?”

“He’s doing his best,” said the manager.

Chef left after seven that night. His girlfriend’s test came back positive. Chef told us to shut it down once we ran out of food containers.

Lucky for us-if you can call it luck, we made it through service without having to shut it down. Only later did we start wondering if we needed to get tested, too.


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