Professional Discourse

This week I am once again participating in Chuck Wendig’s flash fiction challenge. This time he has asked for us to write as profanely as possible. Well that’s not exactly what he asked for but that’s what he’s getting from me. Sufficed to say some people may wish to read something else.

This has really turned out to be one long, drawn out, certified, cluster fuck, he thought looking down the rail. The line had really piled up early and nearly steamrolled right over them. There still a few sheets hanging.  One more push and the nightmare wood be over.

He drew a deep breath.

“Alright I’m ready for two scallops, a chicken gorg, filet med rare, and a salmon grilled.” dropping pastas on plates he half turned towards the grill, “I need a lamb medium and four veggies on, fire the skewers for table eight in two minutes.”

Plates in the window, call for servers, right. “David! table two is up, I see you, come get your food. God damn it,” he screamed as the waiter ducked around the corner, “fucking runner!”

The pasty acne ridden face of the new busser came scurrying into view. “Runner, where’s it going?”

“Table two.”

“Where’s that?”

“Oh for fuck sake! Just don’t touch it. Go find me someone who knows a god damned thing!” The kid slunk away. He looked down the line again. “Where’s the fucking steak for this table?”

“One more minute!”

“Don’t lie to me asshole, I’ve already had enough of that shit today. Why the fuck aren’t those skewers on yet., I’ll take those veggies! Dave or a runner!”

“Runner, table two.” Mike called, as he came through the saloon-style doors into the kitchen.

“Well wonders never fucking cease. I need this, this and this to table two. You can handle that? I need that med rare to sell two!”

“Still coming!”

“Coming? It’s not even breathing hard yet cocksucker! How fucking long?”

“Thirty seconds!”

“Will you stop jerking off down there! That’s med-fucking-rare ass bag! Thirty more seconds and its gonna be a fucking briquette. Where’s the damned sauce for this salmon?” He hears the metallic rattle as the saute cook hastily grabbed at the pan rack.”Oh Jesus H. Christ dipshit, are you shitting me we talked about this! Remember ten minutes ago when I fucking told your dumb ass directly that we needed more sauce. I’ll take those damned veggies over! I need that lamb in three, that’s minutes not hours fucker! I don’t suppose there’s a remote possibility that I’ll see that med rare filet sometime to-fucking-day!”

“Here it is!”

“Miracle of goddamned miracles! David, there you are! This is for two, everything else is gone, the steak goes to person looking around wondering where the fuck their food is! What the fuck are we burning now?”

“Mussels.”

“You mean the appetizer for table eight? Well that’s just shittacular. Anyone else want just go ahead and take a big, steaming deuce all over my day? Pull those skewers off, slow down a stuffed chicken and a cod!”

He reached under the station for the glass of water and brought it to his lips. Fucking empty, figures. He put it back underneath and took a deep breath.

“I don’t suppose it would be possible for us to get our shit together and make a small collective effort to prevent any of those poor bastards in the dining room from dying of fucking malnutrition. Alright, let’s go on six. That’s one lamb, one grouper and an alfredo with shrimp.”

“Lambs up”

“Fantastic lets put it up.” A mass of blonde hair stood impatiently on the other side of the pass. “Kelly you’re going to have to go appease table eight. We had to refire their apps.”

“Jesus they’re already pissed about how long it’s taking. What the fuck am I supposed to tell them?”

He reached behind him and  grabbed the pan of cremated mollusks with towel “Tell them that some mealy-mouthed streak of piss burned the shit out of they’re food,” he slammed the pan onto the pass, “or maybe just show them your tits. Try playing it by ear.”

“Fucking asshole!”

“Get back here in four minutes, for your fucking apps!” he called to Kathy as she stormed out into the dining room.

“Chef please!” David came wheeling around a corner with a plate. He set it down in the pass.

“David, so nice to see you. Why the fuck is that steak back in my window?”

“I need a recook. They wanted this medium rare.”

“Well, seeing as how I don’t have a broiler on this end of the line, maybe you should take this overcooked hunk of dog shit down there to the dickhead who’s got one.” He turned towards the beleaguered cook. “Did you get that fuckface? Fire me a god damned filet, med rare this time!”

The broiler man muttered something under his breath that he couldn’t quite hear, but knew that the word fuck was involved. It was always involved this late on a Friday.

“Also,” David began, “lady at six wants to know what all’s in the bouillabaisse.”

“Devirginized giraffe twat and sunshine! Seriously? How fucking long have you worked here? You should be able to answer that yourself, get the fuck out of my face!. ” Deep breath. “All right let’s get these apps in the window for eight!. Roll on the entrees I want this table fed and out of here ASAP. Hey fuckwad, I want that filet med rare in four minutes got it.”

The remainder of the rush washed over him in a fog of clattering plates and profanity. It was nights like this that he felt more like a short-order cook in some god-forsaken hash house than a sous chef at one of the best restaurants in town. Though I guess there wasn’t really that much difference from a certain point of view.

Besides, he thought, it was still a pretty small town.

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Later, he stood, smoking in the back alley trying to shake off the job. He listened to the rest of  the staff laughing over a few beers. The job, and all the heat, stress, and verbal abuse that went with it seemed to be forgotten in the cool evening air.

He automatically reached into his pocket to answer the phone that started vibrating just about on schedule.

“Hey. No. I’m probably going to be late. Yeah, nothing major but I got a couple of drinks to buy. No, everyone did a great job tonight, things went really smooth. Pretty sure I found my new broiler guy though. Love you too, see you in the morning.”

He hung up the phone, and took a long pull off his beer and walked off towards his crew. Still a firm believer that if you couldn’t scream expletives at your coworkers, you probably have a bullshit job.

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2 thoughts on “Professional Discourse

  1. Having known a few cooks, I’m quite enchanted with this. I never worked in a professional kitchen — I likely would’ve died, or committed murder, myself. 😀 Nicely done. And definitely illustrating why swearing is a perfectly acceptable method of communication.

    • This is definitely an exaggeration of what gets said in the culinary world but perhaps just a slight one. I wasn’t particularly happy with this one but felt compelled to press on and post it for some reason.

      Words are words, it’s people who are offensive.

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