One Reply to “5.26.2015 Journal Prompt”

  1. I worked for this guy once and he was a right ball-breaker. He got all worked up ‘bout the smallest things. He kept saying he was a perfectionist and everything had to be just so. He was the head chef at this restaurant downtown and he took me on cos he liked the look of me and he said I had clean hands which was important. He said he’d show me what was what and he said he could mold me into something.

    I thought maybe he was gay – at first I did, what with all he said ‘bout my hands being clean as a girl’s and him wanting to make me his special project. But the money was good so I said that’d be real dandy – Jesus, I was even talking gay myself, just to fit in.

    He said I’d start at the bottom and work my way up. Dishes I had to stack to begin with and he showed me how the dishwasher worked and he said when I was taking the plates out again I had to check ‘em for even the smallest blemish and if they wasn’t clean as brand new I was to scrape off the caked egg or the dried sauce and put ‘em back in the machine.

    He got me chopping vegetable soon enough and they had to be done in fancy shapes and they had to be precise, you know. Cut to just the right thickness so when he cooked ‘em they cooked right – not too soft and not too hard. I called him Momma Bear after that, but only behind his back.

    It was around then that he first shouted at me, like he shouted at all the others. His hands was waving in the air like he was brandishing sharpened knives or cleavers and his face was all puffed and his eyes narrowed to sharp and he was yelling so hard I could see a vein pulsing blue on his forehead.

    He shouted at me a lot after that. Shouted at me when I’d cut too many carrots or cut too few. Or if the onions was not chopped fine enough, or the parsley too fine. It got so as I thought he’d never be happy, or so as I got to reckoning he was only actually happy when he was shouting, like he somehow got off on it. I said to him one day, right at the end of a bollocking, how somebody ought to blow him right there and then and that’d maybe calm him down, and if it had to be me then I said I’d do it.

    He looked at me funny and like I’d just said something indecent against his mom.

    Made no difference, though. He just kept on shouting. And we all just took it, like it was the most normal thing in the world, like it was what we’d signed up for. They started saying that the more he shouted at you, the more special you was to him – which sounded like bullshit but which was probably right.

    But then it got so bad for me that one day I’d had it with him, so I told him that he could just stick his job up his gay little arse and I left.

    That was years back now. I heard today that he died, dressed all in his kitchen whites and shouting himself blue ‘bout the mayonnaise being curdled or the oil being too hot or the butter too cold; his heart just gave out they said.

    It was a bit of a shock when I heard that and I shook my head and stared into my drink and I thought again ‘bout him saying my hands was clean and pretty and how he could make me into something. And the thing is, I reckon he coulda, cos I was willing to learn from him – but I wasn’t going to be shouted at for every small thing I done wrong, not shouted at so as my ears was ringing and the hairs on my arms was all stood on end and my mouth was dry as a donkey’s arsehole.

    Still, I felt sorta sorry for him, hearing about him dieing like that, and I was a little sad inside and I lifted my glass to him and drank to his memory – it was the least that i could do.

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