On Thursday night the head chef’s girlfriend comes into the restaurant to have a meal. She’s got a wheely suitcase with her – come straight from the Eurostar, apparently; they all know she’s studying at the Sorbonne. The head chef hurriedly combs his hair back from his forehead, wipes greasy hands down his apron.
Do me a favour, he says. Don’t tell Millie what I’m like when I’m here. All the… you know.
She narrows her eyes but nods her assent, folds her arms. Sure, she says.
Top girl. He gives her a wink as he moves past. She lingers in the kitchen, recalling how he’d pulled her onto his lap at the Christmas party and licked her neck. Fuck’s sake, someone says. Stop being a dozy bitch and take that burger to table eight.
Stepping out onto the restaurant floor, she can hear his laughter and performative kissy noises, Millie’s high pitched giggle. It jars with the memory of his breath in her ear, her own quiet sigh of contentment. Do me a favour.
She delivers the burger and asks the couple on table eight if there’s anything else she can do for them, to which the man says No, sweetie, but we’ll let you know. She’s so cute! the woman mouths at him.
Service is over now. She returns to the dark of the now-deserted kitchen and waits, just in case. She splays her palm over the cool metal surface of the counter. Do me a favour.
She wishes she hadn’t.
Katie Oliver writes flash fiction, poetry and short stories. She has been shortlisted in the Bridport Prize and the Bath Flash Award, and was awarded an honourable mention in the Reflex Fiction Winter Competition. She has further work published by Dust Poetry, Funny Pearls and Popshot Quarterly. She can be found on Twitter under @katie_rose_o