Kelly sat patiently, quietly bored, feigning interest.
She could just make out her roommate Sarah, frolicking in the waves right across the road from the restaurant tantalisingly located a stone’s throw from the best beach this side of the city.
After being told one too many times to ‘cheer up!’, she had learned to form her lips into a slight O, so as to alter her natural, apparently glum, expression, into one which said ‘I’m neither miserable nor excited!’.
The uni student prestige of working in an a-la-carte restaurant had quickly worn off; the reality was that being a waitress anywhere, was the bottom of the job-food chain. Memorising and regurgitating the ‘specials’ of the day like a well-trained monkey, delivering the grub-de-jour on precariously balanced, scalding hot plates, keeping the chef suitably arrogant…all the while maintaining a perfectly formed O.
A-la-carte just meant the customers were a higher calibre of awful.
Working at Martin’s on the Sea was a test of endurance. And ever the good student, Kelly approached today’s training session on serving wine as she did an exam; a necessary evil.
A glimmer of hope presented itself in the form of Dave, the new guy sat next to her. Quiet, with a glint of something in his eye; could he be a new ally? A scapegoat at the very least? Someone else for Chef to focus his wrath on.
Dave gave promising affirmations to Kelly’s muttered contempt at being there, unpaid, on a Sunday, and was suitably agreeable at each of her sighs and stifled yawns. Normally passive in speaking out, there was something about Dave that made her feel she should give him the heads up on his new place.
The following day, she entered Martin’s with a sense of calm and looked forward to getting to know her new colleague. Dave had arrived early it seemed and had not yet received his uniform.
“Yes, morning Kelly. Today you’ll be working on tables 1 to 8 and there is a new menu. I don’t want any mistakes and you’ll recite it to myself and Chef until it’s perfect.”