The Kitchen Help

I didn’t even bother to get into bed that first night – I knew I was too excited to sleep, like a child on Christmas Eve. Instead I camped out on the couch with two industrial sized bags of chips, a two litre of pop, and my movie collection. First up was my well-worn copy of Dr. Strangelove; I followed that with The Usual Suspects; and finally came What Women Want, but I just use that one as a sleep aid. I certainly wasn’t awake when Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt finally got together. Don’t be ridiculous.
After my usual breakfast of Lucky Charms and four large cups of the blackest, most evil coffee on the market, I changed my shirt and socks and practically sprinted to my car. Okay, it was more of a speed walk, but you get the idea. I was eager to get my day underway.
Unfortunately I was in such a rush to get to the office, and so wired on sugar and caffeine, that I may have let my foot rest too heavily on the gas pedal. Well, not unfortunate in the sense that I was in an accident, or ran over a baby stroller or something like that. No, more regrettable in that the vehicle which I passed two blocks from my house turned out to be a police car. Oh, the little details you glaze over, first thing in the morning.
“Good morning sir,” the officer drawled stupidly at my window. I half expected him to spit chewing tobacco and tell me about the latest health problems his cows were facing. “Are you aware of just how fast you were going back there?”
“I’m sorry officer,” I replied kindly, “but I’m needed at work to handle a medical emergency.” I flashed him my ID badge and reached for the keys in the ignition.
“Now just hold up a sec there,” he said slowly, chewing on this information like a cow on grass. “Where exactly do you work? And what kind of medical -”
“I work at the Burckhardt Institute,” I informed him, his eyes going wide at the mention of the infamous Loonie Bin. “And I’m sorry, there’s no time to explain… you don’t want innocent blood on your hands, do you?”
There are, I must admit, some perks to working in this place. I’ve always thought that it would be a shame not to make use of them – that would be like not using your massage or chiropractor benefits. Employers only offer that sort of thing to make up for not paying you enough, so you’re only hurting yourself by not using them. Maybe my employee handbook doesn’t specifically list ‘Get out of speeding tickets’ as a benefit, but it’s implied.
Regardless, Officer Bucktooth sent me on my way without further ado and I arrived at work safe, sound, and speeding ticket free about twenty minutes later. I could definitely live closer to work, but I enjoy not being within easy walking distance on those regular occasions that a dangerous inmate escapes. I reached my office without being seen and sat on the edge of my desk to review my plans for the day. Upon seeing the note I had left for myself the previous night, I made a brief call to the nearest locksmith to arrange for him to come by after hours. It wouldn’t do to have too many prying eyes around during that little operation.
After a final review of my notes I hurried to the cafeteria to have a chat with the kitchen manager, Roz Stryker. I often wondered if that blonde-haired, blue-eyed demon with a wooden spoon would have been locked up with the rest of these psychos if any of us had the cojones required to commit her.
“Hey! Fatso! Fingers out of zee dessert tray!”
“I can assure you, Fraulein, that my fingers were nowhere near your delicious blueberry pie.” That damn woman had the eyes of a hawk. “But no matter – I have come to request a favour of you.”
“No more extra gravy on your chicken,” she roared, brandishing her deadly spoon, “gravy does not grow on trees around here!”
“This is not about me,” I said gently, taking a precautionary step back. “It’s for one of my patients. You see, we’re putting him on a diet but we don’t want him to know. He’d never agree to it, you know how it is”
“Diet pop instead of regular? I can do that, but they always know. Always.”
“No, nothing quite so… tactless. You still serve peas with all your meals?” Of course she did. Those bland, neon monstrosities were the bane of many a digestive system. “What I would like is for you to serve one less pea – exactly one, mind you – each meal to Mister Connor Steely. And if he ever asks about this you must deny, vehemently, doing so. Can you do that for me?”
“What is in it for me?” Bloody help these days. Nothing comes for free.
“One packet of dark milk chocolate treats for every week that you do this for me.” Her head bobbed up and down so rapidly I was concerned that it might come right off. “And you must tell no one else, understand? This will be our little secret.”
I returned to my office to record the successful bargaining in my journal and glanced out my window to find that the sky had clouded over and rain was slipping through the trees. I swore, quite loudly, before grabbing my umbrella, sticking a tape recorder in my pocket, and resigning myself to a walk in the damp outdoors. It was time for another chat with Connor.

The End

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