Chef Mary runs a very tight ship. If we need a bullet of adobo sauce or blue cheese crumbles, she demands we go through her and not the cooks because she likes to keep a mental inventory of everything. She’s very stingy, which makes it impossible for me to Robin Hood food, which is sad because I could use it more than ever right now. Even though I’m working seven days a week, the money isn’t what I was hoping. Thankfully, I’ve been making progress with the cooks and am gaining their trust.
“I’m not Mexican,” Rolando replied with a scowl after I asked him if he was Marco’s brother.
I knew he was going to think I was just another guero who thought all Latinos looked the same, but they had similar lips and eyes and I was willing to run that risk as long as it meant making conversation.
“Then what’s with the Aztec eagle you have tattooed on your neck?” I asked, all in Spanish.
He smiled and told me he was from a small village just north of Mexico City.
Later that night my stomach was growling as I wiped down the soup station. At my old place, we get all the free soup we desire, but not here.
“I’m so hungry,” I said to Marco as I used my fingernail to scratch a dried chunk of soup off the stainless steel.
“How hungry?” he whispered back without looking up from the cutting board.
I looked over my shoulder to see where Chef Mary was. She was sitting at table 14 with her tablet, scrolling Recipes.com, looking for tomorrow’s specials.
“Starving!” I whispered back.
“Gimme a minute,” he said.
Two minutes later he slyly handed me something wrapped in brown paper towels.
”What is it?” I asked.
”Shhh! Just put it in your apron, quickly, and walk to the back,” he said.
I stuffed it in my pocket and hurried out the kitchen. I smiled at Chef Mary as I passed her on my way to the back bar where no one was. When the coast was clear, I ripped open the package and devoured what was inside.
“Ouch,” I said as I bit into a bone. I opened the bread and saw that all he did was put a stinkin’ BBQ chicken wing inside a bun. That’s it. “Dammit Marco,” I said to myself. “You could have warned me.”
I was so hungry that I ate around it and then went back and told Marco that it was the best sandwich I had ever eaten.