Douglas shot the cuff on his tunic and glanced at his most prized possession and freaked. His brand new, twenty-five karat, Rolez Oyster (the one he bought off Benny the dishwasher) showed 4:39. He was late.
He looked at the chef’s list and the scrawl swam—so much to do and no fucking time. His adrenaline surged and his stomach rolled. Time to resort to emergency measures.
When Mickey, the sauté guy on his right, turned his back, Douglas ‘borrowed’ a cup of flour from his station.
Douglas checked the recipe and to save time he swiped the eggs he needed from the pastry station. He put his glittering timepiece on the shelf above his station and made his batter.
What Douglas didn’t realize was Mickey witnessed his thefts reflected in a sheet pan. Now, anyone who can make a positive ID from a reflection in tarnished aluminum is a person with a sharp eye—and in this case a subtle and vindictive mind.
Douglas finished his batter, washed up, and hurried downstairs. He was concerned that he hadn’t tested the batter. There just wasn’t time. He would have to risk it. In the walk-in fridge he rummaged for a bucket of de-veined jumbo prawns—the last ingredient he needed to prepare the Deluxe Deep Fried Seafood Combination Platter he was responsible for that night.
Back upstairs, he slopped the plastic bucket of prawns on the counter and looked up to the shelf to check the time. His pride and joy was nowhere to be seen. He searched the counters and the floor—nothing. Close to panic, he was on his knees rooting around in the reach-in fridge when he heard the slap of a plate hitting the counter above him—followed by a snicker.
Douglas crawled out of the small refrigerator and rose. The first plate of the night steamed on the counter. Mickey had done him a favor. He had tested the batter for him. His deep fried Rolez oyster was a crispy, golden brown. It was centered on the plate and garnished with a slice of lemon and a sprig of parsley. Douglas thought the presentation left something to be desired, but he was relieved. Even though he didn’t know what time it was, he was sure the batter was going to hold just fine.