Friday, 22 January 2016
The Last Portion
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Big Frankie Shepherd sat up at the bar like he owned the place. Which to be fair, he did. His grey hair circled his bald crown and his face had the expression of a man whose moustache had been dipped in shit.
“Frankie,” I nodded as I made my way to the toilet.
“Pipsqueak,” he replied, He’d called me that since the day I’d started working for him. The problem with men like Frankie is that they dish out respect based on muscles and reputation not on the work people do. I may have been small in stature but when I arrived at this place it had been a two-bit boozer with a dodgy food hygiene rating. It was me that turned it in to the award winning gastropub that it is today. The thing is, I did it quietly, unassumingly; I went under the radar. Big Frankie took the credit of course; it had been his vision but it had been my hard work.
As I was having a slash, I made my decision. I’d been thinking it over but it was time to do it.
“Frankie, I’ve been thinking,” I said.
“Careful now pipsqueak; too much thinking can be dangerous.”
I smiled a smile so insincere I could have been a Tory politician.
“I’m handing in my notice.” I said. “I’ll do two months but then I am moving on. I quit.”
Frankie stood up and towered over me. He grabbed me by the collar and lifted me clean off the floor.
“You listen to me,” he boomed. “No one leaves my employment unless I say so. Do you understand me?”
I nodded. I had little choice. Once I’d regained contact with the floor, I scuttled into the safety of the kitchen and back to my pots and pans.
A couple of weeks later, I walked into the bar to find Frankie not at his usual spot.
“Where’s Frankie?” I asked.
“He’s not well,” Carol the cleaner said.
“What?” I said.
“I know, I’ve worked here for thirty years and I’ve never seen Frankie ill.”
“It’s true, the man’s made of teak,” said Yvonne the barmaid. “Must be something really bad.”
“Apparently he’s been throwing up all night.” Carol said enjoying the chance to gossip.
“Shocking,” I said, and made my way into the kitchen, leaving the women to speculate on what might have caused the boss’s gastric problems.
They could make their random guesses, but I didn’t have to speculate. Because I knew what I’d put in Frankie Shepherd’s Pie.