The new waitress was a petite little thing, pretty and sweet looking, natural hair colour; not the sort of person Mario usually employed. I wondered how long she would last. Some of the customers who risked Mario’s cooking could cut up pretty rough and if they were to survive, the waiting staff needed to able to stand up to them without causing too much offence. And Mario would never, never, side with his staff, right or wrong; always with the customer, always right. That, he once explained to me, is how he’s managed to stay in the business for over twenty two years.
It wasn’t long before she cracked. Some creep said something to which she took umbrage and she near split his skull open with a wooden tray. I heard the impact way back in the depths of the kitchen above the hiss of steam, running taps, and the bang, bang, banging of pots and pans. As did Mario.
He took away her pencil, her order pad, and her apron and showed her his door. No pay for time served; just a stream of vitriol.
That night a fire destroyed Mario’s life work. The police suspect arson.