Crimes A ’la Almondine

Crimes A ’la Almondine

(c) 2016 By Randy D Pearson

“Gather around,” summoned Head Chef Marcel. “Today’s specials are Beef Wellington and Trout Almondine. Now get out there and make me proud.”

As the assistant cooks and waitstaff dispersed, Marcel said to Joe, “Hey, hold up a minute,” pulling him aside. “I thought you should know your parole officer stopped by earlier. We had a nice chat.”

Joe’s face went pale. “Oh God! I’m so sorry sir! I shouldda told you ‘bout my prison time. But I really needed this job. Please don’t fire me!”

Letting loose a sharp chuckle, Marcel replied, “It’s okay! We’re not firing you. He was just checking up on you, making sure you’re coming to work and doing a good job. I said all sorts of nice things about you. Besides, we knew where you spent the last four years. Did you seriously think we didn’t know about your record?”

Joe lowered his head as he spoke. “I didn’t say nothing at the interview.”

“While it’s true you should’ve confided in me, it’s really not a problem. We run background checks on everyone before we hire them. Do you want to know something? You’re not even the worst offender here.”

Joe’s eyes shot open. “Whatdya mean?”

Turning his head, Marcel yelled, “Hey Van, come over here a minute.” When the tall, skinny dishwasher approached, Marcel added, “Show Joe your ankle-bracelet.”

Van reached down and lifted his right pant leg to uncover an electronic tether. “This bit of jewelry is whatcha get for robbing a bank with a banana and a wad of Silly Putty with wires sticking outta it.”

Patting Van on the shoulder, Marcel said, “Love it! You gotta tell Joe the whole story after work. It’s a riot!” Then as a short, heavy-set waitress came bounding in, Marcel said, “Hey Margaret, what was your crime again?”

She paused for a moment before replying, “Passion. Ya don’t mess with my man!”

Marcel whispered, “Flambé – it’s what’s for dessert.”

Once she left, Marcel said, “See, it’s fine. The owner likes to hire people who can’t get jobs elsewhere. We all have records here.”

Pointing, Joe said, “What, even you?”

“Yup. I killed a man. They stuck me in the kitchen to teach me a trade. Turned out I liked cooking, and now I’m the head chef. Check this out.” Reaching into his pocket, Marcel removed a tarnished spoon, with the handle filed to a point. “I keep this shiv as a reminder of my wicked past.” Marcel patted Joe on the shoulder and added, “Now get those mushrooms cut.”

“Okay,” Joe said, “but can I use a knife instead? That shiv doesn’t look sharp enough.”