the continuing adventures of J T Hilltop’s Potsink Diary
From pots and pans to rakes and snakes I took to landscaping fairly well. Sun burnt arms instead of grease burnt arms, just as hot as a kitchen, and about as physically as taxing yet still I missed cooking. It‘s been three months since the restaurant closed and fate stuck its fickle finger in my life interrupted my path to culinary enlightenment. Leaving me to care for the property of a nursing home and placing me every day at lunch just outside of the kitchen where the sounds of culinary exploits pounded out a rhythm of longing. It stirred inside of me making me miss working in a kitchen with all my soul. Aware of that fate wasn’t done tossing curve balls at my life because on one Monday I learned just what a practical joker fate can really be. Apparently destiny is equipped with a bag full of tricks containing an abyss of irony and has a knack for playing emotional table tennis with me. Like a ping pong ball I got paddled back and forth hard forcing me out of the restaurant across the net to a field of hard labor, then smashed back into another kitchen. Fred had driven me to Mimi Dee’s early in the morning to manicure the lawn while he ran about town “performing” some chores. Popular belief growing on the rumor vine claimed those chores he performed were for one of the nurses at the Huntersville location. Whatev, not my business and besides it was fine by me as it left me alone to work the property at my own pace.
Left to my resources, my new tools of the trade, and a cheap lawnmower I set out to give the yard a neat trimming and edging. A mani-pedi for the acreages of land. An hour and a half into my solo performance was the moment fate chose to sneak an ominous looking dark cumulo nimbus cloud slithering across the horizon setting up cloud camp above my head. One loud crack of sneering thunder and a few seconds later I was the focus of a drenching downpour. Not a dipping of the toe in the pool, but one soaked to the bone bucket full of rainwater followed by another. The skies blushed dark crimson as if foretelling the twisted new path fate had in store. Having become somewhat intimate with fates and destinies I had to assume that this new path would be lined with irony. “Jesus Christ this shit’s really coming down. Can’t get anything more done here so I guess I should go inside.” I mumbled it to myself to validate it was proper for me to stop work an seek shelter. As soon as I entered the back door a very familiar sense filled the room. The clanging of pots and pans as they jockeyed for position on the stove, plates chattering while being pulled and stacked from the dishwasher, and a general sense of culinary atmosphere called me by name. A private culinary symphony all for me supplied by that devious enigma called fate. The air was full with the smells of a variety of meats and vegetables with wafts of consommé memories from a large pot of chicken infused liquid hoping to one day soon become a soup. The smells and sounds were the familiar frantic state of culinary urgency shortly before service. The aura of intense pressure was reminiscent of Cavalieri’s restaurant, my one time Mecca. It was crunch time even in this institutional kitchen and I was so taken aback by my memories I shook off the rain and blurted out to the Nurse in charge of the kitchen, “Can I help? I know a bit about food.” Without a smile a very attractive Jamaican woman in a not very sexy nurses uniform yelled “I need zeese onions peeled and cut, tink you could a’handle dat?” Nary a word more need be spoken as I rushed over to the table with the onions, grabbed a familiar feeling knife and pulled out a cutting board. In a matter of minutes I had peeled, cored, and diced the onions. “What else do you need?” The Nurse stopped in mid stride and asked “You gotta all dem onions done?” I could tell she was doubting me so I held them up and said “Yup, where do you want them?” She smiled at me with a huge open mouth and I noticed a small gap in her front teeth. Suddenly something seemed more sexy about her despite the uniform. As I looked closer I realized the uniform fit pretty tight allowing me a gratuitous view of her shape. She was in her late twenties or early thirties, slender and very pretty with firm looking curves in all the right places. Her skin was smooth and silky with an exotic ebony glow. She looked at me approvingly with dark brown eyes that twinkled sweetly in contrast to the sharp authority she normally displayed on the staff. “Put day inna pot dare witt dee carrots.” When I asked her if she wanted a mirepoix I thought she was gonna run over and kiss me full on the lips. Maybe I hoped she would but either way she flashed me that huge tiny tooth gapped smile. “You do know your way round de kitchen. My name is Margie and yes, I needa celery in dare too. Tink you canna hanel dat?” Time to respond with my innuendo laced charm, “I can handle whatever you got Margie. My name is JT.” She teased back, “Zhay Tee huh? What kina name is dot, can‘t afford whole name? ” It was feeling good, cooking and flirting again, “My real name is Justin, but my friends call me JT because I am Just Thrilling to be with. It seems we are friends now so I guess you should call me JT.” “Yes indeed it do Mr. Trilling. I tink maybe we work well togetter.” She punctuated her statement with a suggestively tender wink. I won’t tell you my thoughts at that moment but they would make a beet blush. It felt great as I assisted Margie in the kitchen getting lunch together quickly and efficiently while the rain continued to pound on the back door just begging to come in for a visit. I smiled at how great it was to be back in a kitchen cooking and flirting again.
After lunch I helped clean up then went outside to put away the tools I had abandoned in the storm since the rain ended as abruptly as it had begun. As I was surveying the yard deciding what else I could do before Fred got back when I heard someone yelling my name. Margie was calling me from the front door of the mansion. When I got there she smiled a huge smile saying to me “I got some good news for you Zhay. I jus talk ‘a Misser Viero an him say you canna work here wit us inna de kitchen and aroun’ de home full time. We canna use the help and you no have to work inna da rain no more. What jew tink Jussa trilling?” There it was. Right there fate dangled its fickle tickle of decision in front of me chuckling at what ominous repercussions would come of my choice. But was it a choice or had fate already made up my mind for me? If I say I would love to Fred will be mad but if I say no I will be saying no to old man Viero and who says no to an owner? Yes also means no more shit spreading, being back in a kitchen, and the chance to do some more serious flirting. Round the clock nurses aides as well as a kitchen job. It really had felt awesome working in the kitchen with Margie. I could definitely see myself working with her and her crew of nurses. Not to mention all the young chicks who help her which I would be working with. Okay, go ahead and mention it I know I will. True I have a steady girlfriend and all, but like my Mom says, “You can look at the menu as long as you remember what your entrée is.” Not sure exactly what she meant but give her credit for trying to speak restaurantese to me. Decision was made while fate laughed. “I think I would really like that Margie, when can I start?” She looked as excited as I was and told me I should finish out the week with Fred and start next Monday. Once school starts we will work out a weekend and afternoon schedule. My new job would be to maintain the inside of the home, help in the kitchen and whatever assistance the nurses may need. All in all it seemed like it was nothing but gold, at least until I learned what new adventures were in store for me. I neglected to remind myself that things were not always what they seemed but that’s okay, I would find out in good time what new tricks fate had in store for me to tickle its devilish funny bone. As intimate as I thought I was with fate I never realized it was planning to teach me about some new adventures which would include urine stains and enema’s. I still had a lot to learn.
the continuing adventures of J T Hilltop’s Potsink Diary