Eating Out of the Bus Pan By Benjamin DeVos

January 29, 2015 Comments Off on Eating Out of the Bus Pan By Benjamin DeVos

The crispy slice I ate swiftly, in quick mouthfuls, licking the grease from the roof of my mouth. In between trips to the hutch, I poured water. Nobody looked up – I assume they don’t notice when I take their plates away, bacon and half-eaten burgers, a garden salad drowned in balsamic.

At the moment my boss appeared, I’d just swallowed my third portion of whole-wheat toast, saving the crust in my pocket, and he ignored me, like the old money, serving himself a plate of silver dollar pancakes. My boss sucked his cheeks in – he’d grown a gut over the past year, and for a smoker had quite a low metabolism.

“Tell Chef to save the scraps,” he whispered to Bob, the dining room supervisor. “I’ll feed them to my dog.” His breath was a Marlboro and maple syrup fusion.

Bob, munching on a buttered biscuit from the kitchen, replied with, “I don’t think dogs are meant to eat human food. Shouldn’t we use it toward a staff meal, or leave it out for the homeless?”

Bob is naive, and conversations such as this annoy me, because then my hunger starts up again. It happens at every buffet, they discuss what to do with the extra food: my boss conspiring on how to steal it for himself; Bob easily fooled. One of the members caught a waiter making himself a plate of eggs the Wednesday before and caused an uproar on the porch. “He didn’t pay,” said the old woman, “I bet he stole Mr. Friedman’s tennis racket too, to sell for drug money.” The club manager apologized profusely, and assured her that there would be consequences. Bryant was fired the next day. He should have known better than to openly eat where he shat.

The help was stuffed into the corner after that, serving indifference with a smile. But I could see the hunger in their eyes. They wanted to suck on the shrimp tails like I did.

“They just don’t know any better,” my boss said.

A box of granola bars was stolen from my locker, but no harm done. I’d had my fill of carbohydrates in secret by the dumbwaiter before bringing out a fresh bag of linens.

A fork drops; the old woman waves me over. Her mashed potatoes and ketchup make my belly roar. “Fetch me a new one,” she tells me, “and more butter.”

© 2014 Benjamin DeVos

Benjamin DeVos lives in Philadelphia and attends Temple University as a creative writing student. He has upcoming poetry in Red River Review and is putting the finishing touches on his first novel.

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