who wants to be in morgan’s wolfpack?
September 27- York Prep's debate team is having a pancake breakfast at the restaurant today, in honor of their winning a national debate competition. As always, stay on your best behavior and try not to get fed up with the constant demands that come with the title of working at Blue Spoon.
I watched the little high schoolers dig into their pancakes hungrily, talking with their mouths open and making stupid comments. For a debate team, they weren’t particularly eloquent this morning.
Turning my attention to the computer, I ran through a check of all the day’s big orders, making sure that they were being filled in the kitchen behind me. As one of the chefs brought out a tray of friands, I stacked them neatly in our signature blue cardboard box and wrapped it carefully in silver ribbon. Leaving it on the bench behind me so it wouldn’t be touched by any hungry school kids, I turned back to the counter, only to find a few of those kids waiting impatiently for me.
“You do free refills, right?” a girl asked me, her blonde hair flowing perfectly over her school uniform.
I shook my head. “Espresso refills are $2.”
“What?” she asked, her voice loudening. “That’s ridiculous. You should refill them for free, like other cafes.”
Plastering my best saccharine smile on my face, I folded my arms across my chest. “Well, darling, we aren’t like other cafes. We brew all our coffee right here instead of filtering it, and it costs us more.”
“Well, darling,” she spat, “I think you’d get more business if you refilled for free.”
“This isn’t McDonalds!” I said, a little louder than I intended to, and Bridget looked over at me from the office doorway, raising her eyebrows.
The prep school girl glared at me, digging around in her pocket and slapping two dollar bills on the counter. “Now can I get a refill?”
I smiled again as if nothing had happened. “Sure.”
I knew the old adage – the customer is always right. But I had my own philosophies. You don’t get to the top of business by giving away free refills. And you don’t let sixteen year olds bully you.
A few minutes after the group of girls had sat down with their $2 refills, still glaring daggers my way, one of the boys sauntered up to the counter, placing his blue coffee cup down in front of me.
“How’s about a free refill, gorgeous?” he asked, winking.
I rolled my eyes. “Refills are $2.”
“Yeah, but...” he licked his lips, leaning close over the counter. “I won’t tell anyone if you don’t.”
“How old are you?” I asked, not impressed by him in the least.
He grinned. “17.”
“Ugh, go home,” I said, shaking my head.
“Now separate the egg whites, and whisk them quickly into your bowl,” the television instructed. I did so, but as soon as the eggs hit my metal bowl, I saw a tiny crack of shell floating about.
“Oh no!” I gasped, reaching for my spatula.
“Morgan, what have you done?” Sophia laughed.
Sophia was my neighbour, a twenty-something who lived down the hall and practised her baking skills recreationally, enduring an office job during the day. Once a week, we got together to drink wine and watch the Cooking Network, whipping up whatever recipe we fancied the most that night in my always well-stocked kitchen.
“Egg emergency,” I said, digging out the tiny rogue eggshell. “This is not meant to be a crunchy buttercake.”
She rolled her eyes, taking a quick sip of her wine. “There’s no way you’d be able to taste it. You’re such a perfectionist, even when you’re tipsy.”
“Hey,” I said, pointing at her. “I’m not tipsy.”
Sophia raised her eyebrows. “Whatever you say.”
After beating the eggs, I took a cloth and wiped down the kitchen bench meticulously, putting all the used utensils in the dishwasher and checking that everything was spotless. If there was one thing I absolutely hated, it was my kitchen being messy. Everyone always laughed at me for my neatness that was almost bordering on OCD, but nothing good ever came from a messy life.
Once our cake was in the oven, we sat down in front of my TV, watching Nigella wax on about puff pastry. Incredibly bored by her, I flicked channels until I found Seinfeld.
“This show isn’t even funny,” Sophia sighed.
“What! Get out of my house!”
“If I go, I’m taking the cake with me.”
“No you aren’t... I have a spatula, and I’m not afraid to use it.”
“Oh shush,” she said, rolling her eyes. “It’s late, little one, shouldn’t you be going off to bed soon?”
“Not until we finish this bottle of Merlot.”
“Wow, you’re going to be a barrel of hangover fun at work tomorrow.”
“Hangover isn’t in my vocabulary,” I informed her.
“You’re a little underage alcoholic.”
“And we’re both just sad ladies, drinking wine, watching TV, and baking cakes on a Wednesday night.”
She grimaced. “True, that.”