The clock above the door in Andre’s Luncheonette read two o’clock, and the number of waiting customers began to dwindle. The kitchen door opened, and a petite, dark-haired waitress in a crisp, white uniform, black apron, and white sneakers emerged, holding two dinner plates and three cups of coffee. One plate was balanced on here forearm, the other was tightly clasped in her left hand; her right hand held three cups of coffee, stacked on top of each other. As she turned the corner, the three little cream jars which she had so carefully placed on the saucers crashed to the floor. Undaunted, Lily continued to the table at the end of the dining room.
I’ll be back in a minute with cream. Is your hamburger okay, sir?”
“This is fine, thank you, just fine,” answered the man at the table as he took a bite of his sandwich. He watched her with more than a casual interest as he chewed his food, noticing the efficient way she checked every table on her way back to the counter, obviously making mental notes of her customers’ lunching progress. Her attention to detail, despite the creamer mishap, was not lost on the man as he continued eating his hamburger. She had a ready smile for the customers and managed to cater to their needs without fawning or being intrusive; just the kind of person he’d like to have working for him, he thought.
Returning to the counter, Lily saw Ellen coming toward her. The kindly, grey-haired waitress had taken Lily under her wing when she had first started working there a few weeks before, teaching her the ins and outs of waiting tables and working for the tyrannical Andre.
“Here’s your cream, Lily. Boy, Ol’ Andy didn’t miss the mess you made near the kitchen door. Better take care of it quick. He’s steaming!”
A glance toward the cash register assured her that Ellen wasn’t kidding. Andre, or Andy (as the waitresses called him among themselves), was watching her intently. His salt-and-pepper hair was nearly standing on end, and his tiny mustache was twitching, a sure sign that he was pretty irritated.
Lily pretended to not notice him. With a forced smile she carried the three creamers to the waiting coffee drinkers. Then she hurried to the kitchen to get a broom, dustpan, and mop to take care of the remains of her fiasco.
“Here you go, Lily.” Don the cook, was waiting for her with the broom and mop. “Chin up, Carlo,” he told her with a wink.
She turned, but stopped short. Confronting her, his feet apart his hands on hips, and fire in his beady eyes, was Andre. Lily Carlo swallowed hard and braced herself for what she knew was coming.
The above is the beginning of a short story I published on Kindle, called "The Summer Playground."