By Christine Sweeton
- Part 1:
Patia rushed down the back staircase of Carving and past the plastic bags filled with clean linens. She found Krista, in the tiny staff bathroom, leaning over the sink, slowly filling in a perfect red pout. "Out! Out. Out." shooing away the tall, champagne-glass blond and closing the door behind her. When Patia emerged in her tight, black, tank-dress, Krista was waiting. Standing with her hand on what passed as a hip LA. Practically tapping her toe with impatience, her moss-green eyes glared down at Patia with exasperation.
"Y'all gone done in-dare?" she asked in a soft southern drawl that, 8 months in, Patia was still skeptical about. Narrowing her eyes to meet Krista's stare, Patia pulled a make-up bag out of her small duffel. "Well, ya'gonna hafta share da mirror dare," the cotton-candy voice did not match the daggers in her eyes.
Tay's loud clear voice rang out from the doorway of the break room in the back of the basement space, "They just installed a big one in here." Patia grunted in question. "A mirror. They just put a big mirror and counter back here." Patia raised an eyebrow at Krista, grabbed her bags, and went to see.
What Tay described as a counter turned out to be a 6'x2' sheet of plywood affixed to the wall with mismatched IKEA brackets. Above it was a sizable mirror reflecting back the rest of the depressing furniture in the break room: an old red futon mattress roughly folded into a couch shape was slumped against the back wall, the bulletin board filled with various notices hung at an angle above that, the stained table sat in the center of the room, the 5 plush dining-chairs brought down from the restaurant upstairs seem out of place until you notice the many tears in their upholstery, and lastly across from the mirror was a cube-style bookcase, slightly slanted and held together with duct-tape. Patia paused to inspect the bookcase using the mirrors reflection. Slowly pulling out her make-up, she counted the number of cubicles in use. Based on how many had been filled with bags, backpacks, drinks, and cell phones, Patia knew she was probably the last person to show up for the dinner shift - again.