Sweat running down his face, Tim wiped his eyes and replaced his smudged glasses. It was Sunday Brunch, and the dishes were coming fast and furious. The guy next to him was scraping the plates and stacking them in green racks. Tim was spraying down the racks, feeding them into the machine, and pulling out finished racks, all steaming crockery. The dude was keeping up a steady patter of chatter, and Tim really didn't care about any of it, he was just trying to keep up with the godawful stream of dirty dishes. His frustration mounted with each scalding rack he pulled from the machine.
Tim had taken this job out of desperation recently. Although he was getting used to the work, Sunday rush was not his favorite time. Lonnie the head cook was nice enough, but the other workers seemed to razz him constantly. Like right now, for instance.
"C'mon, Tim can't you pick it up a little?"
"Maybe he can't handle a job like this..."
"Little wiene college boy"
"Where do they hire these guys..."
Whether they were joking or not, it infuriated Tim. Wasn't this job tough enough without all this shit?
He finally got through the worst of it, and things slowed down. Soon, he was able to clean his machine, clock out and escape the kitchen-dungeon for another day. He noted that they had several caustic chemicals, including Bleach and Lime-away, stored under the deep sinks used for cleaning pans.
That night, he went on the Internet and did some reading about chemistry, and what would happen if different solutions were mixed together. It was very enlighening. No wonder they had told everyone not to mix the bleach and lime-away!
On succeeding days, his hatred of them increased with each insult he received, and plans began to firm up in his mind. He noted the location of several items in the kitchen, as well as the exits and how to lock them. Finally his chosen day arrived, and he launched the plan into action.
Sunday morning. The cooks were there, frying up bacon and sausage, but the waitresses had yet to arrive. Tim went around to the back of one set of doors, and locked them. He darted around the other side to the opposite kitchen entry, and quickly walked over to the deep sinks. He plugged the drain on one sink, and then grabbed a bottle of Bleach and a bottle of limeaway. He emptied both into the sink as rapidly as he could. The resulting gas began to spread rapidly.
He dashed over past a rack of knives, grabbing two of them. Then he rushed to the one remaining unlocked exit. He positioned himself right outside the doors. The cooks began to yell, and ran for the opposite entry.
"Where is Tim? What the hell is going on? Hey, this door is locked. Goddamn it stinks, lets get the hell out of here..."
They began to run towards Tim's exit. He awaited them calmly, two large, very sharp chopping knives in hand. One by one, he slashed and cut them as they exited the doors and tried to get past. By the time the gas got to Tim, he was the only one left unscathed. He tried to stumble away from the door, but finally collapsed, succumbing to the gas himself. Makeshift though it was, the nerve gas did not distinguish between the amateur killer and his victims.
Sandra the head waitress arrived fifteen minutes later, and noticed the smell immediately. The front doors to the kitchen were locked, and the windows were fogged. She thought, 'what the...' and went around to the back. She opened the door and stumbled back from the fumes. She would dream for many nights thereafter of the carnage they found when they finally got the place ventilated. It helped give rise to her own little recipe for revenge she unleashed a few years later against her customers, this time with poison.
Copyright: © 2009 Mike WilsonMike Wilson has been writing fiction and poetry for several years. He has been published in various periodicals, including Aphelion online journal and Tales of the Talisman, and is a member of the Iowa Poetry Association. He lives in Des Moines, Iowa with his possessed cat, snickers.