The Pub - Chapter Two

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“Ooh, someone’s got a secret admirer,” George crooned. The falsetto voice was in serious contrast to the chef’s hulking size as he towered in the door held open with kitchen tongs. He used any excuse he could find to duck into the cool air of the restaurant office to escape the heat of the steaming kitchen.

Joe glanced up at the perspiring chef. Balancing his bulk on one foot ballerina style, he pulled a vase of roses from behind his back and put them in the middle of the table that served as her desk. “What’s this,” she asked, “some kind of a joke?”

Cool air streamed out of the windowless room where the air conditioning unit struggled to keep up against the heat and humidity. Cash from the registers towered in neat piles held together with bands of adding machine tapes. He lingered at the open door while the aroma of sizzling steaks and prime rib surged into the room. She studied the flowers cautiously, knowing George had a knack for using tongs to his advantage

Florida Beaches

Sunset on the Gulf Coast
Sunset on the Gulf Coast

Joe learned an important lesson about George during her first week on the job. One morning as she ventured past his grill area, he grabbed her and lifted her up over his head, then, held her at arms’ length while he sneaked a peek under her skirt.

"Grab that package of napkins out of the cabinet, would'ya?" he chuckled. Her neck blossomed into a patch of red splotches while the kitchen staff looked on with amusement.

These days, she was wary whenever he was around. She grabbed the card from the vase of flowers and ripped open the envelope. George quickly snatched it out of her grasp. She smacked his hand with a ruler she kept under a stack of files.

"Ouch," he whined and tossed the card on her desk. Recovering quickly, he chanted again, "Someone's got a boyfriend." She picked up the phone and started dialing as Jason's face appeared behind George.

“You,” he pointed a finger at the freshly somber chef, “Out.” There was a strange dance at the door while George backed his substantial frame out of the tight space. He leered from behind the manager for a moment before the door closed on his goofy grin.

“So, how about it,” he asked with an exaggerated wink. Joe sent him a glare and focused her attention on the papers sprawled across the desk. He plopped down across from her and waited in the cold silence of the room. Unperturbed, he stared at her while she worked and hummed loudly. The scent of roses was dwarfed by his overpowering dose of after-shave that filled the room. He picked at his teeth between stanzas tossing the toothpick across the table where it lodged in Joe's hair.

Within his first few weeks as manager of The Pub, Jason managed to alienate most of the waitresses who complained bitterly about his dirty jokes, grabby hands and lewd remarks.

Now serving lunch...
Now serving lunch... | Source

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After the last manager skipped town in the middle of the night, rumors of missing deposits and cooked accounting books flew with wings around the close knit group. Bob’s unexpected disappearance led to suspicions that tossed Joe into the middle of the intense scrutiny.

"I'm completely sure you had nothing to do with it, Joe," Dick told her once the investigation was over. She was grateful for the friendship that had developed between them and for his confidence in her which likely saved her job. Over the past few months, she and Dick frequently checked out competing restaurants in the area, enjoying lavish dinners and testing out a variety of fine wines. He was equally fond of slender blonds like Joe, who abstained from alcohol, happy to pilot his Maserati back to the restaurant when he fell under the influence.

The silent partner, Ervin, a CPA from Chicago, was a different sort altogether. His no-nonsense, rigid management style left many casualties. After Bob's disappearance, he arrived unannounced one morning while Joe was placing the weekly produce order. She was startled at finding his somber face at her door.

"I'll need to see all the files for the house accounts and all the bank statements pronto," he'd informed her without preamble.

The last time she'd seen Ervin was when she'd interviewed for the bookkeeper's job. Living in Chicago, he normally left the daily operations to Dick who lived nearby. It was Ervin's first return trip since that day.

Blue Bayou - Linda Ronstadt

Food tickets
Food tickets

After the silent partner replaced the old food ticket system with complex new codes, the register receipts turned into a mess of confused scribbling. Joe struggled to balance with half of the checks rung under the old system and half with the new. During Ervin's visit, there was constant grumbling from the staff.

Jason spent the previous two weeks in Jamaica preparing for his move back to the states. His arrival was timed perfectly celebrate Ervin's departure. He arrived around noon, having moved his things into Bob's old condominium during the morning. “Great to see you,” he’d told the man, pumping his hand enthusiastically. Doreen took Ervin to the airport in Dick's Maserati between the lunch and dinner shift. No one was sad to see the accountant leave.

The new manager had an aura about him that drew men towards him, eager to hear a bawdy joke or receive a slap on the back. Jason immediately changed the bookkeeping system back to the way it had been before. When he made the announcement, a cheer went up from the staff.

Birds and boats
Birds and boats

The aroma of roasted prime rib drifted in from the kitchen as the door opened.

“Joe Joe!” Jason yelled, holding the door wide as he made his grand entrance. He smirked at the grimace that crept over her face. He called Joe by that name only because he discovered how much it annoyed her.

The phone clanged loudly, echoing in the small room. She picked it up eager for a diversion.

“Good morning, The Pub. May I help you?”

“Hey, baby,” a familiar sleepy voice responded.

“Yes, I have that file right here.” Joe said, shuffling through the papers, she picked up a file at random. “I can send you an itemized statement if you like.” The door slammed shut as Jason stormed out.

“But Baby,” the voice said, “It’s me,” he said, drawing the words out in a whine.

Jason returned moments later, gripping the staff schedule ripped from the bulletin board where it was stapled. Deep lines were gauged into the page where he'd crossed through Chip's name. He tossed it on the desk where it landed directly in front of Joe.

"You've just been promoted," he told her as she studied the changes on the schedule.

"What about Chip?" Joe asked, already guessing the answer.

"Oh, Chip is your first assignment," Jason said. "You get to tell him he's fired."

"What if I don't want the job?" she asked, gaping at the other names he'd crossed off.

"There's the door." he said, his bloated face transforming into a crooked smile.

Wish You Were Here...

© 2012 Peg Cole

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Comments 50 comments

Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

I already don't like Jason. He sounds like a first rate scuzbucket. I am not fond of the chef either. He thinks he is funny but acts like a perv. Poor Joe, having to put up with all of them.


snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada

Peg! You have a lot of irons in the fire! This is getting hot. Sleepy boyfriend, roses delivered, fast car, new promotion, lecherous co-workers, and cooked books. I smell the steak sizzling (and the plot). Hope this Joe girl takes some time out to have some fun. Glad to hear the cubbyhole office is air conditioned. Keep it coming, you have my full attention. Not sure what to think about the cheeky cook. Now that she is assistant manager he better watch where he puts his tongs.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 4 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

Your dialogue is crisp. In a few brief passages you have demonstrated that your protagonist is petite, clever and quick on her feet. You have hinted of alliances and foes. You have established that your protagonist is in charge, alert and sly. Great addition to your story.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Becky! Wow, thanks for responding so quickly to this one. I like your description of Jason and you've certainly nailed the chef too. They're both jerks. And they're good at it. LOL I'm so glad you think so! Yea. That is quite a compliment! Thank you so much Becky.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Once again, my friend Ms. Lane, I would like to quote you on my book cover when it comes time for a summary. lol You are succinct and have a keen eye for the true action in the story, picking out all the key points. I'm so flattered by your attention and thank you so much for the great rundown. Really, I would like to use it in the summary for the next chapter.

I had to laugh about your comment about the tongs. Good one, V. He is a cheeky cook.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Mck. Wow. I wish I had thought of all that you summarized here. Amazing insight. I hadn't seen some of that clearly. Oh good. I hope. Alliances and foes, yes. I hadn't thought of it that way. Very helpful and encouraging. I appreciate you so much Mike for all that you do. This is really good feedback. I'm working on Ch 5 now.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

"I smell the steak sizzling (and the plot)"...

I have never re-quoted a comment but snaleslane nailed it, I agree, Peggy... but she had to have the hammer and wood to "drive it in"... and you have provided that!

This story is building with excitement and I am hooked as well!

Voted UP and UAI. Love, Maria


Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

This is coming along great peg. Love the way the descriptions of your characters are coming through, like the shuffle dance in the doorway for the cook to squeeze out, sounds like a bit of a letch to stay clear of. Jason sounds like a real smart ass. Joe sure has a lot to put up with, at least air conditioning in her little 'dungeon' is something. to be thankful for.

Awesome and can't wait for the next :)


IntegrityYes 4 years ago

WHOA! I voted way up! OOH,Peggy! HAH-HAH! That is well-written. Captain and Tennille made some good songs. That particular one is one of their best ones.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello sista Maria. I like the steak analogy to the stake driven in with a hammer and wood. You are so clever! Thanks for stopping in to read the story and for the ongoing encouragement.

Love your way.

Peg


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

A bit of a letch to say the least. Seems like Joe is drowning in them. It is so encouraging that you've read this and appreciate the story, Rosemay. That George is quite a dancer. Hope you'll tag along for the rest of the drama. I really appreciate your support SO MUCH.

Peg


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 4 years ago from Arizona

Hi Ms.Peg, heeeeeee's back, "tapping the Mic and asking is there an echo in here or is this thing broken?" Jason is a prick, and I know Chip, he used to curry my horses in Pensacola, but where has he gone? You've got me hooked, I believe this will be one that gets better and better and you've got me voting up and a lot more, as well as thinking on your style of stopping at a cusp leaving the reader waiting with tapping a foot or feet depending on ones appendages or co-ordination. See you at the Cafe!

Blessings,

dust


cygnetbrown profile image

cygnetbrown 4 years ago from Alton, Missouri

Hmm, parts of this story sound like something you had personally lived through. Am I correct?


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

I like an almost "Mickey Spillane" attitude in your riveting story, Peg. I see Joe as a looker with a brain. She's not a shrinking violet. I see the Spillane philosophy in a manner I think her character illustrates "If I need something, I'll invent it" (quote by Mickey Spillane).

I missed the first in your series, but your story is so good, it stands alone. It's so good, though, I'm heading back to find Chapter 1.


BlossomSB profile image

BlossomSB 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

Enjoying it and you have so many different threads to follow that it is really fast-moving.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

Well i'm certainly not disappointed. ( Not that i thought i would be ) The story is building with new characters and suspense. Joe got a promotion, that's good, maybe she will insist on a bigger office? I don't like the Dude, George, maybe you will fire him and his tongs? I'm not sure about Jason, he sounds cute. Until next time Peg. I like your story.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Integrity, Sorry about the delay. My internet went down for the afternoon. Thanks for the kind and enthusiastic comments. I like the Captain and Tennille too and this was a good song. You don't look old enough to remember it! Nice to see you.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Dusty! Glad to see you. And sorry for the delay in answering your comment. Flaky internet. I see you got over to number 3 and I thank you for that. We lost connection right after I published. Thanks for following right along with this one and you are right about Jason. Chip worked for you? Horses? I did not know that about him. Cool.

Thanks so much for the visit. See you for coffee?

Later.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Cygnet, I wondered the same thing when I read your first book. It sounded so realistic that I felt you must have some experience in those things too! Thanks. That is a true compliment to me as a writer. I appreciate that. I have known a few characters like these. btw

What's the name of your new book?


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 4 years ago from Arizona

Peg that was a joke about a hubber WD, in the event he comes reading, we pick at each other that way,

dust


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Amy. I like that. A "Mickey Spillane" style. May I quote you on my next summary? (Sorry again S'Lane) Riveting? Now that is sweet! You sure know what a writer likes to hear. And I enjoyed the Mickey quote which I had never heard, too. Thanks, Amy. And for your ongoing readership.

Peg


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Blossom. Thanks for these fine descriptions: "threads" and "fast-moving". I like the sound of that (or those or them). Glad you're enjoying it. Hope you'll stick around for the next chapter. :)


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Dusty, hey. I like jokes. Even yours! Just joking. Oh I do hope WD drops by for a visit. He'll be able to spot holes and help out some with the story so far, I hope. This is the first run of the series so it is (pardon the pun) dusty. Yuk yuk. Okay. I'll stick to writing the detergent drama. Thanks.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Always. Whoops, sorry I skipped you there. I'm very glad you're not disappointed. That's the hope for a writer to be sure. Never to disappoint.

A bigger office for Joe? doubtful. Dude George is ambigious, to be seen later. And for firing him and his tongs? Should I let the power of Joe's promotion go to her head? Jason, cute? Uh oh, Ruby. Watch him. He's a bad one. Hope you'll check back for the next chapter still in the making. :)

See you later for dessert?

Peg


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

Make sure your protagonist keeps that ruler handy, Peg, she may need it with so many nefarious critters around. As Arte Johnson from 'Laugh-In' would say, ' Verreee interesting!"


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Hey there, Peg. Remember, you have an open invitation to quote me on anything you write. I should be so lucky! As far as readership, you have me hook, line and sinker!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Drbj,

Nefarious critters for sure. That ruler will get a workout.

I loved Laugh-in and Arte Johnson. We imitated him for years with that line. Good one! Thanks for the visit and great comment.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Amy, Thanks for the great offer. "Hook, line and sinker!" I love it. Haha. Just practicing. You are very quotable.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

What I find myself liking a lot is the way the characters interact.. so believable so far so good Pegcole :)


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Frank Atanacio. First, thank you for sharing this story! That was really nice of you. Thanks for liking the way the characters interact, too. I want them to appear believable at all times. Part of the reason this is out here is to get (hopefully kind) suggestions for course correction when I go shy of due north. Like Lynda did with her question. Frank, may I impose on you for some of your technical expertise when (I mean if) a crime scene arises in the story? Thank you in advance for that. Smiles.

Peg


Ruby H Rose profile image

Ruby H Rose 4 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

Wow, great story. Marvelous pictures, tell much too. I love the roses waiting, and the cliff hanger ending, out the door, or take it, or...??

Yep, a nice handful of excitement, what could be better than at the beach!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Ruby, Thanks for stopping to read this episode and for hanging out at the beach with me. You're right. What could be better than a day at the beach? I've ordered us a couple of umbrella drinks: a Shirley Temple and a Mary. Take your pick or we'll get you something in a tall glass with lots of ice. I'm glad you like the cliff hanger ending and the pictures. Thanks for stoping by.


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 4 years ago from Virginia

Chapter 2 is a winner....looking forward to the further adventures of the patrons and workers of the Pub.....a touch of Cheers with a dash of Emerald Wells makes for a very interesting ride. I will be catching up with chapters 3 and 4 in the future....Voted up and awesome...I liked the cliffhanger....keep up the good work.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Thanks Cogerson. I'm flattered to have this chapter put with such great company as Cheers (Norm!) and Emerald Wells (that is so cool!). Now that is a high compliment - two of my favorites, for sure. Hope you will stick around for the rest of the story. Ch. Five to be released soon. Thank you very much for reading and for the comments, really and truly. See you at the cafe?


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

Wow, I'm hooked! You describe the scene and characters so well, I feel like I'm part of the restaurant staff. I'll head on to the next installment!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Vespa. Sorry for the delay in responding. I was vacationing and taking pictures for more episodes still in the works. Hoping for more inspiration like your comment today. Thank you so much for the enthusiastic words. I really appreciate that. BTW Table 27 needs the dessert menu when you get a chance.


shiningirisheyes profile image

shiningirisheyes 3 years ago from Upstate, New York

I've been away for a while and just now found time to visit. Glad I did as this is an excellent addition to the first chapter. On to the next.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Shiningirisheyes. Thanks for taking time to drop by. See you at Chapter 3. It was good to see you.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

What an interesting cast of characters here. Things are heating up! I'm ready for Chapter 3. Great write. I really love your photos and great music choice.

Voted up ++ and sharing

God bless, Faith Reaper


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 3 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

I am loving this series! I think Joe can handle herself and make a great assistant manager. I get the feeling this is based on a true story....hmmm. I can't wait for Chapter 3 now! I see very little housework getting done this morning. Up and interesting! :)


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Faith. So good to see you back for Chapter 2 in the series which is a work in progress. I really appreciate your readership, your votes and sharing this hub.

God bless you too.

Peg


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hello Sgbrown. Thanks so much for your visit and great comments. My idea of housework is "to sweep the room with a glance". With a crew of dogs the place just gets dusty again. haha. Anyway, hope you will continue reading as the series develops.

I hope you like the link I added to your The Red Dirt Brewhouse - "The New Pub". Thanks for the votes, too.


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 3 years ago from South Africa

I love this, Peggy! Lots of inside politics. Sadly, all bright entrepreneurs don't realize that their bright ideas are not feasible. Looking forward to read on....


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi MartieC. I'm thrilled that you are continuing with this story and that you like it. Inside politics; they sure are everywhere in business and in this story, too. Kind of you to comment and thanks again for the visit.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

The characters are becoming very interesting, Peg. I love their descriptions! The plot is intriguing, too.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi AliciaC. Thanks for dropping by to read Chapter 2. It gave me an excuse to go back and correct some errors. Hope to see you for the next episode. Again, thanks so much for the great comment.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 3 years ago

Hello and good afternoon my precious Peg from Colin and his cat crew at lake erie time ontario canada 3:55pm and two very important things I noticed while reading part 2 - you have a awesome pedigree when it comes to writing good dialogue and you have a very intricate eye for detail and of course the narrative of the storyline flows so well too.

I will madly and gladly post and link your wonderful writing style on my Facebook page for all to see and read and I am sending you good energy from the three of us and off now to the deck and have some sausages and fried potatoes and then uptown to try my luck on tonight's lottery draw worth $3million (that's a lot of cat food, lol)


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Colin. Best of luck on tonight's drawing in the lottery. I hope you will remember the "little people" like me when you win. I should like to join your entourage in your limo as you tour the finer dining establishments then. Between your winnings and the sales of your poetry e-books, Funny Thirty and Beauty Thirty, you will soon be rolling in the cash.

Thank you for stopping in here today. It always gives me a reason to reread the narrative and in doing so, I found a glaring write-o. Your encouraging words are much appreciated as I struggle to make this story into a viable work. So good to see you following along on Chapter 2 and I do so appreciate your kind remarks!

My own cat, Brian Williams, sends his best regards to Ms. Tiffy and Gab.


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

Wow, Jason makes my skin crawl. Can't wait to read the rest, just not tonight.

Voted up, ABI and shared.


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas Author

Hi Shyron, I'm encouraged by your visit and inspired to put the other chapters back up. Thanks for the votes and the share. Sleep tight.

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