This is a bit of an exerpt from my latest endeaver, it's top-secret, though, so I won't give anything away.
Jazz stared dejectedly out the windows of her Uncle Boris’s restaurant, The Porker.
She was miserable for several reasons.
The first was her name.
Jasmine. That was her name-not Jazz. Jazz was the nickname her mother used and eventually everyone adopted.
When she was a kid she thought it was cool to be named after a genre of music.
Now that she’d just turned sixteen, she knew better. She asked everyone to call her Jasmine. To no avail.
When she was hired for the job at The Porker, she’d asked her uncle Boris to put JASMINE on her nametag, instead of JAZZ. Of course he didn’t honor her wishes. And on her snout-shaped, pink nostriled, nametag was the letters in bright kohl black “JAZZ”. Just over BUS-BOY.
This was another reason she was miserable.
It’s one thing to be a bus-boy. It’s another thing entirely to be a girl and have to be dubbed with the title-the bus-boy.
Even though she had applied for Hostess, her uncle Boris hired her as a bus-boy.
“Everyone starts at the bottom, here at The Porker.”
He said, just after taking a long drag on his huge cigar. Probably imported from Cuba.
Jazz had wanted to quit before she was even handed her hideous uniform decorated in pink pigs smoking cigars and reading newspapers.
But she needed the money-and so did her mom. A “tisk-tisk” noise coming from a rich-looking lady as she stamped her finely-shoed foot on the tiled floor of The Porker reminded Jazz again how much she hated this job.
“Can I get something for you, ma’am?” Jazz asked hesitantly, hoping she wouldn’t have to drag her uncle Boris out to the front.
“Yes,” the woman said in a strangely low, scratchy, bass voice. It sounded like she’d been smoking since she was two.
“I would like to speak with the manager about this.”
She pointed one of her extraordinarily long fingernails at a plate. Laying on top, still breathing, was a live trout squirming around on the plate, leaving a stain of wine colored, fishy-smelling, blood everywhere it flopped.
The sight made Jazz sick to her stomach.
“I....I’ll get ‘im, right away.”
Jazz put a hand over her quivering chin. She did not have a strong stomach.
“And what’s even worse...I’m a vegetarian!” The scratchy bass voice resounded again, and then laughed with a strange man, who Jazz supposed was her husband.
The man’s laugh was a sickly wheezing.
That’s weird, Jazz thought, it’s almost like they’re getting some strange enjoyment out of this.
She rushed back to Boris’s closet-sized office. He acted as owner, and manager. Much to Jazz’s displeasure.
Jazz could hear the tell-tale signs of Boris on the phone.
“No, Jack, ya idiot, NO! I told you not to....hold on. It’s my niece.”
Jazz opened the door a little ways and poked her head in.
“Whadda ya want?”
“Some customers want to talk to you.”
“They can wait-out!”
“You just...you might want to talk to them-they were served....”
“What? Spit it out.”
“They were served a live fish.”
“Gotta go, Jack, bye.” Boris said quickly into the phone-speaker.
“I’m right there.” He said to Jazz. “Come with me.”
Jazz followed Boris into the kitchens-which Jazz hated because they always smelled like grease, food, and there was a constant cloud of smelly steam.
“Manuel! You’d better get your Guatemalan butt out ‘ere and explain!”
The head chief walked away from the steaming ovens with a spatula in his hand.
“What I do?” Manuel was new. To the continent and to the restaurant. His English wasn’t perfect-but it was decent.
Boris motioned for Manuel to follow him. Even though he didn’t do the same for Jazz, she followed anyway.
This was going to be interesting....
Jazz and a few select Porker employees sat on top of the counter to get a better view of the horrendous thing.
Even though she’d only known him for a couple of weeks-since school let out and since she got a summer job-she still would feel bad if he got fired.
Manuel looked as if he were going to cry when he saw the very much alive, flopping fish on the plate.