The Cook

He handed keys to the boss today, said they’re all yours now. Folded back against the chair easy with a smile that crept slow like chocolate melts down warm cake. Boss laughed like so many falling cards. Handed them back, didn’t know what to do with all those nameless twists.

Don’t know your name, something old fashioned and fine like oak and mead with a sugar melt, took and fixed those keys steady, soundless. Held one, rolled it like a loved coin between fingers. Master key. Second long wait, slides two more keys cross the ring. Men’s room. Ladies’. They gathered in your palm like fists pushed slow through raised dough.

Snack room, turn, careful. Glance up, bit of a grin in dark violin eyes. Remembers a door, key fits, clicks snap. Supply room. One like the others, not quite. Maintenance. A dozen more, no labels, silver gold bronze small dents scratch sharp edge spots mark. One you never found out which lock it freed, a mystery. Five more hummed by like notes discordant but sweet, just a hint of dismay. The end, the inevitable, final end.

He handed keys to the boss today. Slipped out with that slow chocolate smile.

Should have been a blues singer.

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