Anthony Bourdain and the Naughty Chef de Partie

Nervous was not the word. More like shaking in my boots. It was cold at five a.m. in the alley as I waited for someone to let me into the restaurant. Surrounded by the stained brick walls and the dumpsters and the rats I wondered if I was really ready for this. This was the big time. This was it.

The three cleanup guys came down the alley together and spoke in that rapid fire Spanish I couldn’t keep up with. I must have looked ridiculous in my white coat and my pale face and my glasses. My hands balls in my pockets and my eyes wide and hopeful. The bread guy came round the corner and I tensed up. He was unshaven and his eyes were bloodshot, he fumbled with the keys and hardly even looked at me. He smelled like vodka and sweat.

The kitchen of Les Halles was all at once spotless and messy, if that makes any sense. Pots and pans scrubbed a thousand times all hung in their specific places. Every sink deep and prophetically empty. Every burner matte black and ready to work. I’d been given a tour a few days before. I’d been told what I was supposed to do and I still had the list of prep work in my pocket. I’d read it several hundred times. My boyfriend had laughed, but he understood. This was my dream job.
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They met in the laundry room.

In the bowels of the big old apartment building where Jack lived was a laundry room which housed five washing machines and five dryers, all of which cost $1 to run but were far less efficient than taking your clothes to the laundromat across the street. But nonetheless there he was, folding his boxers.

Now, when you live in an apartment building you tend to “see” a lot of people but not to “meet” a lot of people. Jack lived in a place populated by familiar strangers, people he saw every day but didn’t know the name of. One of these people was the girl he referred to as “The Dyke.”
Now, Jack didn’t mean that in a derogatory way, by any means. She was a hard-core butch dyke, and he was sure she would tell him such if he asked. She stood about 5’1″, a tiny thing who seemed to attain at least 4 more inches with sheer attitude. Unfortunately that still left her at 5’5″. Her buzz-cut hair was so short, it looked like blonde peach fuzz on her pink head, except for two little fringes of a Chelsea girl that came down like little golden antennae in the front. She had a baby face, cherubic cheeks and cupid bow lips, but had a constant glare of toughness. Her wardrobe was made up of polo shirts, wife beaters, baggy jeans and work pants. She was almost always wearing work boots and a thick wallet chain that hung from her back pocket to her belt and jingled when she walked. read more

The Strand

Let me describe the first time I met her.

I was in The Strand bookstore, the one on 12th street, one of the most amazing places in the world. The smell of old books is almost overpowering there. I was in the mystery section looking through war torn copies of Raymond Chandler novels. It was Sunday, just after seven pm.

Across the aisle, I saw her. She had just moved out of Science Fiction and down the aisle that contained Letters, Criticisms, and Literary Biographies. She was short and bookish and dressed like your average college girl, a knee length skirt of dull gray and a fitted black button up blouse with three buttons open to expose just enough to make me follow her with my eyes. Then there was the red hair. Short, ridiculously curly, chin length and it seems like there was an attempt to part it in the middle. She looked deliciously almost criminally adorable.
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Jack was addicted. It was something he needed to admit to himself. It was something he needed help with. It was something that was part of him.

“Gimme a quad shot cappuccino, very dry, non-fat milk.”

He stood at the counter digging deep into the pockets of his jeans trying to get another fifty cents. It was a costly habit, four shots of espresso with a little steamed milk was five bucks. read more


We start kissing in the cab, my hand sneaking under her dress when the driver isn’t paying attention. She was waxed clean and smooth and always wet, my little pet, and that made it so my fingers slipped right in perfectly. She slaps me away, wanting to be a good girl until we get inside.
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