Community Spirit – Episode 22

JEANNIE was working a double shift at the Goose and had been there for an hour. It was Wednesday lunchtime and she was due to work through to eleven that night. Time was passing slowly as there were only two couples in the restaurant.

Jeannie reordered the cutlery drawer, checked the menus were all clean and tidy and searched round for something else to do.

Debbie and Fergus were at the bar when a man in a suit came in and shook hands with them both. They seemed to have been expecting him, as Debbie was dressed to the nines and Fergus was agitated. They served him a drink and sat on bar stools to chat.

Lucy, one of the kitchen staff, appeared at Jeannie’s side.

“No more monkfish,” she said, referring to one of the specials.

“OK,” Jeannie replied, reaching for the cloth to wipe the blackboard over the fireplace.

“Aye, aye,” Lucy said, noticing the trio in the bar. “Best behaviour time, I see.”

Jeannie raised her eyebrows.

“Area manager for the brewery,” Lucy explained, before she disappeared back to the kitchen.

Jeannie took one more look before one of her diners waved her over. At the bar, she tried to look inconspicuous as she made two St Clements.

Debbie and Fergus ignored her as the man in the suit read from a piece of paper in his hand. It sounded like sales figures, but it was all meaningless to Jeannie.

“We hope things are looking up,” Fergus said. “As you can see, we’re quite busy in here today.”

Jeannie scooped up her drinks and left them to it, but not before looking around the lounge area and counting five people, which added to the four in the restaurant made nine.

Why would Fergus be lying to the area manager when the Goose was usually much busier on any given day of the week?

Jeannie concluded it was nothing to do with her and concentrated on the diners who trickled through all afternoon. For her break she decided to sit on the green and read her book.

Alison Cook