All Hallows Eve: The First Thirteen Months

By A.U. Link.
xxx-fiction-story-disclaimer-top2

Chapter 01: The Invitation

Good morrow, dear friend!

Ye are most welcome to join a night of enchantment and revelry, as we gather ’round the bonnie bonfires and embrace the spirit of Samhain.  ‘Tis a Halloween party for adults like no other, where the ancient Celtic traditions and modern merriment shall intertwine.

Date: October 31st

Time: As the sun dips below the horizon

Location: The Ranch

Don yer most beguiling costumes, for a grand prize, awaits the most bewitching and creative attire.  Be prepared to dance to the lilting tunes of the fiddle and bodhrán, by light of fire, and partake in libations brewed from secret recipes passed down through generations.

Fear not, for the feasting shall befit this night of old in original mystic revelry.  The fare shall include hearty stews, roasted root vegetables, and delectable treats of the flesh, both sweet and savory.

By the light of the harvest moon, we shall tell tales of yore, and perhaps, if ye dare, attempt to glimpse into the Otherworld.  A night of laughter, music, and shared camaraderie awaits all who dare to venture forth.

Kindly RSVP by the ides of Octobre to ensure we have ample provisions for all.  Bring a friend, bring a spirit, but most importantly, bring thyself to this gathering of souls.

Bring ye treat, or suffer ye tick.

May the spirits of the Celtic past watch over us, and may this Samhain night be one to remember for ages to come.

Sláinte mhaith and blessed of the true Samhain to thee!

Fucking Liam!

What a drama queen!

I shook my head at the engraved invitation to his upcoming fet.

The damn invitation was on expensive, thick gauge card stock!  It was the kind of stuff that unless you had impeccable penmanship you could ruin with a single fatigued shake of a hand.  The kind of thick invitation-style material that swallowed the tip of your pen so you always got a perfect scribe when you wrote with any functional pen.

Liam left penned indents into the thick material.

I ran my fingers over the strong cursive, so clean and clear that even I could manage to make it out.  I read aloud, quoting, “‘Delectable treats of the flesh, both sweet and savory’, what in the hell does he mean by that?”

I wondered at some of the strange turns of phrase that littered the invitation.

Behind me in the restaurant, Mark was starting his staff terrorization ritual.  First, he was accosting the hostess in front of the customers, nagging about this or that.  Then there was the transition into the service staff as he staggered and swaggered through the place.  Finally, he made it to the next to last stop before the office to yell at the cooks, loud enough as always for customers to hear his magnanimous authority all the way out in the dining room.

I dropped the invitation into my laptop bag and got back to the food inventory sheet and order I was compiling.  If I was obviously working and could manage to avoid eye contact because I was so busy, the owner’s kid would get bored and go away to hang out at the bar.

He would be out of my hair for a little while, at least until he downed a handful of shots on mommy and daddy’s dime.  He expensed it through the restaurant and blamed it on the bartenders as spillage for accounting purposes.

“Why the fuck don’t we have our fish special today!”

That stopped me, with my hand over the keyboard, pen frozen over the inventory sheet.  Without fully looking over my shoulder, just cocking my head the slightest in his direction, I asked Mark, “Excuse me?”

Pouring out his derision and mommy-daddy issues onto me now, he roared so the cheap seats could hear, “You fuckin’ deaf now too!”  He huffed like a thirteen-year-old kid getting his video games taken away because he was being grounded.  He demanded again, “Why in the fuck isn’t there a fish special on for today!  I fuckin’ told ya I wanted sixteen-ounce tuna steaks on for tonight!”

His selective drinking memory was so frustrating.

Mark swayed, eyes mildly crossing in the hall as he clutched onto the office door jam.  Again, he was already drunk before he arrived.

So it was going to be one of those nights.

Tapping the pen silently on the inventory sheet I gently reminded him as patiently as I could manage, “Because I told you last week when you asked that we are a cow steak restaurant.  I also mentioned that if we priced those steaks so we weren’t bleeding red ink onto every plate, then they would cost four times what we charge for our most expensive porterhouse.  That was right before I reminded you that I do not particularly like fish, so because I do not have a pallet for it, I suck at cooking fish.  Because I’m not very good at it, I won’t be able to supervise our kitchen properly.  And we agreed that those steaks were too expensive to ruin in our kitchen during the dinner rush.”

Immediately shifting blame, Mark swayed irritably in the hall to the kitchen, deliberately speaking loud enough so the cooks could hear.  “Bet it’s fuckin’ Juan’s fault!”

To summon my patience I scratched my chin with my pen hand, and reminded Mark, “His name is Jose.  You fired Juan last month.”

Mark demanded, “Where’n the fuck is that other fucker then?  Why ain’t he at work!”

I reminded Mark, while silently wondering just how much he had to drink before swerving into the handicapped parking space out front, “Juan refuses to come back.  You know that.  We talked about this last Wednesday.”  Shaking my head I calmly re-informed, “Juan will not carry any shifts.  He won’t help out.  He won’t be on call when we’re short.  He is done and screens out calls from the restaurant.”

Mark barked, “That fuckin’ jerk off!”  He swiftly relapsed into mumbles and staggered away to the bar, where he had coopted a bottle of Jack and was pouring himself shots.

We all knew that Julia would not touch that bottle until Mark left.

I went back to work.  Mark would occupy himself with the bottle for a few hours while convincing himself he was being a great host and representative for the place while he slobbered and drooled, and slopped and spilled Jack Daniels all over his shirt and any customers foolish to enter his proximity.

The little voice in my head told me again for the hundredth time this week, and it was only Wednesday night, ‘This restaurant manager is a dick.  You are doing his job.  You are training, hiring, and handling personnel issues that he creates, night after night!  You should be in the kitchen where you are paid to be.  Considering quitting yet?  Dump this shit stress!”

Shaking my head, the age-old dialog in my head roared to life in my head again!

That quibbling little pussy that I am whimpering back in my head, ‘But I’m unsure.  This job pays okay.  We really don’t need much more.  If we leave we’ll need to climb the ladder from this mid-range stress factory to find some other higher-end place.  Who knows how long that will take?  All that time without getting paid?  And then, who knows if that new one will work out?  It might be worse!  Or I’ll need to put on a suit and go looking for backers to open my own restaurant!  And that’s just terrifying!’

I finished ordering and placing the delivery schedule for Thursday morning.

Then the minutia grabbed a hold of me and dragged me down again until more of my life was sucked away into oblivion.

I did not even realize how much time passed!

I did not get far, so it could not have been too long.

Julia the bartender stuck her head in the office door behind me and angrily snapped, “Why can’t that fucker just get himself a fuckin’ DUI, so he’s out my my fuckin’ bar for twenty-four hours!  Before mommy and daddy bail his dead-ass out!”

Containing my sigh, I asked, addressing the obvious, “He’s pouring his own shots again?”

She snapped, “Of fuckin’ course!  Blamin’ it on me while tellin’ me not to put ‘em on tabs!”

The fool was going to get the place’s liquor license suspended if we were ever audited.  We both knew he would be stapled to the bar stool for at least forty-five minutes now.  I reminded her, as calmly as I could muster, “If he was drinking at the bar, he would blab and blame you if he got a DUI.”

I glanced back at her.

She was darting looks through the kitchen, craning her neck to see, and then stuck her head back in and spat, “Fuck that noise!  He can kill a school bus full ‘a kids for all I care!  I never touched the bottle!  He took it right out from behind the bar and sat down with it!  I never touched the fuckin’ thing!”

Getting her point, I nodded, as calmly as I could muster, “And he is sitting under the camera where he usually does.”

Smug as a cat, she nodded and turned back to the bar.

I reminded her, “Julia, don’t forget to go to the bathroom this time.”

She doubled back to the employee restrooms, muttering, “Oh, yeah.”

The last time she used that excuse to get away from Mark she forgot to use the bathroom and had to tap dance out excuses about why she had to go again for real so soon after her last trip.

I thought about Mark and his recent fish fetish.

I could make a pretty mean stir-fry, but all those veggies and health stuff made my people cry, and started them setting up interventions for me.

That and as a mid-sized dude who liked hitting the weights, I needed something like a hundred and eighty grams of protein per day just to maintain the physique.

So, no, no vegan options for me without devoting nearly my entire day to eating just to pull in enough calories to sustain weight and muscle mass.  And I could never get fish past my nose, let alone my lips, it just never grew on me as an acquired taste.

The scary part was that I could do my best with intermittent fasting.  Starting by injecting coffee all day from waking up until noon.  Then switching to water.  And then closing the day by eating two to three pounds of steak a night.

I could wake up the next morning and the body was ready to go.  As long as I did not go overboard on the calories I could burn fat and pull in the cut.  Protein loading was just one of those things that worked for me.

It was not for everyone.  And some people’s bodies rejected it, like my dad’s.  But once I started, the cut started laying into my muscles like never before in my three meals-a-day life.

All this escapism stuff I was doing was probably not healthy either.  It was really time for a drastic change in my old life, or I would rot for another thirty years and then die of a heart attack at sixty-something!

It was always weird how fast the end of the night showed up when you were caught between manic levels of work and escapist fantasy.

With the orders for food in I spent my two hours a day doing my actual job, and supervising the kitchen.  Of course with all the crap Mark left undone, I could only get out to my job after the rush was waning, because all the processing deadlines for next-day delivery happened to correspond with the middle of the dinner rush.

So since Mark did not do it during the day, I had to pick up the slack before the order-receiving shut down.  Or I was going to have to make a run to a big-box store and buy what we needed on my credit card, and then expense it back to these assholes to finally reimburse me three months later.

And fuck that noise!

Service could suffer if the chef does the manager’s job before his own.  Because these jerks were not getting any more hundred and twenty-day interest-free loans on my interest-charging credit cards.

As the diner rush abated around seven in the evening, the doors were locked from the outside and I was making my rounds.  We still had two tables, with only ten people in total, polishing off their bottles of wine and desserts.

Everyone was doing their side work cleaning up the menus and stacking the chairs on the tables for the cleaning crew to do their work at night.

I made it to the bar, just in time to see Mark staggering out past the front windows facing the sidewalk.  He flopped himself into his temporary handicap-placarded sports car.  The engine thrummed to life straining the noise-maker mufflers leaving the rumbling echoing around the concrete canyons of downtown Houston.  He tore down the street in his car, leaving far too little time to fasten his seatbelt first.

I just shook my head with a sigh as I finished at the host station and rounded into the bar.

I walked into the bar just in time to see Julia well into her mimed hand signal routine to the cameras.

She started with the international distress sign, by waving both her arms over her head.

She also liked staring up into the camera that had just spent the last four hours staring Mark in the face.  She nearly threw her arm out pointing at the bottle she had not touched all night.  Then I watched as she pulled out the inventory sheet and pointed to where that bottle was listed.

She repeatedly slapped her hand into the clipboard, right where the pilfered bottle was listed.

I strolled in and begged her, “Jules, cool it, girl.  There are still people here.”

She hissed back, “Fuck that noise!  I ain’t hangin’ for him!”  Then went right back to tapping the inventory sheet indicating where the bottle had been when she closed the night before.

She suddenly shifted her attention to the bottle itself.  Julie sawed her finger across the line where the bottle had started much higher before Mark attacked the amber liquid.  She finished as always by tossing the sheet down on the bar top, scribing the change, and then tossing the clipboard inventory sheet back under her counter.

I picked up the bottle for her and strolled around the bar, keeping myself cool and composed, the exact opposite of how I felt.  Right up until I gently slotted the bottle back onto the shelf.

To back Julia up, I looked into the camera too, long enough to make it pointed, before turning away to finish my receipts paperwork duties for closing and cashing everyone out.

My mind wandered again while doing the tedious paperwork.

As a Texas boy, I idly considered while doing my evening close out, if I wanted to open my own steak place or a barbecue place.  Anything else, and my friends and real family joked that they would run me out of town on a rail!

I could cook a pretty mean fajita, but nobody gave a shit about that from me, because I liked my beans too bland to be any good for a Mexican place.

And as much as I liked them for the most part, there was no way I could pass for an Asian to open a Vietnamese-style noodle place or Chinese place.

What would I call an Asian place?

‘Alexander’s Dimsum’?

That idea was just pretty stupid.  It just sounded dumb.

And I liked steak too much.  Sometimes I grilled other stuff, but steak was the best.

Glancing over my shoulder to make sure that no one was ghosting behind me, I muttered to myself, “I’m so fuckin sick of this place.”

So I withdrew the invitation to the party.

I could survive this freak show three whole weeks before Halloween!

I could use some R&R for sure!

I don’t even really drink anymore.  But just thinking about going to a party at Liam’s ranch made me think happy thoughts, and getting blasted sounded awesome right about now!

Liam’s place was big enough that I could sleep on one of the loungers by the pool and drive home sober in the morning.

Decided, I threw my RSVP out to Liam, via text, figuring I would eat before going to his shindig.

His acceptance arrived via text only a few seconds later with another cryptic reminder, “Cool!  Got you marked down as coming!  Thanks.

“And dude, don’t forget to bring a treat to appease the spirits, or you’ll be in deep shit.”

I simply LoL faced him and sent, “See you there.”

 

Continued on the next page (link below).

xxx-fiction-story-disclaimer3

For more books in this series and other projects, please visit: https://dougfbooks.com/a-u-link-books/

 

*This story has NOT been edited by this site. The opinions/views expressed in this story (and in any comments) are those of the author and do not represent this site. We support freedom of speech. This story was submitted directly to xxx-fiction.com and is published here with with author’s permission, but we claim no copyright over it. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

2 comments

  • Chef73

    Very good story. Thank you.

    Reply
    • A.U. Link

      Thank you Chef73!

      I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      This just went up today and I was taking my first look at it, but your comment beat me to my own review of the story posting. 😉

      There is more to this story. But there are a few projects that need completion before I finish the rest of the book. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before the rest is finished.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »