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LOBSTER TART
Bjorn Ephgrave

‘The worst job I ever had was with Jane Mansfield. Ya know, she’s a fantastic bird, ya know, big tits, huge bum and everything like that. But I had the terrible job of retrieving lobsters … from her bum.’
        Not the kind of thing you hear every day whilst chiffonading basil. It was coming from the tiny Hitachi stereo in the corner of the kitchen.
        Neil, my head chef, had said something about being bored with the radio and was putting his own stuff on. I just grunted and carried on prepping, until that crude cockney voice carried over to my station, stopping me mid-slice. Talk about tears of laughter – well at least it would season the food.
        ‘What is this?’ I asked.
        ‘Derek and Clive.’
        ‘Who?’
        ‘Peter Cook and Dudley Moore characters. Funny isn’t it?’
        ‘Mental, turn it up.’
        I’d been working as a sous-chef at Café Rouge for about three months. I only took the job as a stop-gap before college started. Never bothered to enrol, though. Preferred the money over A-levels.
        ‘In general terms it was known as Lobsterissimus erm Bumberkissimus.
        The kitchen door opened. It was Carl, the deputy manager.
        ‘Oi, you two. All the customers can hear is you two laughing, pack it in and get on with your work.’ His voice yet again found that balance between shouting at us and not being loud enough to be heard throughout the restaurant.
        ‘You cunt.’
        Neil twisted the knob on the stereo, turning it down, but then turning it back up again.
        Although he was only second in command, Carl had hopes of becoming a manager, so would always be looking for ways to stamp his authority and look good in front of the boss.
        ‘Jump, you fucker, jump.’
        Neil was a lot older than me and had little regard for anyone with a name badge. He had an especially fractious relationship with Carl that had been going ongoing since before I’d started. They eyeballed each other.
        ‘I couldn’t prevent myself from having a wank immediately.’
        Carl took a step back from the doorway, allowing the soft-close hinge on the door to take effect. As the gap narrowed, he poked his head through in a desperate bid to get the last word in.
        ‘And don’t let me catch you putting lobsters up your arseholes.’