Humor Magazine

May I Lick Your Plate, Sir?

By Pearl

We are standing behind the buffet table.
We've a job to do, dagnabit.  It is 7:30 on a Friday night, and we are working a wedding rehearsal dinner in the basement of Nye’s.  Black-pantsed and white-shirted, we smile at the crowd of happy people collected. 
Starched and pony-tailed, we are a vision of servitude. 
We have also forgotten to eat before work.
The food calls us to in a seductive – nay, wanton – display of epicurean teasery.  I am relatively sure that I can hear my stomach growl above the noise of a room with an open bar.
“I will give you five dollars for one of those pieces of cheese,” Mary whispers at me, lips scarcely.  I nod and smile, hands clasped behind my back.
“And I,” I whisper, through the smile I keep on my face for these occasions, “will give you five dollars for one of those Special K bars over on the dessert table.”
We sigh.
“What about the spinach dip?” Mary whispers.  “What’ll you give me for fistful of spinach dip?”
Purloining bits of food while on the job, of course, is a no-no. 
It doesn’t stop us from talking about it.
“Do you think,” Mary whispers, “that if I were to, say, feign a seizure of some sort, that it would provide enough of a distraction for you to pocket a couple of those ribs?”
“I think that’s a brilliant idea,” I whisper, nodding at the bride and groom.  “Let’s do that.”
Mary sighs.  “We’re not going to do it, are we?”
I shake my head slightly.  “No,” I say, “but I shall fantasize about it for the next few hours.”
By 10:30, the wedding party has departed and we are running mostly-empty platters back upstairs, to the delight of the waitresses and kitchen staff milling about in hopes of snatching a bite or two.  I leave Mary to struggle with getting things to the dishwasher as I run back down to pull the remaining tablecloths and blow out the candles.
When I return, she is surrounded.  There is a slight smear of barbecue sauce on her lips.
“ – and I can count to ten, but that’s about it,” she’s saying.  She spies me.  “Hey!  Pearl!  While you were gone I got engaged!”
I look around the tight quarters.  There are three men and two women grinning at her.
“We geetting married,” one of the men says, “Ees love!”
I clap him on the back on my way to the spinach dip. “I hope you two will be very happy together,” I say.
The statement is translated to the room, and they erupt in laughter.
Mary grins.  “We done here?”
“Yep,” I say, dipping a piece of bread into the remaining spinach dip.  “We served, we cleaned, and one of us is betrothed to a man she just met."  I stuff the bread in my mouth.  "Our job here is done.”

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