Sally was surprised when she was approached at her final weeks at the culinary academy by a tall, grey countenanced man with a clipped English accent. He inquired if she had as of yet secured a position for after her upcoming graduation.
She said she had not and the man handed her a business card, and said that his “master,” would very much like to secure her services as a private cook. This was a bit of a surprise for Sally, as she had seen herself working in a fine restaurant or five star hotel, not a private home.
It seems word had gotten out of the “Grey Man’s” approach and the interview she had booked at the Michelin star restaurant that she had arranged, was abruptly cancelled. Other fine establishments didn’t even return her calls.
In desperation, and with student loans to consider, she rang the number on the card. The same chilled, clipped voice answered. She indicated that she was willing to accept an interview. The man, without asking her location, said a car would call for her within the hour, and the line then went dead.
Sally waited on the doorstep of her apartment block and forty minutes later a classic black Rolls Royce pulled up before her. A sharply dressed chauffeur stepped out and opened a door for her, not a word being uttered.
They drove into the country-side and soon imposing walls, and a iron gate bearing a huge coat-of-arms came into view. The passed through the gate and after travelling what seemed a mile down a long drive, the mansion came into focus.
On arrival she was met by the grey figure and led to a room next to the kitchens and told that these would be her premises, and that a footman would be sent to collect her things from her flat.
“Isn’t there going to be an interview or something?” she objected not knowing quite what to say.
“No, Master has reviewed the transcripts of you work at the academy, they are quite adequate,” he said matter of factly, then turned and left.
“Quite adequate,” what does that mean, Sally thought with a moment’s stirring of anger, but then she paused and took a breath. She then placed her messenger bag on the bed, and then stepped into the huge kitchen. As she entered two young women in maid’s uniforms curtsied and said, “Good afternoon, Chef.”
Sally nodded to them speechless, and then took in the long shelves of polished pots and implements. It truly was an amazing collection.
“Chef,” one of the women said sheepishly. “Maybe you should go get changed, as it is nearly time to prepare Master’s evening meal.”
“Change?” Sally questioned, and then realised she was had put on a nice skirt-suit thinking she was on the way to an interview.
She returned to the bedroom where she found a folded chef’s uniform, in the correct size, laying on the mattress. There was also a contract on the pillow which stipulated a rate of pay she could have only dreamed of.
Donning the chequered trousers and smock she went to the kitchen to find a note saying the Master desired lemon chicken and rice for his supper. She dutifully prepared the dish and was pleased when the serving maid returned the empty tray and said that the Master had enjoyed the meal.
The next morning she prepared an elaborate breakfast for her employer. Eggs Benedict, gammon ham, and cloudy apple juice graced the tray. Lizzy the serving maid returned a few moments later carrying the toast and jar of marmalade.
“Master cannot abide oranges,” Lizzy said apologetically. She then went and collected a jar of lemon curd from the larder. “He always has this for breakfast, and he would like lemon sole for luncheon,” she added.
It was then that Sally realised she was in the employ of the mysterious “Lemon Lover.”
I am Padre of Padre’s Ramblings. In my life’s journey I have been a preacher, teacher, and served in the Forces. I am also an ecclesiastical historian, and theologian. I am married to my soulmate and am a father and grandfather. All have given me insights to things spiritual, and of things human. I am a public speaker as well, and have recently taken to writing poetry and short stories.