Mission: Chapter 10: Brakes on a Train
"Where is that damn boy? There are no clean plates left!" The head chef in the restaurant carriage was getting red in the face.
"You sent him to get clean towels, chef," one of the cooks answered, while cutting carrots into thin strips.
"Well, why isn't he back yet?" The head chef stood motionless in the middle of the kitchen. Around him cooks and waiters rushed about, serving the first and second class passengers the best food the train could offer. There was no answer to that question of course, not unless Laurence came back with his explanation.
At the very same time, Laurence was struggling to find the right kind of towels in the supply closet. Not like it actually made any difference whether the towel was white or yellow - they were all worn-out anyway, but he had to adapt to his chef's orders.
Laure had applied for several jobs in the past few months after he was left homeless. He managed to gather up a nice sum of money working as a newsboy and running errands for the local post office, but it offered him no accommodation. He had left for the Old West, where he had hoped to find work in a tavern or a saloon but Instead, he was hired as kitchen staff on the train already. First he felt like the fortune had kicked him hard, but it soon turned out that it was his boss who was to kick him around.
Laure was getting really nervous, finding all kinds of cooking and cleaning supplies in the closet, but no white towels. He knew that he had already spent too much time searching. It would have been better if he actually stayed in there and locked the door in this situation: he wasn't going to get a nice greeting when he went back into the kitchen. But he knew he had no choice. He couldn't even think about quitting as his current chef's horrible references would replace all the good one's he had previously gotten. And so he went back with the yellow towels.
"H-here are the towels. I could only find yellow ones, sir..." Laure said, handing out the towels to his chef.
"Yellow? I told you I needed the white ones!" The chef took the towels and threw them back at Laure. "You're useless, you are!
The chef looked around and noticed that most of his staff was looking at him. But one angry glance their way and everyone concentrated on their jobs again. It was not enough to calm the man down. He raised his hand and landed a few blows on Laure's face and shoulders.
"Get out! I can't use idiots in my kitchen!"
Most of the staff had long accepted that their chef was hotheaded and unreasonable. Not many understood why Laurence was the one who kept getting this kind of abuse. Bullies needed no reason, it was just satisfying to the chef to hit out at the lowliest in his group. Laure could simply do nothing right in his eyes.
The boy was shocked. It didn't matter to him whether he had just literally been sacked or if his boss was just trying to make him feel worthless; he had to get away. The question of whether this was the 'real life' he had completely missed out on so far was whirling in his head. He started crying, took his case and ran out of the carriage.