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Rated: E · Short Story · Contest · #2105226
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Amy wiped her eyes, looked around long enough to see who was still standing. There were only three people left at their stations.

Johnny Smythe, the slime ball. He always thought he was better than everyone else after he bought that used Harley. Thought he paid his dues working in Burger King when he was eighteen. He lasted only three months, wasn't able to follow orders. It's too bad his personality isn't as good as his looks.

Mable Kauffman, lots of miles on those old bones. Sweetest little old lady I've ever met. Ran Kauffman's Bed & Breakfast for years, until her husband died two months ago. I hope she finishes before Johnny.

Then there's me. Amy Knight. Just turned thirty on my last birthday. I'm used to feeding over three hundred enlisted men and women, three times a day. I really miss that. I only have the potatoes and onions left. No sweat. I got this. The winner will get $5000.00, and a job at Giovan's Restaurant. I need the money and this job very badly. I've been without work for two months now, I don't want to use up my small savings. I have to win. I need to win.



Look at Amy smiling like she's already won. Not gonna happen. I got this event rigged. My brother-in-law is helping run this thing. I warned him, If I didn't win, I was going to tell my sister he was sleeping with Amy, and that's why she won. He isn't, but my sister loves me, and will believe anything I tell her. Always has, always will.

And now, the bane of my life, Mable Kaufman. The old bat. Ratted me out to the authorities for taking a baseball bat to her mailbox. I was just a kid. That's what kids do. My parents made me pay for a new mailbox. I had to work at Burger King to pay for it. The good thing was, I earned enough money to finish paying off my new, used Harley. I don't want the job at Giovan's. Hell, why would anyone want to work in a smelly old restaurant. I just want the money to glam up my bike. Damn these onions, I should have saved them for last. My fingers burn something awful. How is Amy able to keep going? She's peeling like a robot, she's not human. I will probably never eat another potato or onion again. Even these stupid spuds burn.



I hope Amy wins, she was always a sweet thing. Helped me in the vegetable garden every summer until she joined the Army. I would have hired her to help me with the B & B, but Edgar's funeral expenses left me in debt, and one person short to run the business. I'm not able to do it alone. Edgar was the bookkeeper. If I win the three thousand dollars for 2 nd. I'd be able to finish paying for the funeral, reopen the B & B, and then hire a part-time bookkeeper.

That boy Johnny was always a trouble maker. He and his friends would go around at night and tip over trash bins. Spoiled rotten by his big sister. Always took his side whenever he got into trouble. He never learned humility, or how to love anyone but himself. What a shame. I'm almost finished with these potatoes and onions. I see Amy is already finished. Good for her. That's right you ungrateful young man, keep peeling.



"Times up everyone, utensils down. Time to tally up and find our winner. Judges are you ready?"

"Yes we are."

"Good. You may begin."

"Amy, Mable, Johnny, please step away from your stations while the judges tally up the potatoes, and onions. The other vegetables have already been done, these will then be added to the final total. There are two judges per station to keep everything honest."

"Ladies and gentlemen. Out of twelve, we have these three left. We'll now be able to feed a lot of homeless people and shut-in seniors this winter. I would like to thank all of you, for your time and effort. Those of you who are not one of the top three, will not go unrewarded. You will all get a free dinner for two at Giovan's Restaurant."

(Applause)

"It looks like the judges are finished. Are you all six in total agreement?"

"Yes we are."

"May I have the envelope please? I always wanted to say that."

(Laughter)

"In the 3 rd. position, is Johnny Smythe. A one thousand dollar winner."

(Applause)

"Our next winner of three thousand dollars, goes to Mable Kaufman."

(Applause)

"And finally our Grand Prize winner is Amy Knight."

(Applause, applause)

"Amy do you have anything to say?"

"Yes Mr. Flemish, I do"

"I wish to thank all the businesses that helped to sponsor this event. Thanks to Giovan's for allowing me the opportunity to work in his restaurant. I'll work very hard for you Mr Giovan, and I hope to learn a lot from you. I want to open my own restaurant someday. Thanks again. Mr Flemish, do you need another person to help prepare all these vegetables? I'm used to preparing enough food to feed 300 plus. I'll be glad to help."

"I'm sure we will be able to fit you in."



"Mable, I am so glad for you. I know things have been hard these last two months."

"I meant to thank you Amy, for all your help with the funeral arrangements. I've been down-in-the-dumps lately. These winnings give me a lot of hope for the future. I thought the B & B was gone for good, but now I have enough money to keep it running."

"Glad to hear that. I know Mr Kaufman did the bookkeeping. If you need me, I would be glad to help with that when I'm not at the restaurant?"

"That would be wonderful, Amy. I would even pay you for your time."

"No need for that, Mable. Just a hot tea every now and then. You're the nearest thing I have to family. After my parents died, I enlisted. I felt lost, needed purpose in my life. The Army gave me strength to go on. The house was rented, so I just sold off everything else and put the money in the bank. Pretty soon I'll have enough saved to finish my training, and open my own restaurant.

"I'm glad for you dear"



"I told you what I would do if you didn't help me win. I wanted that $5000.00. You're gonna be sorry when I tell my sister that you slept with Amy."

"Go right ahead. I told her last night, what you wanted me to do for you. At first she didn't believe me. So I asked her to see for herself. Honey, talk to your brother."

"Johnny, why would you do such a thing? I'v loved you all our lives. Stood up for you, even lied for you, to our parents. Now you want to make trouble between me and my husband, and for what? So you would win a prize. From now on you're on your own. I will no longer help you out if you get into trouble. I'm done with you."

"But Ginny, Matt lied to you."

"No he didn't. I spoke to Amy a little while ago. Matt and Amy don't even know each other. She's been in the Army these last 6 years. Just returned three months ago. I saw her, and you peeling all those vegetables. She definitely won. You spent your valuable peeling time looking around to see what every one else was doing. That was stupid. Next time, work harder. It's about time you grew up. Stop acting like a spoiled brat."

"But Ginny."

"Forget it, I'm done with you. Now get your butt over there and help prepare the food. Do something for others. Volunteer your services, make yourself useful. Be a man."



The day was exhausting, yet fulfilling. The beef stew, heavenly. The fresh, baked bread, superb. The wind blew harshly tonight. Everyone needed warmth, and full bellies. I didn't think I was hungry, until I smelled everything simmering. I was a pig, I admit it. There was plenty to go around, and even leftovers for tomorrow.

I start my new job the day after the Holidays are over. Giovan's is not open today. His employees are home with their families. I am here with friends and the only family I have left, Mable. Matt and Ginny have gone home to their two kids and left Johnny here to work. He frowned for a while, but soon warmed up to the reason we peeled our fingers raw. Maybe his heart will warm up to the plight of others, and won't be so self indulgent. Time to turn down the lights and head home, with Mable. She gave me a room at the B & B until I find new digs. God bless her.

Season's Greetings. Amy.





1499 words
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