Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write for the HUMOR Genre (10/09/14)
- TITLE: Kitchen Ladies
By Gary Ritter
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I took my empty cup to the kitchen and dutifully placed it in the sink. After attending to a couple phone calls I left for the remainder of my day off. Tuesday bright and early I headed again for the church kitchen and made a pot of coffee. Coming back several minutes after it had brewed I reached into the cupboard for a mug. Hmmm, the shelves were bare. Had I mistakenly looked in the wrong cabinet? I opened the doors of the next one and the next, looked futilely in the sink and the dishwasher. Nothing. I tapped my fingers on the counter. What could have possibly happened to all the cups?
Withdrawal symptoms were beginning to kick in. I needed to solve this mystery. Looking longingly at the full pot waiting to be poured I went back to my office. The board had thankfully provided me with a list of all key church volunteers. What were the names of the kitchen ladies? Ah, Eleanor and Mary, mother and daughter, faithful helpers for many years.
I dialed their number; Mary answered and I identified myself.
“Hello, Pastor, what can I do for you?”
I explained my dilemma: hot pot of coffee waiting, nothing to pour into.
“Ah. Mother and I had to take drastic action.”
“Perhaps your mother never taught you, but we expect people to clean up after themselves.”
I had no idea what she meant and told her.
“Well, for the past week you’ve used cup after cup for your coffee, left them in the sink – dirty – expecting someone else to take care of your mess. We dealt with it because you’re new, but yesterday was the last straw. We’ve removed all the cups. You’ll have to use Styrofoam from now on.”
I couldn’t believe it and – God have mercy – slipped somewhat in my Christian grace. I ranted and raved, threatened and cajoled, but Mary wouldn’t budge. Finally I said, “We’ll see about this.”
Leafing through the directory I placed a series of calls to my deacons, calling an emergency meeting for that evening. This would not stand!
When I presented to them the obstructionism I’d encountered that morning they – to a man – were at a loss. Harry, the longest serving deacon said, “You want to take on the kitchen ladies? Are you crazy?”
I spluttered a little at that and demanded justice. Harry shrugged, pulled out his cell phone, and stepped from the room. When he returned he said, “I spoke with Eleanor. She and Mary are willing to negotiate with you. They have a list of demands.”
“They’re holding the coffee cups for ransom?”
“That’s about it.”
That really steamed me. “And you won’t do anything about this?”
Harry said, “Sorry, Pastor. They’re in charge of the kitchen. You want to drink out of their mugs, you’ll do as they say. They’re willing to come over and settle this with you right now.”
My jaw clamped shut as my fingers drummed in frustration on the conference table. My first crisis, and it had come to this. Humiliation before my entire board by a couple of ladies who were supposed to be angels.
I bowed my head, a sigh escaping my lips. “Okay,” I mumbled.
Their list of demands wasn’t too long and I had no bargaining chips. They got everything they wanted, first and foremost that I’d wash and put away every cup and dish I used. Ultimately it was a small price to pay. Peace was established and I didn’t have to drink from Styrofoam.
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