A new entry in the Omicron Matter – Return to Times Past. Michael Richards has been told by Liam to stay with Millicent. But Felicity has other ideas and Jason will be with Millicent regardless. In the kitchen, Michael finds that being the serving staff is just about the same anywhere in the galaxy.
This is another long section with some back story. My editor particularly liked Felicity reminding Michael of his roots. We have a relative who lives in El Salvador and they have a full house staff (maids, kitchen staff, a chauffeur). There is a language barrier, but Hello, Please and Thank you go a long way as does taking my own dishes into the kitchen – although I think I mess up their system.
I am about 2/3 of the way through writing the next chapter. Some sections write easier than others. I have enough backlog that I am not too worried about breaks. The blog will be working on postings on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well. Felicity is back (yeah!) And I have some book reviews stacked up.
Thank you for your support. Look for more on Friday.
When Staff Meet
Michael shook his head and snorted as Liam left with the Kalish assistant. The thought that Millicent would need protection was farcical. She needed his protection as much as he needed Felicity to sharpen his pencils. He took a drink and watched Millicent converse with the old man. As they talked, the tension of the garden left Millicent. The Guild bastard made his excuses before the meal. Millicent had spent the entire meal in conversation with Halboor Sigmund. Michael could see there was genuine affection in his eyes and Millicent was equally pleased to talk to him. Sigmund leaned over and whispered something in her ear. Suddenly she sat back and stared at her plate. Sigmund patted her on the arm and called over more drinks. He watched as Millicent poured herself a glass of the green liquor. She shook her head, biting her lower lip. At that moment, Felicity tapped his arm and said, “Michael, help me clean these dishes.”
Michael shook his head, “Sigmund’s staff are handling that.”
Felicity said slowly while gripping his arm tightly, “Michael D. Richards, are you telling me you are too important to clear your own dishes?”
Michael shook his head and thanked God Liam was gone or he would never hear the end of this. “Of course not dear.” He stood up and gathered his plate. He looked at Jason who winked and waved him on. Michael cleared Liam’s and Tiitus’s plates as Felicity gathered serving dishes.
Save for the appliances, the kitchen could have been the downstairs of a Belgravian town home. Felicity was speaking with the head maid as they scraped food from plates and saved leftovers. Other staff were putting dishes away. Michael moved over the cleaning area. Another large Kalish man was running the dish cleaning machine. He was big in a rotund way with shorter red hair. He took the dishes, scraped the food into a container and then placed a set in the dishwasher and closed the lid. The machine began its process which took less than 3 minutes.
The big man took the stack of dishes out, set them aside to dry, and started a new set. He glanced over at Michael, “Ain’t never seen dishes washed?”
Michael shook his head hard and said, “God no. Spent most of my early years at the sink washing plates. I hope never to clean a cheese casserole again.” The dishwasher grunted at the stack plates waiting to be cleaned. Michael found an apron and said, “What’s the process?”
The large man, “All the food is sent to the composter. This planet is so low on nutrients, everything goes into the soil.” He pointed to the machine, “No rinsing necessary. Cleans and sterilizes in minutes. Uses a fraction of the water hand washing takes.” He handed Michael a towel and said, “Just need to dry things.” Michael began his work.
The dishes and cookware kept coming and the two of them worked constantly. Michael would glance over at Felicity who seemed deeply engaged with the head maid and was writing things down. The dishwasher said, “Glad Miss Morgaine stopped by. She looks good. Mr. Sigmund brought her here after the Uycarran troubles. Quiet one. Didn’t say a word. Then just as she started to open up, them damned Guild would hall her off for some propo run.”
Michael asked, “propo run?”
The dishwasher spat contemptuously, “Propaganda tour. It’s when they decide what truth is.” Michael’s eyes got big. “I got no worries. I’m a dishwasher – can’t take me much lower. Anyway, Mr. Sigmund got her that ship to work on. It took years to get it to work, but she stayed with it. She never complained about chores and always helped us staff. I was sorry to see her go.” He stepped away from the cleaning station and leaned against a counter to admire the clean dishes. “Can’t say I blame her.”
Michael was drying and placing dishes as directed, when Millicent came in. Everything came to stop. The staff stared at her. Finally the dishwasher said, “It is a blessing to see you again, Miss Morgaine.” Ice broken, several of the older staff crowded around her and exchanged hugs and greetings. Millicent managed to ask about children or favorite activities. She glanced at Michael and seemed to beckon him.
When he was close enough, she said into his ear, “I am worried about the engine cooling cycle. Can you and Felicity run some checks on the engine? Here are the areas I am worried about. Halboor will help us out when we need it.”
Michael said, “Sure. I don’t think we are needed here.”