ODE TO THE BOSS

(Author’s note: My friend Jen and I worked at Bonnie MacGregor’s Cafe in Strathalbyn in 1989, Jen as a waitress and me as a kitchen hand. It was a particularly trying time for us as we were both struggling single parents and the work was very welcome. Our Boss was strict, thorough and a lot of fun. This poem was my birthday present to Her and depicts one day in our working life there.)

ODE TO THE BOSS
or (affectionately)
‘SHE WHO MUST BE OBEYED!’

She gave me ten hours,
she gave Jen ten, too.
Well, sort of you see,
but that story will do.

She laughed, joked and swore
while I dunked, washed and wiped.
She told me she’d smack me.
If she does, she’ll get swiped.

When she’s in a bad mood
she kicks bins and breaks vases,
which is better we think
than kicking our little arses.

She’s good with the customers,
serves them cheese, meat and more,
‘cept the twit who buys scones.
“Not the bag, dear, just four.”

Jen serves all and sees all
with great style and wit.
Here comes tall, dark and handsome.
Says Jen, “I look like shit!”

She runs into the kitchen,
does hair, face and lippo,
then sashays out, smiling.
Says he, “Where’d the other girl go?”

A new man comes shopping.
Jen serves him with coffee,
then says to the minions,
“Hands off, this one’s for me.”

He’s got a nice smile
and eyes that twinkle.
Jen checks in the mirror.
“Shit, there another wrinkle!”

That doesn’t stop her.
She has her own motto:
“A legal-eagle in hand
is like winning X-lotto.”

They sit, talk and laugh.
He invites her to sup.
She whispers to me,
“My number’s come up.”

Gabby pops in and says,
“Don’t you lot ever work?”
We try to convince him.
He responds with a smirk.

Says She, “We’ve been busy,
you may count today’s money.”
Says he, “Aw, I know
You wouldn’t lie to me honey.”

Betty is here now,
organising and changing.
She knows how to do things
and sets about rearranging.

The Boss says, “Sure Mum.”
Jen’s smile is quite warming.
They go on as usual,
politely ignoring.

Here sits dapper Dean
in his tight cycling gear.
Says he in falsetto,
“Is my bun ready, dear?”

The flies are a problem,
so the Boss got fly-zappers.
The flies didn’t die,
but we all went crackers.

She nearly spilt coffee,
I broke cup and glass.
Jen poured milk all over
her tits, bum and arse.

She’s a pretty good boss,
perhaps better are made,
but they didn’t employ us
to get our bills paid.

As long as we do right
by Her and MacGregor’s,
She’ll ensure Jen and I
are not poor homeless beggars.

C. A. HOCKING
29 January 1989

 

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