english breakfast
Easy Money
by Lin Whitehouse

It was one to covet, that Saturday job, in a run-down
workman’s café, little more than a lean-to tucked
behind the High Street shops, in an era when
Health and Safety did not exit. Curly’s was still

open when we walked home from school, we
stopped to play the pintable, the only one
around, and drink coke. Curly, whose pate was bald
except for a few wispy curls resting on his shirt

collar, took a shine to me and offered me the soon to be
vacant position. Thirty-bob* to work nine until two on a
Saturday while every other job finished at five-thirty.
I did not hesitate to accept. First in were the milkmen,

twelve of them, regulars, full English with mugs of
tea. Refreshments were my domain. The boiler was
too hot to touch and the water scalding when I opened
the tap. Curly added sugar to orange squash so a

thirst was never quenched, and he mashed
margarine with the butter in an enamel dish, unless he
suspected an inspector was snooping, and then
he always left his roll-up unlit behind the counter;

ordinarily it would be hanging carelessly from his
bottom lip and ash would fall into the frying pan alongside
the bacon, eggs and tomatoes. If a slice of bacon missed
the pan Curly plucked it off the floor, wiped it on his

greasy, once white apron, and cooked it, throwing me a
sideways wink. The postmen liked sausage sandwiches
with plenty of brown sauce and a slice of homemade
jam tart. Sometimes they played double or quits, three

card brag to settle the bill. It could go either way, but
win or lose I was always paid and I kept all the tips. By
two all the washing-up had been done, the tables wiped
down and the floor swept. I could eat whatever I wanted

but I was never tempted.

*Equivalent to £26.25 in today’s money.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I felt I was so lucky that Curly asked me to work in the café, after all these years I still remember with affection my Saturday mornings serving the workman who came in regularly for their breakfast. If only they only knew what went on behind the counter!

Lin Whitehouse @ Ricl Stien's

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lin Whitehouse lives in a small English village. She works for a children’s charity and writes at every opportunity. Her poems have appeared in Turbulence, Writing Magazine, The Great Gatsby and Nancy Drew Anthologies (Silver Birch Press) and short stories have been published in Whitby Abbey Pure Inspiration, and The Finger. Her short plays have been performed around East and North Yorkshire.