Original writings by Adrienne Nater

Steaks Galore


End of the school year. The time for Award assemblies, banquets. I was assisting at the Boys Athletic Association Awards Banquet. The cafeteria manager came to me, flustered. Clutching papers in one shaking hand, pale, tears forming, teeth clenched, lips pursed.

"Miss Nater, we’re about to run out of steaks. I don’t know what happened. I never have ordered short. But this year I didn’t do the ordering, Coach T insisted on doing the ordering, he could get a better deal, the Boy’s V.P approved the transaction. Before the banquet Coach brought the steaks himself."

"Where’s the purchase order?"

"Right here. Look, it indicates the amount of steaks, way, way more than enough but it doesn’t match the number we’ve cooked and served. I don’t know what to do."

I did not like or trust Coach T. His past purchase orders were suspicious. His inventories routinely didn’t add up. But he only answered to the Boy’s Vice-Principal. Other stories had floated up to me about his inappropriate behavior, but nothing actionable. He was the coach of a winning football team, one of the untouchables; protected by a system that was beyond my reach.

"You say that he brought in the boxes of steaks?"

"He and the V.P."

"What kind of car does he drive?"

"It’s the blue Chevy sedan parked behind the cafeteria."

"Come with me. Bring along a flashlight."

Out to coach’s car. One moment of light was all it took. Stacked in the back seat were boxes. It was unlocked. In the darkness, we carried box after box back into the cafeteria. None of the women doing the cooking batted an eye. They smiled, unloaded the steaks, cooked and served.

The party was a grand success. But the best was yet to come.

There was a substantial surplus of steaks. I instructed the cafeteria women to divide up the steaks among themselves, put them in their cars, then finish up their work, and plan their own family barbeques.

The banquet ended, guests departed, Coach T, walked through the cafeteria kitchen stopping long enough to thank the crew and disappeared out the back into the parking lot. We continue to work, waiting. Moments later.

The back door slammed open, Coach T. raced through the kitchen, gasping, pale, shaking, lips quivering, mumbling incoherent words; we heard:

"Buck, Buck (that’s the V.P.) they’re gone, they’re gone!"

"What’s gone??

"The steaks!"

Then both men came charging through the kitchen. No one even looked up. They came dashing back, looking around.

"Great banquet Coach, is there a problem?"

"No, no, no."

I could make out a few of the words being exchanged between the two of them, like, "robbed... damn …... how’d they know…? Jesus…" They left.

"Enjoy ladies."