Trudy was excited. Well, actually, Trudy was more nervous than excited but she wasn't going to let anyone know it, especially her new co-worker Karen Baines. Trudy had discovered that Karen was not a very friendly person. Trudy had been working at the restaurant on The Strand for more than two weeks now, but it was her first Friday night. She knew it would get very busy, much busier than it had been while she had been on the 11 am to 5 pm shift. Trudy had been told that every one of the restaurant's 20 tables would be full by seven o'clock and she realised it wasn't going to be an easy night.
Karen Baines wasn't very happy that she would be waiting on customers with Trudy that Friday night. She had had to wait two months before she had been allowed to work on one of the busiest nights of the week. Trudy thought that was because Karen was careless and that she sometimes got a little confused when there were a lot of customers in the cafe at one time. Karen, however, thought it was simply because the boss, Ms Francis, didn't really like her.
Trudy decided to check her uniform one last time. Her white blouse and long grey skirt were neat and clean, but the little red scarf she wore around her neck wasn't tied properly. She took it off , straightened it out and retied it the way it was supposed to be. Looking in the mirror of the staff washroom, Trudy was satisfied with the young woman looking back at her.
When Trudy walked into the kitchen area of the cafe, she saw Ms Francis. The older woman was busy checking with the manager that everything was in order. This was something that she did often. Ms Francis was very proud of her cafe and she spent a large part of her day making sure that her chef, dishwasher and the four waitresses who worked for her were doing their jobs the way she wanted them done - and she wanted them done perfectly.
While Karen and a lot of the other staff thought that Ms Francis wanted things a little too perfect - they thought their boss asked too much of them - Trudy felt that she was a good businesswoman and was only doing what she had to in order to keep the cafe the success that it had become. When Ms Francis had bought it five years ago, the cafe had had hardly any customers at all. Now, if you wanted to get in the door on a Friday or Saturday night, you needed to book a week in advance.
Suddenly, Trudy's thoughts were interrupted by a loud noise from the front of the cafe. What had happened? Maybe a customer had slammed the front door or knocked a glass over by mistake? But, no, the sound had been too loud for that. Very curious, but not wanting to appear too nosy, Trudy waited until Ms Francis had gone through the kitchen door before following her.
As soon as she entered the dining area of the cafe, Trudy knew what had happened; the mystery was solved. A man and woman were just putting on their coats, getting ready to leave. They both seemed very angry. The poor woman had something red all over her very expensive-looking white dress. And standing like a statue made of stone by the table they had just left was Karen - frozen! Somehow, she had managed to drop the tray of food she had been serving and splashed tomato sauce all over one of Ms Francis' favourite customers.
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The narrator describes Karen Baines as
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