This is a true story. I know that you will probably not believe that it happened, but it did. I have no reason to fabricate such a tale.
I had just graduated high school and the summer was ahead of me. I was not from a family who planned on having any responsibility, let alone children, so I was left to fend for myself. I somehow managed to get a scholarship into a small college, but had no money for food, rent, or anything else. I applied for a part time job with a Chinese “Eat In or Take Out Your Choose” restaurant. I think they hired me because their number one son became a mechanical engineer with one of the military branches and they just needed someone who spoke English.
This “part time” job turned out to be 60+ hours a week. I was literally a starving student, so I loved all of the extra hours. Mr. Lee, however, turned out to be a nasty little man who hated his life and would never give me a meal without charging me.
Well, I took the job and it was baptism by fire during the first day. They had two phones and three drivers. The phones rang nonstop. The drivers were stealing cans of coke. And Mrs. Lee was stealing cash from the register.
Sometimes a “family friend” would bring boxes of some sort of seafood, with the ice cubes melting all over the already slippery floor, and after his delivery would walk through the kitchen, stealing some of the take out orders which were almost ready to go. Because of his sticky fingers, these food orders had to be re-done. I didn't like this guy at all, because he always brought in hard core porn magazines, which he always kept showing me while I was on the phone taking food orders from customers. He always smelled like Bud Light and he must have learned to speak English by watching t.v. because he words sounded like a re-run of Miami Vice. I never knew this guy's real name, he kept telling me to call him “Jimmy Money.” What A Jerk.
This Chinese restaurant was a mad house. And in the summer time heat, you could easily lose consciousness because the tiny building had no air conditioner. But, the money was good, I needed the hours, and it was close to my apartment. All and all, not the worst job I had ever held, up until this one day when I wanted to scream.
I swear to you that this is true. I came into work a half an hour early one day. I hadn't planned on it. I was just up earlier that day and my room mate was starting to pluck my nerves, so I just went in to work early.
I got to the restaurant and walked through the kitchen and to my horror, there was a wooden crate on the floor, but instead of being jammed with cabbages, the way it usually was, it was stuffed with kittens!!! There were so many kittens in this box, they couldn't''t even move. They were screaming in those high pitched squeals that kittens make. It was the most horrifying thing I have ever seen. I could not believe it. KITTENS ! ! !
Like everyone else, I had heard rumors about the kitten toes being mixed in with the beef and broccoli, but for I never actually believed it. But now, in front of me, on the floor was a wooden cabbage crate, secured with duct tape, holding together a lot of baby kittens! In the kitchen of the “Eat In or Take Out Your Choose!”
I quickly called my roommate and told her to drive by the back of the restaurant, and beep the horn when she gets here. She kept asking me what is going on, and I shouted at her into the phone, “Just do it! Damn It! Bring the car around to the back NOW!”
25 minutes later, I heard the horn. I picked up the crate, stuffed with frightened baby cats, after slipping on the kitchen floor, and as fast as I could, awkwardly took them to the car. My room mate screamed and opened the car door. She said, “Don't tell me.... What the fuck? They REALLY do cook kittens...”
I yelled at her, “Just shut up. Get them out of here.” After putting them into the car, I slammed the door, and calmly walked back into the kitchen. I don't know where my room mate was going with all of them, but at least they were not going to be on the chopping board with the bok choy.
Mr. and Mrs. Lee were walking from the front parking lot, through the front door. I almost peed my pants. I just knew they were going to ask me what happened to the missing kittens. I didn't know what I was going to tell them.
If you can believe it, they didn't even notice right away. Mr. Lee read his newspaper from Hong Kong, always with that Foo Man Choo mustache, as if were smelling something bad.
Mrs. Lee went to the kitchen and started chopping the vegetables, as if nothing had happened. It was too quiet. It was driving me crazy, why didn't they ask me about those kittens which I had just stolen from them. They were now speaking in Chinese. Were they going to call one of the relatives to beat me up or kill me because I knew the truth about the secret ingredient in the fried pork rice? What is going on? Should I just run out the front door? The suspense was over whelming. I thought I was going to fall down.
FINALLY what seemed like hours, which had only been about 20 minutes, Mrs. Lee stopped chopping vegetables and started shouting at Mr. Lee, in Chinese. I could only imagine they had realized that the kittens were missing. It was the moment of truth. Mr. Lee got up from his newspaper, walked into the kitchen. There was shouting in the Chinese. Then Mr. Lee picked up the phone and there was more shouting in Chinese. He slammed the down. He returned to the kitchen to continue speaking with Mrs. Lee. There was a discussion. Then, silence. Nothing.
I was trying to look innocent by keeping busy by putting the dried rice noodles into the tiny wax bags for the take out orders. They both came out and looked at me. This was the time I could feel the swear coming out of my arm pits like Niagra Falls. Mr. Lee asked me, “Did anyone come into the kitchen this morning?” I was silent. I could not think. The space time continuum was frozen. I don't know what invisible force made me say it, but I spoke, “Jimmy Money. And I think he took some kind of box with him.” Mr. Lee started screaming. Mrs. Lee picked up the phone and called someone. I could breathe again. The feeling came back to my hands.
I didn't quit that job, but I did make an anonymous call to the food inspector, the t.v. station who covered these types of news stories, and PETA.
PETA never showed up. The food inspector did show up and left after five minutes. The news people showed up, all they did was order a moo goo gai pan and moo shoo pork. I never saw Jimmy Money again and suspect that he may have lost his financial arrangement with the Lee's.
For the rest of the summer, I kept my eye open for any kittens which may mysteriously turn up in the kitchen, and never saw any more. When I finally left for college at the end of August, the restaurant was finally closed for good. Mr. and Mrs. Lee had failed to file their income tax returns and didn't pay rent for the previous year. I later found out that Jimmy Money did get fired, because I falsely accused him of stealing kittens, which were probably going to end up in some unsuspecting person's dinner. He got blamed for the feline theft.
After Note: My room mate cut the crate open to count over 32 kittens, which were squished into a tiny wooden crate, so much so, they couldn't move. They were packed in there like sardines. Three kittens who were stuck in the bottom of the crate were dead. Seven kittens died before the end of that day. This left 22 baby cats. We kept five, and miraculously adopted out the remaining 17.
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- I applied for a part time job with a Chinese “Eat In or Take Out Your Choose” restaurant.
- I got to the restaurant and walked through the kitchen and to my horror, saw a crate stuffed with kittens!
- I had heard rumors about the kitten toes being mixed in with the beef and broccoli, but for I never actually believed it.
- I called my room mate and told her to come quickly, picking up the create of baby cats and slipping out the backdoor.
- I kept my eye open for any kittens but never saw any more.
- Mr. and Mrs. Lee had failed to file their income tax returns and didn't pay rent for the previous year and the restaurant was closed for good.