The dray pulled up to a stop outside the back of the building, the reverse of the restaurant showing a more industrial brick feel than the imposing rococo frontage. Instantly a pack of under-chefs and scullery boys boiled out of the back doors, to have sacks of potatoes and other vegetables thrown onto their waiting backs. As each was laden down they hurried off, to be replaced by the next in line, no time to waste at this the busiest time of year. The smaller staff were almost flattened under their burden, but it was all hands to the pump, and no one was spared this arduous task. Each sack was called off as it was tossed off, and a tally kept by the dray foreman and the Sous Chef, recording each item to be charged.
No one noticed when one laden figure turned left at the side of the dray instead of right, and for some reason, the driver was looking in the other direction – some remembered well their urchin days. A second turned the same way, followed shortly after by a third, then after a pause, a forth. The rest of the goods reached their intended destination safely, and the Sous Chef reported to the boss that all was well, they were fully stocked for the Christmas season. It was not till the day itself that they realised they were inexplicably short of potatoes, and anyhow, any Chef worth his salt knows how to stretch shortages – you just fry it golden brown, give it a fancy name, and they think they are getting their moneys worth.
Back in the hideout, the urchins lay around exhausted, the weight of their burdens having worn them out. A huge sack of potatoes, and smaller ones of carrots, parsnips and onions rested in the corner, testament to their efforts. After all, though they had a natural aversion to vegetables in the general course of things, Christmas diner would not be the same without all the trimmings….