They Hispanic guys were shouting something in Spanish, and the Polish guys were shouting something in Polish. There were two camps in the kitchen. Not competing camps, friendly camps, at least usually.
The boss walked in and the shouts gradually became silence, except for the clanking of pots and the hissing of the dish washing machine. The boss would put on an American smile on his face at times like this. He raised his hands in an appeasing motion.
“What is it guys? What is this all about?” He was standing in a aisle between the two groups. They parted a little bit more to give him more space.
One of the Hispanic dish washers started explaining something frantically in his language. None of the Hispanic crew spoke any good English. And of the Polish crew, only one guy was communicative.
“What is he saying, Igor?”
“Something about beans, probably,” the boy laughed.
“Yeah, that’s very funny. What is all this about?”
“Nothing, Rich,” said Igor, his Polish accent exaggerated, “They were just saying they want to stay and clean up at the end of the day, and we said we want to do it, so they can have some time off. They insisted we should have some time off and…”
“Hey man,” Rich had taken off his American smile and his honest face appeared, “I gotta know if there is going to be a problem. We got two hours to lunch and there’s gonna be three hundred today, so I would appreciate if you guys could handle it after work.”
Igor said something in Polish to the guys behind him, then a few words in Spanish to the others. “Sorry, Rich. One guy just said something about another guy’s girlfriend and we were just teasing. We will go back to work now. Right?”
Everybody nodded. Someone said “Yes, boss.” Someone else “Lunch is be ready.”
Rich did not put on his American smile again, it was not like him to be honest and he knew the guys are not buying it anyway.