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chapter three: late night soup

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"Mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get."

~Forrest Gump

Kelsey could hardly believe her eyes.

When Chef Romano said "movie set", Kelsey had pictured a dingy studio in the midst of concrete, but the sight before her was otherworldly. The title of the movie was "A Summer in Paris".

There was a French café set up on one realistic-looking street, complete with flowers and a bicycle propped against the glass window, and a suburban house across the street, as well as a synthetic park that possessed foam trees and a metal bench.

All of it was within a few feet of each other.

And the people mulling about were so focused. Groups of what Kelsey assumed were extras, crowded together studying a script or listening intently to a coordinator explain where they needed to be.

Blinking, Kelsey pulled her senses back to reality and studied the directions on her phone.

"Building 4A..." she murmured.

"4A?" Someone next to her asked.

Kelsey turned and gasped.

The woman standing beside her was covered in blood and half of her face was rotting off. "Sorry honey, I'm making my way to another set. But 4A is up this street and two lefts away."

"Oh," Kelsey tittered nervously, "thank you so much. Uh, you look amazing. Have a nice day."

She hurried down the fake street, turned left two times, and arrived at a yellow building that wasn't much to look at, except for the mural of 1920's men and women dining and dancing at a restaurant painted on the side of the wall.

"Huh," Kelsey uttered, making her way inside.

The lobby was made of glistening tile and expanded into a dining room that could seat at least a thousand people.

It wasn't crystal chandeliers or ice sculptures, but the red fold-out chairs and gracefully tied-up plastic tablecloths were charming and easy to clean, Kelsey wagered.

Would this whole room be filled with movie stars come lunch-time? And would they be eating her food?

A harsh voice jerked her out of her reverie.

"Who are you?!"

Kelsey swung her head to the side to see a large, red-faced woman standing in the doorway of the kitchen

"I—I'm Kelsey Harris. For the internship?"

"Uh-huh," the woman huffed, hooking her thumbs into the pockets of her apron and unashamedly sizing Kelsey up from head to toe. "Come on, what are you waiting for?"

She gestured for Kelsey to follow.

Her fast, Italian accent was cutting and shrill, but it made Kelsey move double-quick.

"You may call me Chef Romano," the woman said, turning her back as soon as Kelsey was near, and leading her into the kitchen. "From now on you will use the back entrance."

"Yes, ma'am."

"And you'll wash your hands after every unsanitary task. If you poison the whole of Los Angeles, you'll be fired before you can tie your apron strings. Speaking of—"

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