Meeting Mr. MogulBy: Mel Ryle
When the customer got up from his table, I got a full view of him. He was tall, for one thing. And I was right about his muscular build. He stood straight, indicating an aura of confidence. I wanted to hurl and crush that confidence, though. One thing I knew about men like him is they wear their arrogance like armor and think that people who aren’t in the same social class are beneath them.
As the man got out of the restaurant, the thick air of unease around me suddenly lifted. I let out a sigh of relief. I couldn’t help wishing that the man never came back. But if he does, I’m glad it’s the manager’s sole responsibility to serve him.
After the restaurant closed, the staff lingered as the manager called our attention for a meeting. My guess was it had something to do with tonight’s encounter with Mr. Asshole. And my suspicion was confirmed when Reyna was called. I felt bad that the whole staff was present while the manager scolded her. It was like watching a strict professor scolding a student about a failed exam. Not a good scene to watch.
“Everyone can go,” the manager said after his lecture. “Andy, can I talk to you for a minute?” he added as he looked at me, gesturing me with his finger to come forward.
Some of the staff lingered for a while, but walked away when the manager and I stood there, watching them all walk out of the room. I caught Terry’s eye and gave him a small smile. In reply, he smiled back and mouthed something that seemed like ‘Your key’.
“I’m so sorry about my outburst, Andy. I could see that you were offended by it,” the manager said after the room was emptied.
I simply looked at him, stunned. And here I thought he would be scolding me. “No. It’s okay. I’m new here, so I’m not familiar with the regulars yet,” I replied with the same excuse I gave to Mr. Overconfident.
“Oh! You don’t know who he is?” he asked, looking surprised.
I gave him a shy smile. “In truth, I don’t. Should I know who he is?” I asked back and bit my lips afterwards, cringing at his reaction.
He chuckled and patted my shoulders. “That man was our boss. I thought everyone knew who he was. You lived further away from here than I thought,” he stated as he walked away from me towards his office.
I was slightly confused about what he had said. Before I could ask, he was already out of hearing range. So, I went back to the locker room without any answer. When I finished changing into normal clothes, which consisted of my white shirt, regular jeans, and black sneakers, I opened the back door and was startled at the sight of a man’s back. I gaped at the figure for a second as my mind tried to register who it was.
“Hey! Oh, sorry for startling you. What did the manager want from you?” Terry asked as he turned around.
I let out a sigh of relief and gave him a grim smile. “Do you know that man our manager served this evening?”
“Which one?” he asked in confusion.
“You know, the tall, blond, and muscular one in a black suit, looking all sexy and arrogant,” I explained further, glumly describing the man to refresh his memory.
He smirked at me, his eye twinkling in amusement. “I know who you are talking about. I was just curious about your thoughts on the boss,” Terry said after I paused to look at him.
I punched him lightly in the shoulder, feeling annoyed at his trickery. “God. You’re lame sometimes,” I remarked and shook my head.
When I moved here in the city, Terry was the only person who helped me out. For a stranger, who is not much of a stranger by now, he had grown on me. I knew him through a friend of my father, Billy (who is a very talkative, and mostly drunk, person). If I needed help or a place to stay, he told me to contact Terry. With a non-existent bank account and no savings whatsoever, I’m practically broke, which makes finding an apartment close to impossible. So, I took Billy’s advice, called a stranger for help, and lived with Terry ever since.
So here I am now, riding a motorcycle back to his flat. Sure, his place wasn’t what I’d classify as five stars (maybe two stars, at best), but it was all I’ve got. I made a place for myself in his living room couch, so I cooked for him in exchange. But I drew the line at doing his laundry when we made this unspoken contract. To be honest, Terry is a nice roommate and a true gentleman. I think that’s great considering I don’t need another man trouble, which was my first fear when I agreed to do this. I already have enough problems as it is.
“Do you want some midnight snacks?” Terry asked when we finally reached the apartment building.
“You just had to ask now that we are already home,” I replied sarcastically after taking my helmet off, which he bought at a garage sale. It still reeks even after I’ve washed it twice, but it was better than nothing.