What a Nice Guy by Phil Torcivia

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Fifty Shades Shadier - Chapter Six

I manage to clear a slew of emails and enjoy a late-morning workout before it's time for my interview. After cleaning up, I grab my iPad and a certain "gift" for Bea, in hopes I see her later this afternoon.

I valet at the Hyatt and go to the lobby. As I enter, a server walks past me in a huff, with smeared mascara. What's going on here?

Grandma didn't specify where I'd find her, so I walk through the corridor looking for a parked broomstick. The bellhop stops me.

"Mr. Silver?"
"Yes?"
"Boss is waiting for you in the lounge," he directs me.
"Thank you."

I check my watch--12:02, almost exactly on-time. That should impress her. I round the divider and find her highness standing next to another woman who could almost be her twin. They're both reviewing a printout and look up in eerie unison.

"You're late, blobber."
"Two minutes? Jesus. Nice to see you too."

The woman next to Grandma is the same height, same hairstyle, and the same rimless glasses on her nose, except ...

"This is my restaurant manager, Kazuko Origami."
... she's Asian. I extend a hand, which is ignored as usual.
"Why you late?"
Yes, it sounded more like 'rate' to me.
"Huh?"
"Why you late?"
"I had to wait for the valet."
"Bad excuse."
"I'm sorry, is this woman a replica of you, made in China perhaps?"

Kazuko kicks me in the shin.

"Ouch!"
"Not Chinese, fuckwad. Japanese!"
"Fine. I apologize. I was just trying to be funny."
"Not funny. Here," she hands me a polo and a server's apron, "you put this on."
"Actually, I'm here to interview Ms. Aspinwald."
"You put this on."
"Ms. A? What's this about?"
"We had to let a server go, which has left us short. We have an important luncheon beginning in the Marina Room, and I told Kazuko about your gracious offer to help."

I stand there incredulous, considering my options. The Manager glares at me while holding the uniform. I can't let her win. It's food service. I've done this. How difficult can it be? Sure, it has been thirty years, but it couldn't have changed that much.

"All right," I agree as I take the shirt and apron. As a minor act of defiance I put down my iPad and begin removing my T-shirt.

"What you doing? You go change in bathroom."
"I go change right here. I save time," I insist. She kicks me again. "Hey! And, no kicking or I am going the get all Ming Dynasty on your ass," I tease as I flex and growl like Hulk Hogan. Naturally, she kicks me again.
"Not Chinese, brobber. Japanese. You hurry. Guests waiting."
What have I gotten myself into?

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