Sunday, February 26, 2012


Angelo Von Walker was good at a lot of things. But the one thing that he prided himself with was his job. Even if the job wasn’t paying enough to efficiently support his needs. But he learned to live without junk food, soda or even his favorite bad habits. This job was almost perfect. But there was one tiny detail that prevented him from really loving his job.

“Angelo, stop slacking,” his manager said.
“The store is clean, the customers said they didn’t need help, I’ve restocked the shelves. There’s nothing to do,” he replied.
“You can sweep the floor,” he demanded.
“I swept already.”
“No, you didn’t.”
“Whatever, fine. I’ll sweep again.”

Angelo isn’t the type to stand up for himself, not because of a lack of backbone. He just saw no point in arguing with the person who hands him his pay slip every two weeks. He knew he was a great employee. The customers he served testify to that.

“Hey, Angelo.”
“Hey, Martha. Good to see you again.”
“Thanks, things okay with the boss?”
“Oh, it’s always like this. He just doesn’t like me standing around.”
“Is there any work for you to do?”
“No. But he seems to think otherwise.”
“Doesn’t he just sit around and complain all day?”
“Pretty much. Will that be all?”
“Yes. I’ll be paying by cash this time. If you ever get sick of this place, I could use a hard worker like you at the shop.”
“Thanks, I’ll hold you to that. But it might not be for a while. I like this place, even with the boss breathing down my neck every minute of the hour.”
“Think about it.”
“I will. Have a good night, Martha.”
“You too, Angelo.”

He spoke the truth when he said he liked the place. He’s been working there for so long that it’s become a second home to him. The other employees always look to him when they need some troubleshooting. And quitting would feel like he’s letting his manager win and letting his pride down.

“Angelo.” His co-worker, with beach blonde hair and blue sky eyes, emerged from the manager’s office with some paperwork in her hand and walked over to Angelo’s counter. Angelo was staring at the wall, leaning on the counter.
“My father giving you a hard time again?” Olivia, who works part time at the company, every Tuesday mornings and Friday nights, was also the manager’s daughter. After working at the store for almost a year, the two of them have gotten close. But they only really talk when they’re either at work or at a company party. Though usually, they close up shop on their own on Friday nights. She has time and time again stood up on Angelo’s behalf. Unlike Angelo, she’ll speak her mind and the manager usually backs off, for the time being. But that’s likely a reason why he’s gotten more aggressive against Angelo.
“No. Why?” Lying was his forte, but Olivia seems to see right through him, most of the time.
“Ken told me you guys were at it this morning.”
“It was nothing,” he lied. She leaned on the counter, imitating his stance.
“I’m sure you’re lying.”
“It’s not like he’ll fire me.” He glanced at her. Her eyes drew him in, turning his glance into stare. She had eyes that seemed as bright and as blue as the endless sky they mimic.
“Of course he won’t. You’re the best employee we’ve had. And with what we’re paying you, I’m surprised you haven’t asked for a raise, ever.”
“Plus I’m assistant manager. I make him look good.”
“Hey, I’m assistant manager too.”
“Yeah, but you’re only here twice a week. I’m here for forty five hours a week. That’s like a little over a third of my week at work.” As much as he hated to admit, work has become his life. He’s given up most, if not all, kinds of recreational activities that he used to participate in.
“You spend more time sleeping.”
“If your father had his way, it’d be different.”
“Don’t I know it? He used to be kind, you know.”
“When? Did dragons rule the earth when your father was kind? Did he lose his kindness because dragon’s aren’t around anymore? Enraged at mankind for the genocide of such savage and beautiful creatures?” He jested.
“Ten points for that wonderful Skyrim reference. And ten more points for reminding me that I’m such a dork.” Olivia smiled. Angelo tried not to reflect her smile. It was that smile that won his feelings. Feelings that he didn’t know existed anymore. Feelings that he doesn’t know what to do with.
“We should close up. It’s already past closing hours. We don’t want our customers to think we’re working harder than they are.” Angelo walked away from the counter they were leaning on and locked the door.
“Aw, that means I won’t see you till Tuesday. I really like these intimate moments with you, Angelo.” These things always confused Angelo. He is never sure if she’s flirting with him or being friendly.
“Don’t break the rules,” he said underneath his breath. He’s never had the best of luck when it came to romance. Angelo had a habit of falling for the “not available” type of women. And even so, the fact that they denied him his desire made them more alluring. This rule was to prevent relationships, from intimacy, to get away from anything he deems unnecessary socialization, to oust himself from society. He found himself happier when he applied the rules. It made sense to him, though he’s sure that anyone else would consider it strange.
“What’d you say?”
“You confuse me.”
“How so?” She tilted her head slightly to the side and stared blankly at Angelo. His back was still turned to her, so she couldn’t see the frustration on his face. “I’m not following you.” Her expression became serious. She couldn’t understand where this sudden frustration was coming from. “Angelo?”
“We are in each other’s presence for sixteen hours a week. We average two hours of conversation that does not revolve around work. We are just co-workers. Why do you act like we’re much more than that? I don’t want to pursue anything more than this professional relationship. So please, just stop sending me these signals.” He stopped himself from letting those thoughts slip through his mouth. “Nothing. Never mind. Well, it’s still early; we can grab a late dinner, if you want.”
“Sounds good. Let me get my jacket. Did you drive to work today?”
“I walked.”

As they exited the store building, the cool breeze welcomed them. Olivia unexpectedly reached for Angelo’s left hand as he locked the door behind him. Angelo sighed and turned to face her. He was going to ask her why she’s holding his hand. But Olivia caught him off guard with a kiss. When their lips parted, Olivia let his hand go, and strolled to the seat of her car. She placed the key in the ignition, started the engine, and turned on the lights, blinding Angelo. Even though Angelo could only see Olivia’s silhouette, he knew she had a smile on her face.
“Change is happening again, isn’t it?” Angelo shook his head. “I guess so.”

Angelo woke up to the smell of bacon and eggs and the sound of someone whistling. He jolted up, in a confused state. What the fuck happened last night. All he could remember was entering the establishment, ordering an order of yam fries and everything else was a blank. Looking around, he knew he was in his room. There were clothes left on the floor. Some of the garments he recognized as his own, but there were some that were not meant for men. Downstairs, he heard whistling. Last night must’ve been so much fun. He thought. Angelo ran down to the kitchen and saw a woman with red hair tending to the stove with her back towards Angelo. That can’t be. Bewildered, he rubbed his eyes and looked at the woman again. This time, she had beach blonde hair, with a black polo shirt buttoned up half way and jeans that looked quite familiar. It was Olivia. We’re seeing things again, are we?
“Olivia…?” Angelo was unsure of himself. He was hoping that he had guessed right, otherwise, he predicted that the contents of the pan would immediately gain momentum and altitude and find his face.
“Morning, you. Breakfast is almost done. How do you like your eggs?” She turned around confirming Angelo’s guess.
“Sunny side up.” Angelo was still bewildered. He barely remembers the night but he knows for a fact that he did not have eggs or bacon in his fridge.
“Might want to put on some clothes. Though, I always eat breakfast in my underwear too, so I wouldn’t mind.”
“You can give mine back then, since you’re accustomed to eating in your under garments.”
“If I took these clothes off, I’d be naked.” The table was neatly set. There were two plates placed across from one another with utensils on top. Olivia completed the set by placing the recently cooked food in between the two plates, creating symmetry on the table. Olivia motioned Angelo to take a seat. Angelo went back upstairs to put on some clothes. “I wouldn’t have minded the scenery.” Angelo grinned, but Olivia had no way of knowing that.
“Fill in the blanks. I don’t remember all of last night.”
“Where do you want me to start? What did you remember last?”
“For all intents and purposes, let’s start at the beginning.”
“You don’t remember a thing, do you?”
“I do, but it’s nice to hear your side of the story.”