“Listen up!” Eileen Eniss, restaurant manager climbed on top of a stainless steel industrial flatiron griddle, then looked down at her employees. “Post-Purge check-in is over. I’d like to thank you guys for not calling in today.” She smiled at the crowd of eight. Three cooks, three waiters, a bartender, and a hostess were more than enough of a crew to open. Eileen reached into the pocket of her dark slacks and pulled out a small yellow square of paper. “I’m sorry to say that the following people are no longer considered employees. We’re assuming they’re dead.” Eileen gave a sad, accepting shrug. “But, even if they’re not, they missed the check-in.” She brought the note up and read their full names, to honor her friends.
“Luis Gallegos.” Eileen read the first name then paused when a sad sigh ran through the crowd. She made eye contact with a tall blonde, one of the cooks, and nodded at her. “Janie, you’re assistant now, we’ll go over the paperwork later.” Janie nodded.
“Thank you,” she said. The other pair of cooks each patted one of her shoulders in congratulations.
“Miguel Jacinto, Sherry Wilson, and Helmut Roth. They were great people, and we’re going to miss them. Luckily, they were servers and I’m sure we’ll be back up to full soon. Today probably, with the job rushers. Anyway, alright. Let’s get this thing open.” She clapped twice, then crouched to climb down.
“Hey, what about Stubby?” One of the waiters asked.
“Oh.” Eileen paused, then stood up again. “Shit, I forgot about Lance. Well, he didn’t call, so he’s dead,” she shrugged.
“But does anyone know what happened to him?” A red-headed girl asked. Her question caused a murmur to run through the group until all the other employees stared at Janie.
“Thinking back on it,…” Eileen started to speak, and all eyes turned to her. “The day before the Purge you seemed a bit friendlier to him,” she locked eyes with Janie again. A small blush overtook her face, and the girl gave a half shrug.
“He’s actually nice if you get to know him.” A rasping sound came out of Janie’s throat as she tried to trap the laughter bubbling up from her belly.
“Bullshit. Was it you?” Eileen asked. The girl’s smile grew to connect her ears, and she nodded.
“Uhuh.” A roar of disapproval erupted around her. Arms were flung into the air, feet were stomped, everyone was disappointed. Eileen sighed, then reached into her other pocket. She pulled out a thick, green roll of bills then tossed it to Janie.
“It puts me in a bad spot to be without an assistant manager for a week, but you won fair and square. Let’s do your paperwork before you leave.” Eileen cocked her head towards the office, then crouched again to climb down. “The rest of you, make some calls and see if anyone wants a job.”