Roy’s Raise

“Nope,” Roy chuckled. “Ain’t no one in this town even used the word ‘interesting’ in years.” He answered the short man in a dark suit. The stranger and his tall partner were the most interesting thing he’d seen in a decade; and, they weren’t that interesting. Just new. The short man approached Roy at the till while the tall man walked toward the manager’s office.

“Tell me a bit about you,…,” the short man glanced at Roy’s name tag. “…Roy. What’s your favorite number?”

“Well that depends,” Roy grinned. “Number of what?”

“I meant your favorite actual number, but that’s okay,” the short man said. “Not everyone has a favorite. New question: Do you know anyone named Mundo? Maybe they run a bar or a tattoo shop or something?”

“Oh yeah,” Roy replied with a nod. “Mundo had a pretty lively place several years ago. Looking back on it… we get a lot fewer new faces around here since she left town.”

“Oh really? And when did she leave?”

“She’s been gone about 10 years now, I believe,” Roy said.

“And when did your boss start working here?”

“Allen?” Roy thought that jump from Mundo to Allen was a bit strange. “Uh, few years ago I guess.” Roy’s eyes rolled up while he thought back on the time frame, then he nodded. “Five years in September,”

“Are you familiar with any AlterNet entertainment in the area?” the short man asked.

“Goodness no,” Roy said with a slight gasp. He leaned over the sturdy wooden counter and lowered his voice to a whisper. “This ain’t that kind of town,” he said. “I’m sure you city boys are used to an active nightlife, but you won’t find that here.”

“Oh, we’re not staying in town long,” the short man said. “We’re looking for someone.”  Roy tilted his head at the man and noticed his appearance for the first time. He wore a well-fitting black suit with a crisp white shirt and black tie underneath. He looked like a movie secret agent with a matching secret agent partner presumably questioning his boss.

“Am I in danger?” Roy asked. The question was part joke, part longing. He hoped he was finally part of something interesting and maybe fantastic.

“That’s a matter of perspective,” he stranger replied. “Do you see a couple of businessmen searching for the right guy to be our CEO? If so, my partner is giving him a job interview right now.” the stranger said.

“Or do you see a pair agents from a parallel universe tracking down aliens that may or may not be dangerous? That’s an interesting perspective that I think my partner might prefer; it makes him look like the best negotiator in the agency.”

“No matter how you look at it,” the short man shrugged with a smile. “My partner is going to walk out of that room with your boss. And the three of us are leaving together.”

“Parallel universe?!” Roy laughed. “Boy you city types are creative.”

“Take care of yourself, Roy,” Roy’s laughter was interrupted by his boss. Allen was a tall, lean, pale man with sunken eyes.

“Hey congratulations on the job, Allen!” Roy clapped for his boss.

“Th.. thanks,” Allen glanced at the short man and got an explanation with just a short nod. “Don’t worry about a thing, Roy. They’ll tell my family everything. You just keep coming to work,” Allen said as he shook hands with Roy one last time. “And congratulations on your raise,” he said as they parted ways. Allen followed the short agent out of the store.

“Raise? What raise?” Roy shouted.

“I got you $15 an hour,” the tall agent said as he walked by.

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