“This doesn’t feel like a promotion,” Roe sighed to himself. He took a moment to appraise the two-story, red brick building. A red neon sign flashed “Donna Chang’s” on the second story. It did not look like it needed an ounce of work on the outside. it looked rather ancient, but still in perfect condition. But, the age of the exterior gave him plenty of worries about what horrors lay within.
It was an uneasy morning so far. Roe showed up at the work-site, but the foreman pulled him aside before he got started. His first words put a damper on Roe’s whole day.
“You’re not working here anymore,” his boss said. When Roe immediately demanded to know what he did wrong, his boss laughed; that didn’t help Roe’s mood. “Kid, you’ve gone and done everything right. In six months, you’ve learned more and worked harder than guys that have been with me for years. That’s why you’re getting this promotion and they’re not.”
“Alright,” Roe nodded. He was ready to listen now that his livelihood was intact. “What’s the job?” The foreman grinned and handed Roe a red business card. It was embossed with a golden dragon, and golden text read, “Donna Chang’s” with an address, but no phone number.
“A Chinese restaurant?” Roe asked.
“That’s just where you’ll make contact with your new foreman. She owns the restaurant.”
“How is this a promotion exactly?” Roe asked. The foreman always made him feel like he could speak his mind.
“Higher-level clientele willing to pay big bucks for discretion. Not only that, there are fringe benefits you wouldn’t believe. I’m putting a lot of trust in you by putting your name up for this,” the foreman patted Roe on the back. “Trust me, you won’t regret this.” With that final encouragement, Roe made the drive out to the restaurant.
After a few minutes of waiting in the car staring at the building, he finally opened his door. He crossed the street and entered the restaurant. A small, tinny bell jingled when he opened the door then a short, elderly woman walked out of a swinging door at the back.
“Hello, Roe,” she said as she approached. She reached him and introduced herself with an outstretched hand. “My name is Donna Chang, and I’ll be your foreman from now on. Are you ready to work today?” She asked with a stern voice. Roe nodded.
“Yes, Ma’am. I was already at one site before they sent me here.” She giggled lightly.
“Good good. No work for you today. I just wanted to know if you were ready.” She pulled out a card-sized rectangle of glass. “This is a node. Consider it your schedule and your pay. It functions like a credit card and a cellphone, learn to use it.”
“Credit card?” Roe asked. It seemed kind of unusual that she didn’t need his bank information. After his question, he realized his previous boss, Joe, probably sent all the paperwork. To his surprise, Donna nodded.
“You’re on retainer. No work today just means no work today. Joe didn’t mention the signing bonus?” she asked.
“One million dollars, pre-loaded,” she nodded at the node. “Get your things in order, Roe. Reliable transportation, reliable tools, and so on. Many of your jobs will be short notice.” Roe stopped paying attention at ‘pre-loaded’.
“One…one million dollars?” he asked. Donna nodded.
“Joe mentioned discretion was part of the job?” she asked. Roe nodded. “You’ll be working with Fae. Fairies, pixies, werewolves, vampires, and the like. I expect that won’t be an issue?” Roe’s eyes widened; he was surprised, but not shocked. He felt like he was suddenly given permission to believe in the things he knew were real all along.
“Alright,” Roe grinned. “I’m 100% on board. So, you seem wise,” Roe added. “Any ideas how I can thank Joe for this awesome promotion?”