It was pretty obvious which was going to be the office door and which would be the store area.
“May I help you?”
“I presume you are Howie Kernan?”
“I’m Jerod Shrimpton, the owner.”
“Oh, so you're the boss. I'm pleased to finally meet you. I had thought I'd meet you during the interview but you didn’t …”
“I guess that makes sense.”
“So, when did you actually start?”
The business already has forms and manuals? I had no idea. Still, best not to let Howie know that small detail so I nodded my approval. “That sounds good. Things might be a bit slow for another couple of weeks but I should be arranging our first shipment soonish.”
“I feel like I'm sitting here wasting company money,” Howie told me with a rueful smile.
“No, don't worry about it,” I told him. “Better for you to be acquainted with the place then come in after the first shipment and have to learn it all at once.” And the Company has deep pockets when it comes to long term investments. I'm not worried, he's not wasting my dough.
“You’re the boss, Mr Shrimpton.”
“I wanted to be far far away from the place where the girl of my dreams told me 'Let's just be friends.' I tried to stick it out but every time I saw her, a hole opened up in my heart." I could see the memories flickering though his mind. It was obvious that his feelings for her had run very deep. "A new town, new people, and a new job is exactly what I was looking for.”
“I’d recommend the Red Rendezvous then. It's the local drinking hole and the place where everybody meets.” I stopped to think for a moment. “Might even be some live music tonight.” It's been too long since our band had a session. I should head over and try to set one up. “Your day here is over. Go home or go to the pub.”
“Jerod, will you be in tomorrow?”
“Maybe, but probably not. Have a few things to get ready before heading overseas for a deal. I might pop in to the storage area and have a look.”
"Not much to see right now. No one has been around to clear out the rubbish yet."
I took a cab over the Red Rendezvous. The place was still quiet but I could feel that the crowd was soon going to start arriving. While I'm fond of the bar, my favourite part is the next floor up. There's an open mic area useful for band practice and a dance floor too. There's also a hot tub over in one corner, courtesy of Mr Dennis Racket. I should see who will come skinny dipping with me after practice, shouldn’t let that lovely hot tub go to waste.
Who am I kidding? I share that tub with Tania or not at all.
It wasn’t long before the rest of the band turned up. I drum, Tania is our lead guitar, MJ plays keyboards and Tatianna plays bass. We can lay out some good music these days and it won’t be long before the crowd downstairs wanders up here for a listen.
“Let’s do this thing. One, two, one, two three,” I started drumming - setting the rhythm for the music. In a couple of beats, the rest joined in following the pace. Tania is obviously the star of our band. I swear that woman could coax the stars from the skies with her music, if that happened to be her desire.
We played a good solid two hours, mostly just our usual set. A few oldies, a few recent, and Tania sneaks in a song or two that she’s written. A few people appreciated the music enough to donate some money to the band.
Cassidy seemed to really be into some of those new songs. She was cheering like there was no tomorrow.
After the sets, I had a chat to MJ. It’s been too long since I did.
“MJ, you are as gorgeous as ever. How are you?” Ok, I have to admit it. I flirt with MJ to watch her blush. She blushes so easily.
“With you around, cutie, how could I resist?” I noticed Tania had noticed and was not at all happy with my actions. I gave her my best innocent shrug though I don’t think she really quite believes it.
"I'm not talking to you. How could you?"
"It's page 23 paragraph 5 in the Bad Boy Manual. 'Flirt without mercy.'" I gave her my best roguish grin. "You have known since forever that I am a bad boy."
She shook her head. "What am I going to do with my bad boy?" There was a look in her eye that suggested almost all was forgiven.
"You rascal, that's not going to teach you anything useful."
"Well, maybe not but I think we'll both have fun."
It took some more coaxing but it was worth it. Tania is a beautiful woman and there is no one I'd rather share the hot tub with.
“Shrimp, you owning a business?” she giggled. “I know, I’m being rude but,” she paused giggling harder.
“You don’t have to tell me, Sweetheart. Worse, Ted says it’s all legit, which is just so not me. Can you imagine me as a corporate suit?”
"So Tania." I paused, a moment too long.
"I know, sweetie. And it's a trip to France, how could I ask the love of my life to pass up on that."
"I've forgotten. It must not have been important."
“No, not today.” I started typing the text.
I need to do a little bit of shopping tomorrow before. I have an idea about how to handle it if Tania not only wants to go overseas but also wants to accompany me while I tend to the business part of the trip. I hope just the travel will keep her happy. However, I don't think my lovely wife is going to accept that as a proposal.