Meeting Mr. Mogul

By: Mel Ryle

“This must be your night, Andy. No douches yet, and it’s almost nine,” Terry remarked when he passed by me as I got a tray of orders from the counter.

I rolled my eyes at his words and stuck my tongue out like a kid, which only compelled him to tease me more by mentioning what I said last night.

“So, you have a thing for tall and muscular blonds?” he asked as he stood next to me as I punched in an order.

“Really? That’s what you’re using against me?” I asked him in disbelief when I finished.

“Yes. Why ever not?” he asked, talking in a British accent.

I raised an eyebrow and smirked. “If you were straight and talked like that to a girl, she would swoon,” I remarked with a menacing grin, voicing my counter attack. I would not let him get away with teasing me about that.

“You know we can talk about men, right? After all, I am —” he explained, trying to reason with me.

“Don’t even start, Terry,” I interjected, shooting him a deadly stare, as though I was daring him to contradict. I know that he doesn’t like talking about his relationship (even men in general) and only opened up the topic to tease me. Besides, he knows that I had almost zero contact with men since my father and I came to the city for his treatment. And I had a good reason for my lack of dating prospects.

“I wasn’t saying that you should sleep with the guy, Andy. I was only implying that he was your type,” Terry stated, sighing in defeat.

I looked at him, feeling slightly guilty for getting worked up. “I know what you mean. And yes… maybe, once upon a time, he was my type,” I admitted reluctantly.

Terry was about to tell me something else when the manager interrupted by telling us to stop chitchatting and get back to work. Well, there goes the immunity I thought I had due to yesterday’s incident.

That night, I decided that I would tell the manager I had to change my shift to accommodate my new job. However, it dawned on me that I had no idea what the job was about. So, I had to wait for Terry to finish his shift since he was the only one who knew about it.

I immediately asked Terry about the job when I saw him outside our locker room. I had to be quick, too, because he might forget the subject if I delayed mentioning it.

“You’ll be working at my friend’s club. And if you are wondering, yes, it is the club I always go to at night,” he replied with an evil grin.

“Are you really that desperate to get me to a club that you had to kill the previous worker to get me this one?” I asked after I regained my wits from that revelation.

“Yes. I am,” he replied with a booming laugh. “Actually, the previous worker got this new, hotshot job in another state and disappeared when he got hired. He was a prick, so I told Jack about you. I also told him you play nice as long as no one messes with you,” he added after he slightly calmed down.

“Good. Bartending it is,” I said in defeat. I looked up at the heavens for a second and shook my head in disbelief. I can’t believe I’m doing this out of desperation. And I am desperate for a job.

The ride to the club wasn’t long, maybe ten… fifteen minutes tops. When we arrived there, I got off Terry’s motorbike as he was turning the engine off. And after I carefully took off the helmet, I found myself studying the exterior of the club. There was a huge neon light sign above the door that read ‘Black Jack’. The walls outside the club were made of brick and painted black. All in all, the place was very gothic chic, but it smelled like trouble.

“Are you sure this is it?” I asked nervously, which was hopefully drowned out by the noisy people lining outside the club.

“Yes. Come on,” he replied as he took my helmet and gave me an enthusiastic smile.

When we reached the front door, the guard simply let us through without asking who we were. I looked at Terry with my eyebrow raised, alarmed at how easily we got in. With his hand holding my wrist tightly, Terry dragged me towards the bar. I was too mesmerized by the dim lit room and the sea of people in the middle of the dance floor before I noticed the bartender.

“Jack, this is Andy. Andy, Jack,” Terry shouted close to my ear, which made me abruptly turn towards the man behind the bar counter.

In the dim light, I could only make out a small portion of his features. He looked like a guy in his forties, with dark hair, grey highlights, and a scruffy beard. But it was his deep, dark eyes that drew me to look at him longer than usual. His stare was stern yet weary, a stare I was quite familiar with. It was the kind that had seen a lot of things in this world that normal people had not. It was the same as my father. At that very moment, I gave him my respect.

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