“I see the nickname now – since you don’t fit the mold of cantankerous old man with hygiene problems. Well they say Elvira in real life is a red head – but Morticia has more class.”
“I know right?” Wood chimed in, “I keep telling her it’s a great name!” I sent an arched eyebrow in his direction he studiously ducked my eye contact and resumed eating.
“So you were fired yesterday?” Beatrice asked.
“Laid off. Ben, the owner, wants to expand, so to finance it – he laid me off and served me with an eviction notice. I live in a cottage in the cemetery, to keep people from pulling any shenanigans. He thinks eliminating my salary and his personal rent – will allow him to pour that savings back into the business.”, I felt frustration levels rising – trying to distract myself I started picking at an hors d’oeuvres.
“You don’t sound convinced it will work.”
Perceptive girl. “Ben is enthusiastic and willing to try new things…but he leans towards the unorthodox. I think his common sense will switch off and in the end cause more woe than gain.”
“How bad could it be?” Beatrice missed my eye roll while she looked (rather dejectedly I thought) over the menu.
Wood started laughing now, forgetting he was avoiding me – which is difficult at a three person dinner – as this was a familiar subject which he found no end of amusement in. “Let me tell!” I nodded and he went on. “A few months ago, a courier dropped off a bag at my office filled with swag – water bottles, magnets and such. I thought it was from a pharmaceutical rep. Instead the attached note asked us to keep the cemetery in mind for our patients’ future needs. He even included several glossy magazines which outlined Nevermore’s services to put in my waiting room!” Wood finished with more laughter and a wave of his menu over the memory.
Wood found it funny now, but you should have heard the call I got when he opened that package. I fielded calls from other irked doctors over the rest of the week; Ben’d sent “swag bags” to all the local physicians to try and drum up more clients. Afterwards Big Ben, his dad and Nevermore’s owner, put his foot down – all promotions, schemes or projects needed his approval before implementation.
The fly in the ointment? Little Ben (which I am not allowed to call him) manages all the day-to-day operations and feels it is better to ask for forgiveness than permission – so I don’t foresee the straight and narrow extending far in his future. Especially since Big Ben is a snow bird and spends falls and winters in New Mexico (Arizona is too trendy). I said so to the table.
Beatrice snorted at the story and ordered her dinner, “Yes I can see why you’d be worried. However he isn’t your responsibility anymore. So where will you go from here?”
I ordered at random (you can only be so innovative when your base is mushrooms – or so I thought). “I am not sure. My only asset is my car….so maybe I’ll work for FLYT? I’ve been a caretaker for the last fifteen years, I’m not sure what my resume would qualify me for.” FLYT being the new rideshare company in town. My shoulders sagged knowing what the follow up question, the same one which kept me awake last night, would be – and there it was…
“Any clue where you will move?” Beatrice asked.