1: (On lunch creepers and the right amount of chest hair)
My head smashed against the ceiling when the sound of the alarm-clock pierced my ears for the fifth time that morning. I don't immediately recognise the apartment. Had I slept with some groupie again?
Then, I remembered. The villa was sold, Sam the capybara was adopted by Pablo and I now lived three streets away from my mother. All thanks to voice-cracks.
I looked at the Dell laptop in the corner of the dirty room with squinted eyes. It had all started with that damn thing. My first Youtube-video, featuring myself, singing under the shower, as a result of a dare.
I had never longed for a singing career. Honestly, I had never longed for a career in general, but after my video went viral, an agency heard potential in my voice. In no time, I had to perform almost every day. Although I hadn’t exactly dreamed of being a singer, I had been flattered by all the attention. Besides, the pay had been good.
All that money had been invested in myself, and occasionally my mother, which was the only reason it hadn’t completely cone to waste.
Now that I didn’t have a job, I needed something else. This morning was one of the rare occasions this actually got through my thick skull, which was usually shut up by liquor.
Either way, I couldn’t make a living out of my voice anymore. I had a nice voice, but I had never exactly learned how to use it. The company that had hired me had only been interested in using me, not providing me lessons of any kind. And I was now too broke to invest in them.
And my looks, which had helped tremendously in gaining fans, had faded after a lack of cardio and diets. The result of that was a fat, bearded 21-year-old guy with blood-shot eyes with a disoriented look in them, dressed in tartan pyjamas. Without underpants.
Every parent-in-law’s nightmare.
It seemed to me, that it was about time –now that I was actually sober- to look for a job. At least to stay alive. I was confident that nobody would recognise me when looking like this, which actually was an advantage considering my fall from grace in the music-industry.
Well, maybe the press would recognise me, but most of them had given up after my popularity had ceased. Just like I didn’t care if they would find me like this, for I had already lost everything.
Or so I thought, as I grabbed the old Dell laptop and started looking for job offers.
I sighed in relief when the dirty old man finally closed the door behind him. I had dubbed him The Lunch Creeper, because he came around at least four times a week, asking for my address. And obviously, because he always did so during lunch. When he leaved after hours of torture, he would remove the Jack Daniel’s leftover from his moustache with the back of his hand and unstably walk out the restaurant, leaving me questioning myself why I had to deal with him every single time, as well as I had to deal with Janet’s constant teases about it.
When The Lunch Creeper had left, the bell rang once again. A young man who looked like a hobo came walking in. I assumed he was about my age. He was fat, and his beard and hair were a mess and he looked around in a surprised fashion, like he hadn’t realised he had been walking towards a restaurant until he had actually found himself there.
“Good afternoon, sir. Can I help you?”
He looked at me like a deer in the headlights –it surprised me how blue his eyes were- and shook his head.
“I am here because of the vacancy. I have an appointment with Miss Raspenning.”
‘Miss Raspenning ‘, or Marie, was, obviously, my boss. Her arms were as muscular as any bodybuilder’s and her temper was just as big as her heart.
“Follow me,” I said as I strode towards the door behind the bar, that led to the kitchen, where Marie was just enlightening Dave, the chef, about her latest blind-date.
“I mean, I couldn’t even see his skin anymore, that’s how much chest hair he had! And it was so dark was well. Is that even normal?”
My boss fell silent when she saw the guy with the beard, coughed, and strode towards him in a resolute manner. I saw a trembling muscle underneath the fat one’s eye when Marie shook hands with him.
“Olivier Perez.” Something about his name sounded familiar, but I couldn’t exactly recall why. Dave, evidently, could, for his eyes grew wide as saucers. Marie’s expression didn’t change though, she was critically examining Olivier. Like she had done with me, a long time ago.
“We’ll talk upstairs,” Marie said when she had seen enough.
“Natasha, please call Janet to ask her what she has done to the broom this time? Those people at table 20 apparently failed to eat in a normal fashion.”
She shrugged, sighing. Olivier Perez seemed to have lost the ability to move. Had that guy even stepped foot in a restaurant before? Or was he just permanently astonished?
The last assumption seemed more likely. Wasn’t it a common thing to eat in an ordinary restaurant like this?