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2: (On serving Ice Tea and creepy cameramen)

*

Marie Raspenning dropped herself on the pillows after giving me Bitter Lemon.

After giving me another look, she nodded.

“It takes a while to see that you are actually Olivier.”

I didn’t know what to say to that, except that I was the truth.

“That’s a good thing, for it will prevent unwanted attention. Why do you need money now? Have you spend all you earned already?”

I nodded. Was this a normal question to ask during a job-interview? I wouldn’t know. I never had one.

“On what?” she asked, a dangerous light appearing in her eyes.

“On a lot of things,” I answered, annoyed, “Food. Rent. My former pet.”

“Drugs and liquor?” she said, ignoring my answers. I was about to say ‘no’, when she made a gesture that could only mean she wanted me to shut up.

“Don’t lie to me. I know you were an addict, and even still are. I don’t care what you do after your shift, but if I notice, even once, that you are using that shit in my place, you’re out.”

After hearing Marie Raspenning’s cold voice and seeing her fiery eyes, I already found myself longing to ‘be out’, but I really, really needed money.

“Of course,” I said. I didn’t like how scared it sounded.

Marie Raspenning burst out laughing.

“I can see you understand me. You can start immediately. It’s almost twelve. It will be busy as fuck.”

She moved a hand through her wild grey hair.

“Natasha will show you around. If you have any questions, you’ll ask me or her. Don’t listen to Janet. She’s nuts.”

That wasn’t a very nice thing to say. I hoped she wouldn’t talk about me behind my back like that as well.

I remembered Natasha. She had been the serving girl with the explosion of curly auburn hair. Who had frowned continuously since my arrival. That would be fun.

Marie saw my resentful look and laughed again.

“She kinda has a stick up her ass. I like her.”

*

Olivier came walking in stiffly, which only worsened when I ran towards a family in the middle of showing him the place.

After taking in the orders of the new guests, I saw Olivier hadn’t moved since. More importantly, he was still wearing his baggy, faded jeans and his t-shirt, which featured a naked woman.

“Go get dressed!” I snapped at him.

“And go make this after.” I gave him the paper on which I had written the drinks. After that I went to the machine and selected the orders, so they would be printed in the kitchen. I didn’t notice Olivier creeping up behind me. Until I turned around to look for him.

“What the hell are you doing, man!” I said, startled.

“I don’t know where the uniforms are,” he said, shrugging.

I sighed exaggeratedly, although it wasn’t completely his fault he was still here, and told him where he could find black pants, a white shirt and an apron. When he came back, he looked, admittedly, almost like a normal citizen. But the effected got ruined by his beard.

I gave him the tray with the drinks I had decided to get myself.

“Go serve these,” I snarled. Olivier nodded and took the tray.

“Wait!”

He turned around hastily. The bottle with coke almost fell of the plateau, but Olivier prevented that just in time.

“Think. For once. You are holding the tray with both hands. That looks dumb.”

I took the tray from him and showed him how I held it with one hand, upon my fingertips. He whistled admiringly. I smiled. For a second.

Then, I gave him the plateau again. He didn’t hold it exactly the same way I did it, but at least he was carrying it with one hand.

“And keep your other arm behind your back!” I yelled.

*

“You are speaking to the Honourable Sir Vezqà, daily provider of all-round miracles, who makes the hearts of many women and gay guys burst with lust. How can I help you?”

“Pablo, you’re the one calling me.”

The Honourable Sir Vezqà fell silent.

“So?”

“Never mind.” It was too much trouble to converse with Pablo about that. It was too much trouble to converse with Pablo in general.

“I’m calling you to say Enrico is gone,” he said, suddenly dead serious.

Enrico was one of the most persistent paparazzi. Lately, he had been the only one left of the original clique that had plagued both Pablo’s life and my own, searching for stupid behaviour. When he left Pablo’s house, it usually meant one thing, he was heading for me.

I groaned. My first day at work had exhausted me –especially thanks to lack of muscle training- and I didn’t feel like getting my shit and make a run for it before Enrico would bust me doing something which could be potential material for one of his crock-stories.

The annoying thing about Enrico was that you never knew when he would take off. He had once stayed at a legal distance of my house –or villa, at the time- for weeks. I had crossed the street, seeing nothing, in sweatpants, drinking beer. Two days later, that picture started haunting me. It had meant the end of my dying career. Of course, even now, I still had ‘fans’, but the omnipresent hate and resent had made it possible to make a living out of singing. Not that I even wanted that anymore. If I ever had.

*

People could be so annoying. This afternoon I had been enslaved by two nagging old ladies which had continuously tried to touch my hair.

Meanwhile, the kids form the family which had arrived while I had been lecturing Olivier had turned out to be the nightmare of every nanny. They had chased each other through the building, and on the rare occasion they hadn’t, they had complained because they had been out of Fristi. I had lost count of the amount of times I had almost dropped something hot on their running figures.

Aside from the customers, there had also been a waiter that had made my blood boil with his unworldly, ever confused act. He hadn’t even brought a fucking glass when he had been about to serve Ice Tea.

In this chaos, Janet had bailed on me like usual, and Peter would only start working again on Monday, which had caused me to be the only one looking after that weird Olivier. Marie had, of course, laughed her ass off as soon as Olivier had walked out.

“I had expected him to be smarter. And more conceited.” I raised an eyebrow.

“Why the fuck would you expect that? Did you see his face? Especially the beard.” She looked at me in a surprised manner. Which didn’t happen often. Mostly because it caused her wrinkles to stand out more.

When her face relaxed, a small smile appeared.

“No reason. Intuition.” From experience, I knew that Marie Raspenning thought, or did nothing out of ‘nothing’, or ‘intuition’, but I didn’t ask any further either. Sometimes it was best not to know too much about Marie. I’ll mention her date with too much chest hair as an example.

Although didn’t want to know Marie’s motives for keeping quiet about Olivier, I couldn’t stop thinking about it on my way home. Olivier had been allowed to leave earlier. After him, Dave had left as well. Marie had entrusted me with closing the place, which had caused me to go home later, were a few assignments were lay, waiting for me.

I only saw the running silhouette when it bumped into me.

“Watch out, douchebag!” I yelled at the guy. He had a giant belly and a black moustache. He wore a Nikon camera around his neck.

He snarled something unintelligible and wanted to get away, but he slipped because of the snow.

When I turned around, planning to take a seat in the bus shelter and ignore the guy, I got startled for the third time that day. Olivier was standing behind me. Again. Although, this time his expression was not as vacant as before.

No, he looked… angry. He didn’t even see me. His anger as, apparently directed at the fat man in the snow. Strangely, I found myself unwilling to stop staring at Olivier’s blue eyes, which were flashing with anger.

“Who is that?” I asked. He turned around.

“Since when are you here?” I rolled my eyes.

“I was just chillin’ here until that guy,” I pointed at the man whose ass was all wet, “bumped into me.”

That guy began to stand up. Olivier looked at him in a calculating manner.

“You should leave,” he whispered.

“I beg your pardon? I need to take this bus, you know.”

Olivier shook his head and massaged his temples.

The man with the camera had managed to stand once more, and was looking at us like we were some sort of delight. It was creepy.

“Olivier, how do you know this girl?” He got closer and slowly raised his camera. What was the deal with him? Was he a stalker?

“Who is she? Could it be that you two are,” his index-finger got dangerously low to a button on his camera, “together?”


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