Chapter 24: New Job
Useless waited outside the room, sadly staring down the hall towards the confined space of the dance floor. This place was a lot smaller then Crank – but unfortunately Crank was still closed down. Club: Fed Up was Mr. Jones back-up favorite, he told Useless that on the ride over.
M. Jones thought it would be best to keep it closed for at least three months so that the incident would turn into something novel instead of something frightening enough to scare away revenue.
Useless didn’t understand business. He was surprised that M. Jones wanted to re-open it at all. Just like the other clubs. Well, most of them. That one that had burned down was obviously no good anymore, and the other one with the broken window and the bullet holes everywhere had barely been worth selling…
The door behind Useless opened and he stepped dutifully to the side. A small, pretty young lady came out, cheeks flushed and clutching her coat closed. She gave Useless a sheepish smile, biting her lip prettily before dashing off down the hall to get back to the cages.
M. Jones really liked dancers.
A minute later, M. Jones followed, buttoning up his silk shirt and running a hand over his hair. He was smiling – that was always a good sign.
“Good job, Useless.” He muttered, striding past him and back towards his booth.
Useless nodded mutely and trailed behind, acting every bit the tough bodyguard.
Ever since that bit of nasty business last month, M. Jones had promoted Useless to his own regime of bodyguards. He didn’t use him all the time of course, but M. Jones was known to tire of his body guards frequently, and would often switch them out, depending on his mood. Useless feared that he was starting to grate on his boss, though, and this promotion had meant a lot of money.
He needed the money.
“Christ, Useless, sit down.” M. Jones snapped, a smirk on his face as he slid into the booth, returning to his bright red alcoholic beverage.
Useless perched on the edge of the bench, peering out over the crowd.
They were all dancing to some sort of live rock band. They were playing songs Useless didn’t recognize, but he didn’t listen to a lot of music. He liked reading better. It took him longer, but it was worth it if he found a good enough story. He smiled at the thought. Back home he had a copy of the Reprinted Classics; a compilation of abridged novels. He had read ‘Robinson Crusoe’ in there, and the ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.’ He was in the middle of ‘Gone with the Wind’ right now.
“Useless, do you have a girl?” M. Jones mused.
Even though he didn’t think he expected an answer, Useless shook his head.
M. Jones shrugged. “Didn’t think so.”
He must be in a good mood. He didn’t usually like talking to Useless.
“I suppose you scare them, big guy like you.” M. Jones chuckled to himself.
“Fucking speak, you Giant.” M. Jones snapped, the mood slipping like a mask from his face.
“Yes. Er, I don’t know, Mr. Jones.” Useless stammered. He rested his hands on his knees to keep from twiddling his fingers.
“Huh.” Mr. Jones eyed him, and then took a big swallow of his drink. “Who named you Useless, Useless?”
“Uh –“ He started, feeling heat rising to his cheeks.
“I bet it was your mother. Mothers are so cruel.” M. Jones interrupted.
Useless knew he didn’t really care about what he had to say, but the comment made him look down at his hands sadly.
“I’m sorry your mother was such a bitch.” M. Jones chuckled again and took another drink.
He was always like this after he had sex with someone. Except if it was the woman with the pretty hair – Miss. Giselle – then he was even worse.
Useless continued to watch the crowd.
M. Jones quickly hailed another, different girl and she came over to entertain him as the rest of the patrons danced and drank. Useless felt suffocated in such a cramped place, but everyone else seemed perfectly happy to be stuffed in like sardines and cheering for a band that played weird songs.
“Useless, get me another drink.” M. Jones snapped.
Useless looked up at the other bouncer that was standing nearby and he quickly came to switch places with him. Upon getting up, Useless almost ripped the top off of the table when he bumped it with his leg.
The girl in M. Jones’ lap yelped in surprise, and must have jostled Mr. Jones in a way he didn’t like, because he sent a glare across the table at Useless.
Who was beet red at this point and staring helplessly down at his boss.
“Cranberry Jet Fuel. Now.” He said, very carefully.
Useless nodded and turned to maneuver through the crowd. Of his job, this was probably the easiest part – moving the crowd. Not many people got in the way of a big guy, and there weren’t many people he couldn’t move to the side with one arm. He didn’t even have to shove them; he simply slid them across the floor in a slow motion that took maybe two or three other people with them.
Useless allowed himself a smile as he swam through the crowd of dancing people.
Gone with the Wind is at home. No too much longer.
Luckily the bar wasn’t very far away, and as he neared it, he almost trampled a small woman.
“I’m sorry.” Useless said, steadying her with one great hand on her shoulder.
The woman smiled up at him with bright green eyes and a wave of black hair that was very soft. His fingers brushed it as he helped her to the bar and procured her a stool.
“Thank you!” She shouted over the music.
The bartender made his way over very quickly, seeing a bodyguard to the boss waiting. “What can I get for you?”
Useless was about to answer, then he looked down at the small woman on the stool next to him. He gestured to her.
The bartender gave him a quizzical look, but then shrugged, addressing the small woman.
“Just a Cola please.” She fiddled with the zipper on her purse.
Useless stuffed his hand into his pocket and pulled out some credit notes. He handed them to the bartender and nodded.
The woman smiled up at him. “Thank you that was very sweet.”
Useless smiled broadly at her, and scratched the back of his head, obviously unsure of how to proceed.
M. Jones had asked if he had a girlfriend, and he had been honest. But now he was thinking about it and… well why shouldn’t he have a girlfriend? His mother had always told him he was a sweet boy, and would make some lady very happy someday. This girl was very pretty.
She smiled, he smiled, and her Cola arrived. The bartender looked at Useless.
“I need…” Useless paused. His face fell. He felt a cold sweat on the back of his hands, and he slowly turned to look towards M. Jones’ table – his glass was empty already, and he couldn’t remember what it was he wanted.
“Hey, buddy hurry up.” The bartender snapped.
Useless turned back to the bartender, expression helpless and pleading. “I… I can’t remember.”
The bartender rolled his eyes and started heading back down the bar, but the young woman with black hair reached out and snagged his sleeve.
“Wait!” She looked at Useless, and smiled gently. “What color was it?”
Useless furrowed his brow. “It was very red.” He nodded, confirming that he remembered at least that.
The woman looked at the bartender and he rolled his eyes. “We have Pomegranate Bombs, Cherry Lickers and Cranberry Jet Fuel –“ He started rattling off.
The last one snagged Useless’ memory and he nodded enthusiastically. “Cranberry Jet Fuel! I need one of those.”
The bartender nodded irritably and went off to make the drink. He smiled over at the young woman, the gratitude plain on his face.
“Wow.” The woman grinned, hugging her purse to her. “Your boss must be rough to make a big guy like you so nervous.”
Useless fidgeted where he stood, casting another look over his shoulder. “He’s my boss.” He answered, smiling sheepishly.
The woman let out a few shy chuckles. She regarded him for a moment (which made him a fraction uncomfortable, and he suddenly wished he had his hat for some reason,) and then slowly extended her hand. “I’m Lenora. What’s your name?”
The bartender returned quickly. “Here, on the tab.” He jerked his chin towards the booth. “Mr. Jones doesn’t pay.”
Useless nodded, and took the drink in his left hand. He turned back to Lenora to see that her face had gained a strange expression. Useless thought it had to be confusion, but something about how her lips turned down at the corners made him think it was something bad, like… disgust.
Useless felt his face flush, and he looked down at his feet. Her hand was still there, but he did notice the tremble that had started to dance along her fingertips.
Yeah. Why would she want me after she hears who I work for?
Useless sighed. “I’m… I’m working. Nice meeting you.” He muttered.
Without another look, he turned and went back into the crowd, fully expecting another berating for being late with M. Jones’ drink. Suddenly Useless wasn’t feeling very well.
So instead of waiting for the insults to begin, Useless put the drink down in front of M. Jones, muttered a stream of apologies and then fled to the bathroom where he promptly got sick.