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Author Topic: No Reflection Needed Part 2  (Read 155 times)

Description: Part 2 of my VideoGame Fan Story. Can you guess which game it's based on?

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Offline Richard Matthias Mapes

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No Reflection Needed Part 2
« on: Wed, 02 Aug 2017 - 03:42:33 »
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  •     “Third time this week,” Of the employee's on staff at the downtown Quick-E-Mart, Emrey saw the inside of his boss's office more than most. Standing with his bloodied deli gloves on and apron untied, he knew of his fate the moment he walked in, “Today, Tuesday and Monday.” Mr. Harlash had his desk decorated in papers, as if he needed evidence of the young man's wrong doings.
        “Mr. Harlash, I can explain.”
        “Listen, Henry-”
        “Er, right.” He folded his fingers, placing them on his over-sized stomach, “You're a good kid. The customer's love you, the staff loves you. But this is becoming more than I can handle.” He held up his timecard, “Two hours today-”
        “Y-yes I know but-”
        “Missed half your shift before that.”
        “If you'd let me explain-”
        “I hired you on your father's word and your making that word look pretty weak.”
        “I had a gig last night and I didn't get back until late.” Emrey was beyond frustrated, having been unable to explain himself. (His elderly father being jerked in the middle didn't help),
        “And the other two?”
        “I was asked to perform at Eugi's. The bartender called when his talent manager was too busy.”
        “And how long will this to continue?”
        “Last night was it...Sir.” Frozen in his spinning chair, Harlash stroked his chin. This wasn't the first time Emrey had been on thin ice for his attendance, and from the sounds of it, it wouldn't be the last,
        “I know we've had this talk before, but it goes through one ear and out the other,” There was a slight pause, “Since I have only one other attendant at the deli, I'll be kind enough to keep you. But you won't be eligible for your five cent raise when evaluations come around. Consider this the start of your probationary period.”
        “Last night was it, I should be fine from now on.” Putting his arm around the boy, Harlash shook him slightly. He did this as one old friend would to the other, despite Emrey wanting to slug him.
        “Look, Siegfried, I think it's best you take what you have and go with it,” The mocking tone in his voice made Emrey want to grind his liver in the cheese slicer, “Now get back there and help Ace. We had a delivery and I want the beef shredded before the three o'clock rush.” Feeling two inches tall, Emrey did his best to smile when facing the lunch crowd. Yanking his hair net from the coat hook, he stuffed the hickory threads on his scalp underneath. Of all the passive aggressive comments tossed his way, he was surprised Harlash didn't scold him for defying dress-code. In his rush to get out the door, he crammed his feet into his converse, leaving his work shoes in front of the bathtub. His white button down was half-undone with a faded undershirt beneath. He looked like hell, and considering what had gone down, he felt like it too.
        “Knock knock,” An hour in, with all prepackaged meats on display and a third of munster cut, Emrey received help in the form of Ace sneaking in through the fire exit, “Pssst....PianoMan, you clock me in yet?”
        “Deidre did.”
        “Awesome,” He kicked his way in with his foot, “Brought you a little something, as a thanks for saving my hide.” Holding up a 14oz coffee, he took a sip of his own,
        “Oh, my little caffeine angle,” Emrey took a drink and sighed as the magic set in, “You got it right too.”
        “Yep, Amaretto with exactly four vanilla creamers, two half-n-half, and one packet of sugar,” Slipping his own apron on, Ace tied it around front (being that it never stayed fastened the other way), “Sweet-n-low before you ask.” Emrey chugged until he had to stop for a breath,
        “I could just kiss you.”
        “Lets not and say you did.” Flipping on a light that had been missed, Ace turned a sign inside of the case, “What's with the face? You have “bitched by Harlash” written all over you,” Despite the average crowd, very few had even bothered to look towards the deli as the two spoke. After getting an abbreviated run down of the morning's events, Ace shook his head, “Man why didn't you text Deidre or Biancca, they'd have clocked you in. Harlash never leaves his office unless we aren't in the computer.”
        “Unlike some, I'm responsible with my irresponsibility.” After serving an elderly woman who was specific on the width of her colby-jack, he leaned against the wall next to the egg salad and folded his arms, “It's my own fault.”
       “Yeah, well, a gig's a gig. Shit happens.”
        “I bet yours last night was amazing. The Byrds really went places.”
        “No. Windy went places.” Ace scowled, “She signed as a soloist at the last minute, told us all after
    the bar closed. Her birds are caged.”
        “I could always use a partner.”
        “A pianist and a drummer alone would be weird, even if I could convince Biancca to sing over
    Pachabele and Tchaikovsky.”
        “Windy managed.”
        “She improvised over a recording of Fur-Elise. It sounded like a walrus farting into a trashcan.” The three o'clock rush came and went without much of a rush to be seen. Aside from supplying a coworker with a turkey and cheddar sandwich, sales were minuscule and the lone deli workers cleaned to stay busy. “What?! No Way!” Ace was checking his phone and nearly caused Emrey to cut his hand in
    the slicer,
        “Could you say that any louder? There's a family on the other side of town that didn't hear you.”
        “Listen to this, Ebenezer Clavier is performing at Weylon's Haunt all this week!” He held up his phone, as if his friend had no reason to trust him,
        “That's cool.”
        “Just cool? Eb Clavier? Platinum selling pianist, Golden-Orb winner? Why aren't you having one
    of your squeal episodes?”
        “Because that's reserved for musical theater.” Throwing the butt ends of a pork thigh in the garbage, Emrey peeled off his gloves and reached for the plastic wrap,
        “We should head over to see Clavier after the place closes, consider it job shadowing.”
        “Unless I have a gig, I'd rather just go home.” His voice dampened slightly when Harlash poked his head from his office door, gaping in his direction, “I've been cutting it close as is. Dad got me in here, I don't want to embarrass him...”
        “Dude, Clavier never makes public appearances. Says so in the article,” He skimmed down to
    where he was last reading, “'Clavier, a secretive performer who often refuses to tour, was convinced by
    talent manager Romeo Rake at the last minute-'” He snickered, “Romeo. Nice.”
        “He goes by Mac.”
        “How would you know?”
        “We were...friends in highschool.” Wiping the table down where the pork once was, he continued,
       “By that, I mean I was in high-school. He got me a few gigs at some seedy dive bars.”
        “So, just friends huh?” Ace rung out another customer, placing a price sticker on a wrapping of
        “I got a little caught up in show. He was older, and took an interest in my music. We hung out a bit, then Mom found out and threatened to call the police.” He sighed, “I tried to explain my feelings weren't mutual, but she wouldn't listen. We lost contact after graduation.”
        “Tragic,” Ace, sensing the downturn of his friends spirits, grabbed his cheeks and drew him in, “ These violent
    delights have violent ends. And in their triumph die, like fire and powder. Which, as they kiss, consume.”
        “Shut up jackass,” Smiling, Emrey picked his own cell phone off a stack of wooden skids and put it
    to his ear when the ringtone chimed, “Hello...”  Ace was upfront, dealing with a rather peculiar person asking for “Alpaca rib-eye” when an excited Emrey came storming up and hugged him from behind, “Bad touch!”
        “I got a call from the 501!”
        “You have a mall from the firegun? Slow down champ and repeat.”
        “The 501! They want me to fill in for their pianist!”
        “Plasma 501? That's a lounge, how the hell did a lounge get your number?”
        “The bartender at Eugi's recommended me! They want me to come in at ten!” THIS was a “squeal episode” if there ever was one. Emrey didn't care how many patrons were staring at him, “Oh god what should I wear, I got blood on my nice shirt....maybe I could ask Dad...wait, what will I play? Pachebele isn't ritzy enough...”
        “Calm down spaz, you're scaring the children,” Ace ruffled his hair net, “I've heard you perform,
    whatever you choose will be awesome. Now put your gloves back on, Alpaca rib-eye doesn't cut itself.”

         After clocking out at six, Emrey took his bike down the main highway and into a heavily wooded grove. Circling around a large lake, he came upon a fence surrounding the property his parents owned. While they usually kept the gate locked, making it impossible for even the mail man to get in, he was lucky to have been spotted by his baby brother, who alerted his dozing father on the porch swing.
        “I don't think she'll be able to get the stains out,” On the upper level of the home, Donnahvan Huntley held up his son's dress shirt, squinting at it through his thick lenses, “Boy you need to stop murdering animals with your good clothes on.”
        “I don't do the killing, I maim the corpses.”
        “Right,” Taking up his cane, Don gave his son an affectionate pat on the cheek, “Get yourself dressed Em. I'm going to check on your mother.”
        “Hows the book coming?”
        “Should be on the shelf by spring, or so the publisher keeps telling her. She's quite the wordsmith.”
        “When it comes to mulch and manure. Lend me a copy when it's out. I always like to keep up on planting trends.” Downstairs, the television blared reruns of the Frances Fishing Hour with the youngest of the Huntley boys staring at the screen with his thumb in his mouth,
        “Hannigan take your eyes of the t.v and put your pants back on,” Maria turned to the stove, giving her husband a second of attention as he meandered down the spiral stair case, “Did you have a talk with him?”
        “Hmmm? Oh, yeah, told him to set a better alarm and wear a trash bag,”
        “Yes, oh paranoid love of my life?”
        “I'm not paranoid, I just-” She withdrew her wooden spoon, glanced up the stairs to see if her son was coming, “The 501?”
        “Honey it's a lounge, this might be the break he's been pawing after.”
        “There are other lounges.”
        “And there might not be another opportunity like this.”
        “I don't want him around that building, around them,” Re-situating the cavatini already on the table, she cleared her throat, “Their kind isn't interested in talent.” She turned the stove-eye off and grabbed a clean plastic bowl from the sink,
        “They're in the city yes? What stopped them from going after him before?”
        “He has to make his own decisions.”
        “And if he decides to become one of those monsters? Then what?” Saying it louder than she had wanted, Maria regained composure and set the creamed corn on the table,
        “Would you hate him for it?” It was a difficult and, perhaps heartless, thing to ask.
        “No, but he's my baby, am I not supposed to worry?” Thudding footsteps above them dulled any chance for resolve.
        “Does this look alright?” The conversation ended when Emrey came into the kitchen with his shirt buttoned incorrectly and his tie on wrong,
        “If you're going for the afternoon drunk look,” Don did what he could, loosening the tie and draping it over the boy's shoulders, “Go get your brother from the living room, your mother won't let you go until you eat.” With the toddler in his highchair and Maria spoon-feeding him generous amounts, conversation at the table was sparse. Emrey knew his mother would be upset. If she was worried about him getting hurt, she didn't have to. He hadn't personally been to the 501, but they had bouncers there for a reason.
        “So...Mom, have you heard from Miles?”
        “Yesterday actually,” Maria held Hannigan's wrist when he began to play in his mashed potatoes.
       “Finally finished his certification.”
        “Oh, that's cool.”
        “He has two office's hankering after him.”
        “What about Haley?”
        “Still on the road...what does she do again dear?” Donnahvan had a noodle hanging from his lip,
        “Oh yes, she also tames the llamas.”
        “Yeah, I saw her work last time the carnival came in,” Emrey pushed his empty plate away, “She burped and singed off her eyebrows.”
        “She had to burrow my make-up pencil. Never did get it back,” Chuckling, Maria added, “How have you been? Harlash been good to you?”
        “I suppose.” In fear of disappointing them, he continued to ramble, “I sliced up a pig today.”
        “Any gigs?” Don caught on and tried to intervene,
        “Maria leave the boy alone.”
        “I have the right to ask.”
        “I'm not calling in Mom.”
        “Emrey you know how I feel about this-”
        “About what?” Clenching his fists, the young man took a deep breath, “You've been supportive up until now, what's changed?”
        “Some of these jobs your taking are dangerous. You could be mugged, drugged, murdered. You don't know what it's like out there.” Alone in the quarrel, Don took Hannigan and made a quick escape, leaving his cane upright against the chair.
        “I've been working at this for too long to give up,” Standing, he took his suit jacket and threw it on. Maria opened her mouth to speak but was interrupted, “For once, let me walk out the door without a lecture.” Taking a moment to put his plate in the sink and push his chair in, Emrey left the dining area and went out the front door. From there he traversed the front yard, got on his bike and went off to the 501.

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