Meeting Mr. Mogul

By: Mel Ryle

“Marines or navy?” I asked after Terry introduced us. There was an awkward pause after I said that.

Jack looked at me seriously for a second, and then smiled. “I served for five years in the army, but I was recruited in the marines. I served for seven years until I retired to run this club,” he shouted in reply, his voice deep with a thick southern American accent.

“You’re from the south?” I asked, reeling back in shock. I can’t believe I’m starting to like this guy the longer we talked.

“Yes, ma’am. Born and raised on a small farm in Texas,” he replied with a slight twinkle in his eyes, though his facial expression remained serious and unnerving.

“My father was from Texas too. He served in the marines for fifteen years,” I said with a small smile.

Jack smirked in response then turned to look at Terry, whom we had almost forgotten during our conversation. “I think I like this one,” he stated.

“I told you,” Terry countered in glee as he glanced at me proudly.

“So, when do I start?” I turned to Jack and asked.

“Since you are here, how about giving me a hand with some of these?” he replied as he tilted his head in the direction of a crowd of people on the other side of the counter.

I glanced at Terry for a second, eyeing him for permission, which he replied with a nod. “Sure,” I replied to Jack as I looked back at him. “How do I get there?” I added as I pointed at the inside of the bar counter

“Climb over,” Jack replied, after which he excused himself when a customer called him relentlessly. He was gone before I could react.

“Was he serious?” I asked Terry, looking at him dubiously.

“Jack is always serious. I rarely even see that guy crack a joke,” Terry replied as he looked at Jack’s retreating figure.

I hesitated for a moment. But as I kept thinking about that piece of information, it made this job seem more daunting. However, I desperately needed a job. Without further ado, I stepped on a stool then put my knee on the counter and eventually climbed over to the other side. I was glad that I wore comfortable clothes. As soon as I was behind the bar, Jack immediately handed me an apron to wear, a sign that I had to start work.

About half an hour into the job, I was getting the hang of it. Terry stayed in the bar until Andrew showed up with a bunch of people. I was in the zone, getting beer bottles and hosing glasses as the people came and went. But it was slightly hard to manage people’s orders when they are all shouting at the same time.

“Excuse me! Can I get a whiskey please?” a man, with a slight British accent, called to me when I passed by him to hand out another customer’s order.

“Wait for your turn. You just got here,” I replied without looking at him as I gave a few bottles of beer to the customer I was currently serving. I said those words out of courtesy to the other customers. It was unfair to serve a newcomer — even if that newcomer has the power to ruin your life.

“Excuse me. Are you just going to ignore me?” the man asked in disbelief when I went past him a second time, ignoring him to serve another customer on the other end of the bar.

His words finally caught my attention, making me look at him directly. I eyed him for a second in irritation. I couldn’t make out his features because the room was poorly lit, but my voice was clear when I said, “Sir, with all due respect, there are people who waited in line to get their drinks before you, so please be patient and wait for your turn. This is not too much to ask.” My eyebrow scrunched together impatiently at his outburst.

A few of the people nearby heard my reprimand and turned to look at us in awe. A girl on his right clapped her hands and cheered me on while the other guys just smirked and told the guy to wait. This silenced him for a second before he walked away disappointedly. As I stared at the man’s back, I had this strange notion that there was something familiar about this man, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

“Andy, can I talk to you for a minute?” Jack asked while I was cleaning a beer glass by the bar. It was already past three in the morning and I was beat.

Before I followed him, I quickly washed the glass, put it on the counter, dried my hands with my apron, and took it off when Jack signaled for me to go somewhere else. He led me to a small room at the back of the club. At first, I thought it was the storage area. It turns out it was his office.

When we got in, he lightly closed the door behind him, faced me, let out a sigh, and said, “Did you insult Mr. Maxwell?”

“Tonight was a long one for me. Can you be a little more specific? I may have insulted or cursed on a few people who were being too rude to handle, so I actually have no idea who that one is,” I replied lightly, trying to lighten the mood.

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