Published July 12, 2013 by Johanna

Bill chooses to have lunch at this crazy burger joint around the corner. Lines are always crazy there. I’m not sure whether the burgers are so crazy good it’s worth waiting an hour minimum to be seated, but the human mind works in strange ways I’ve stopped trying to understand a long time ago, especially in New York City. 

Plus Bill always finds ways to cut lines, because he’s an inconsiderate jerk, which works to our advantage so I don’t have to play the elbows and angry stares in order to get seated more quickly.

Sam follows like a scared puppy, and I begin reconsidering whether he’s just nervous or is a scared lil boy on a day to day basis. Hasn’t the kid been living in New York City his whole life? Then why this bullshit? If we were hitting a cornfield in the middle of nowhere, I’d understand better. Unless the kid comes from the middle of nowhere.

“Where are you from, Sam?” I ask as the waitress leads us to our table.

“Um, uh, O-Ohio.”

“Where in Ohio?”

He mumbles the name of a town I’ve never heard of, and I don’t even ask him to repeat himself again. Yep, the middle of fucking nowhere.

Glorious. Who’s this beloved client Bill is so eagerly doing a favor to?

I’ll figure it out soon enough.

“What’s your name?” I ask.

He gives me a confused look.

“Last name?” I add.

“Oh, Rowling,” he says with a timid voice. At least more timid than usual.

Rowling. The software tycoon Rowling?


Now I get why Bill was so eager to hire this kid. Having his father on board would mean millions in revenue for the company. And I get to mentor him? Um. I wonder if he has an older brother.

No time for dating Kiki!! You’re in your first year of sobriety. Yeah, and who ever said I should follow the rules, huh? Stupid rule at that. Plus I know what it’s like to marry money. It never ends well.

We sit at the table and Bill monopolizes the conversation. What’s it going to be about today? Golf? Knicks? The latest sportscar? Can Sam even drive a sportscar?

He probably can drive a tractor.

“How are you doing, Sammy boy?” Bill asks.

Now I’m not sure my boss genuinely cares about my new minion’s well being. But it’s thoughtful of him to pretend.

I feel tired. I can’t remember the last time I sat down for an hour just to have lunch. I never take time to chill. Always on the go, I rush, rush, rush, even when it’s useless to rush. It’s in my nature I guess. What are we going to talk about for one full hour? If it’s work, shoot me now. Bill loves to brag about how he started from nothing and became a super manager in no time. Mostly because he’s a crook, that’s why.

“So Sammy boy, are you excited to work for Stern and Stern?” Bill asks while chewing on fries.

I guess he’s going to talk about work for one hour. Jesus.

Sammy junior takes a sip out of his diet coke. “I’m pretty excited, yeah.”

This kid has the conversation of a piece of wood. I sigh. Why did I think this lunch would be a great idea?

“Miss Kiki over here is one of our best employees. Don’t be scared by her disgruntled attitude. That woman gets the job done,” Bill comments.

I force a smile. “You’re too kind.” I glance at the kid. “Way too kind.” I whisper to Sammy. “Don’t believe his lies… He has a ton of them.”

The kid doesn’t break a smile. Gosh, it’s hard to find his sweet spot. If he has no sense of humor, how am I going to communicate with him? John understood my sense of humor.

Bill laughs. “You’re trying too hard Kiki. I guess the kid is scared of you.”

Sam shakes his head energetically in protestation. “I’m not scared.”

Bill recoils in his seat and bursts in laughter so loud people around us turn their head. “Well the kid shows balls. That’s promising!” he says in between tears.

I stare at the kid, still not sold by his small act of bravery. “Well you might be wise to be a little scared. I can be super scary when I want it,” I say with a stern face.

He stares at me, like he suddenly woke up from a nap. “I’ve seen pretty crazy shit in my life, much scarier than you. So I’m not worried.”

“Oh shit, Kiki!!” Bill keeps laughing his butt off so hard, I think he’s going to fall off his chair.

“You know what, Bill, I think I’m gonna like working with him,” I say and smile at Sam who smiles in return. Nice teeth, I admit.

Damn. This one came out of left field. Sammy boy isn’t so shy after all. A bit rough around the edges but we shall improve that.

“Do you drink?” Bill asks Sam after he’s recovered from almost dying of laughter.

Sam shakes his head. “Drinking drives people mad,” he says very seriously, and Bill bursts in laughter again.

“Kid, you’re full of surprises today!” Bill says.

I watch the newbie as I sip my ice water. So Sammy boy is a member of the club? Or maybe someone in his family? Interesting. I must have something special to attract all these alcoholics lately. Oh wait. I’m one myself, so maybe that’s why.

Sam glances at me. “Do you drink, Miss Kiki?”

I shake my head. “You said it yourself so nicely, I won’t paraphrase you.”

Bill rolls his eyes. “Oh come on Kiks, you’re on the wagon now? What about your beloved scotch, huh?”

“I’m done.”

“Seriously?” Bill asks.

Sam taps me on the arm. “You know what that means, right?”

I’m not sure whether I like this burst of over friendliness coming from him. “What?” I ask.

“We’ll make a great team!” Sam says with much enthusiasm, way too much for my taste, but he looks comfortable now at least. It didn’t take long to break the mold.

Bill keeps laughing. “Damn I love this kid! Don’t you love him, Kiki?”

I roll my eyes. “Yeah yeah, let’s see how you put that enthusiasm to the test,” I say to Sam before taking a bite of my burger.

To be continued…


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