Chapter 16 is up. A day early. Because I'm all about the proactive time management. You know that I am.
The next night, Vito had a wedding to go to. Mostly, though, it was an excuse for him to go out and get loaded, have a life for a night. He left me at the helm, a first for both of us. Vito’d never let anyone run his restaurant for him, and he was so paranoid he’d given me half a dozen pages of notes as the big night loomed closer. If it went well I'd tend bar and manage the restaurant in tandem a couple of evening shifts by myself each week. I was into it, and not only because managing the restaurant might be fun. Vito sorely needed time off. He'd been working night and day since the restaurant opened and was in serious jeopardy of losing his dangerously goofy sparkle, the thing customers and staff alike most adored him for, the thing that consistently kept the whole joint hopping. And not just with hilarity, but with butts in seats.
The pay increase wouldn’t be much. Just an extra twenty bucks a shift. But I wasn’t doing it for the extra cash, though lord knows I needed it. Although the restaurant was a busy one, overhead was high, and Vito was constantly talking about how he was struggling to keep it open. I loved him, loved my job. Not a stretch to get that I’d be a willing accomplice in this newest adventure.
In the hours leading up to his vamoose, Vito went Vader on us, all steely black eyes and ominous, raspy breathing, death threats and descriptions of potential maimings. But after he left, the vibe went rainbow as we got a taste of what all employees feel when the bossman steps away: Freedom! Non-stop cigarettes and snacks and small nips of tequila made the night even sweeter. Life was good. Until about nine p.m.