(continued from 3)
Ryan pushed through the door and smiled as he looked over at Rose. His eyes widened, as if he was somehow surprised she was there.
Rose was 100 percent certain he had seen her standing outside smoking when he pulled onto the lot.
“Good morning,” he said. “What are you doing here? I thought you had the weekend off.”
It irritated Rose that he knew this. She didn’t remember telling him, but she shrugged and said, “Matt and Marge are out of town. Craig and Kelly got fired. We’re a little short.”
Matt nodded and began picking through the snack cakes and energy bars across from the cookies and the candy.
“I knew about Kelly. He put in an application Tuesday over at my store. I was going to ask you about that.”
Legally, Rose knew he couldn’t ask for much of anything past whether he worked at the store or not, but she really resented giving up her weekend.
“What do you want to know?”
“What kind of worker is he?” Ryan asked. “He has a lot of experience doing a lot of things, but not a lot of experience doing any of those things for very long.”
She laughed. This was true, but Rose told him, “He showed up on time. He never called off and he always completed the tasks he was required to complete by the end of his shift. I never had to call the sheriff on him for dipping his hand in the register.”
The beer cooler was a different matter, but the cops weren’t exactly involved directly.
“But you fired him,” he said.
“Yep. It seemed like the Shopaminit wasn’t a good fit.”
Ryan flashed the smile again and raised an eyebrow, incredulously. This was supposed to be charming.
“Really, that’s all you’re going to give me?”
Rose shrugged and told him, “What else is there to tell? We gave it a try. He didn’t fit in over here.”
“Would you hire him again, you know, if you were to do it all over?”
Hell no, she thought. He was pathologically lazy and if he’d brazen enough to pinch beers from the cooler, he’d probably already been stealing whatever wasn’t nailed down. Rose only hated that she’d been the one who had to deal with it.
She told Ryan, “You know, I have no idea. Matt liked him enough to give him the greenlight. I just do what Matt wants. He owns the place.”
Ryan settled on a crunchy peanut butter Cliff Bar and brought it to the counter.
“I guess you could take it up with Matt when he gets back, see what he thinks,” Rose said and rang up the overpriced, hipster candy bar.
She hated those things. They were gooey and bland enough to make you think you were eating something healthy but had that little touch of sweetness to remind you that you could have just eaten a Snickers bar and achieved the same results.
“Do you think Matt would hire him again?” Ryan asked.
Probably, Rose thought. They got along, and Matt seemed annoyed after she cut Kelly loose, more than he did about her firing Craig.
Craig had been far more reliable, and willing to work. He’d been at the store longer, too. Rose was already considering asking Matt about bringing him back. She figured he’d probably learned his lesson –don’t drink company beer on company time, in front of customers.
Rose wondered, however, if Matt would tell her that if she wanted to bring Craig back, she needed to hire Kelly, too.
Rose sighed and said, “You know what, I think he would. I think it was mostly just personality clashes between him and me. We didn’t get on. Maybe he would have better luck over at your place. For all I know, that’s his calling.”
Also, she thought, Pizza Hut has beer on tap, which would be harder for anyone to notice missing. Kelly could probably slip that in a soda bottle or something.
“You could give him a try,” Rose told him, thinking that if Kelly was already employed (and at a rate a bit higher than what he could make at the Shopaminit, not including tips) then she’d be free to bring Craig back without Matt getting in the way.
Ryan shook his head. He was apparently considering it.
“He seemed OK to me. He was a couple of years ahead of me in high school. He used to sell pot to my older brother –but that was a long time ago.”
It occurred to Rose that maybe it hadn’t been that long ago. Matt was somewhere in his late to mid-40s and very middle-class. They had a nice place in Fort Hill. Who did Matt know that he could buy pot from? He and Marge didn’t have any kids.
“You do what you want,” she told Ryan finally.
“Thanks,” he said, and he sounded like he meant it. Then he asked, “How’s the baby?”
She put a hand on her stomach, looked down and said, “Oh, fine. She’s kicking quite a bit this morning.”
Ryan brightened a little and said, “Well, that sounds good, very encouraging.” He looked at her hand on her belly and asked, “Do you think, would it be OK, if I tried to feel the baby kick?”
She nodded and told him, “Maybe later. I think she’s sleeping right now.”