136 Persons

The busboys wanted to look busy, so they roamed around the chairs to switch out the spotless utensils. The creased British bartender, leaned back against the well, twirling a rag in a pint glass, watching the same seven highlights loop on the TV above. He wished he cared about basketball, or that they had a better satellite package.

A rush of cold air swept around the hostess’ ankles. She turned to the open door, unsheathing the smile the owner had told her landed the job. A waiter, headed out a side door for another cigarette and text check, stopped, thinking his services may be needed.

“Can you tell me how to get back to the freeway from here? I’m totally lost, sorry!”

The hostess nodded and did her best, although she herself hadn’t learned the names of all the streets yet. Maybe she wouldn’t have to. The waiter caught the bartender’s eye; they traded non-verbal grunts. Turning back to the door, the waiter looked up at maximum occupancy sign as he tapped a smoke onto his palm.

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