Stranger, part 5

The man waited for Joe to compose himself, then began. “You likely aren’t aware that William Pierce owns a home only a few blocks from here. He uses it occasionally. He also has a number of business partners who wish not to meet him in public. This is not a matter of legality, simply discretion. Mr. Pierce has expressed an interest in using this establishment for such purposes. He requires your availability on short notice after hours, and that you personally guarantee the discretion of yourself and any other staff who are present.”

The man stopped, and for a moment Joe didn’t realize that the man was waiting for a reply. “Oh, well yes, of course, I’m sure I can provide whatever Mr. Pierce requires in terms of privacy, and I’d be more than, um, very happy to do business with him.”

Joe felt completely at a loss as they worked out details. Rates, availability, ways for Mr. Pierce and his associates to enter without drawing unwanted publicity. It all happened so fast and with such finality he felt as if he’d only watched it happen. But over the course of the next weeks and months, he met, served and talked with very wealthy and important people. He found they tended to like him, once he stopped being intimidated, and as they started to consider him and his restaurant safe he found he had a wealth of connections and favors available to him. It was scarce months before he began to use them, and barely a year before he had moved himself and his wife to a huge house far away from his restaurant, and had staff doing all the days work for him.

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