'One Plus Two Equals...' - June 30th
Duane stepped back to look at what he'd accomplished and smiled. The collage on the long wall of his soon-to-open restaurant had come out just as he'd envisioned it. He'd collected pictures of New Orleans from its founding days up until the present, had them copied and blown-up, and then spent too many hours tacking them up to the wall, moving them from place to place and re-tacking them until he'd gotten the balance of color to black and white the way he'd wanted. After adhering them in place he'd used a clear, matte sealer to finish the job.
"Perfect," he murmured happily before setting to work to add objects he'd picked up at the local voodoo shops and antique stores. When they were all hung randomly throughout the collage it would add the third dimension he wanted.
"Whoa, that's fantastic!"
Duane spun around to see one of his newly-hired waiters standing in the open doorway. He grinned and made a sweeping bow. "Thanks. It was work but I think it came out alright."
"More than alright." The young man, Jack if Duane remembered correctly, stepped into the room to check it out. "You have a good eye for atmosphere."
"Again, thanks. What brings you here?"
"Oh. Yeah. I wanted to tell you if you need more help, my roommate just got laid off and could use a job. He's done restaurant work and so…" Jack shrugged.
"Sure, send him along. I still need a couple more waiters just to be on the safe side."
Jack grinned, going back to the door to beckon to someone. Duane eyed the newcomer with a practiced eye when he came into view. He looked to be twenty-three or four at the most, well-dressed in jeans and a button-down shirt, with short blond hair. Jack introduced him as 'Julyan, with a 'y'.' Julyan Elwyn.
"Interesting name," Duane commented.
Julyan shrugged, chuckling. "Came with the birth certificate. Seems my mother was a romantic."
"Jack says you need a job?"
"Yes. Rather desperately I'm afraid, what with rent coming due soon. I don't want to take advantage of Jack's friendship any longer than necessary without paying my share."
"Come with me and I'll give you an application. Unless you're a wanted criminal or don't know the difference between jambalaya and gumbo, I'll probably hire you."
Julyan followed Duane into his office. "Native born Louisianan so trust me I know the food and I've paid both my speeding tickets so I doubt there's any wants-and-warrants out for me."
"Both are plusses," Duane replied with a laugh, handing him the application. While he waited for Julyan to fill it out, he did some bookwork he'd been putting off, until his phone rang. He answered it, listened for a minute then hung up. By then Julyan was finished and, after scanning the form, Duane nodded. "I'll check your references of course, but off-hand I'd say you're hired."
"Thank you. Believe me, Jack will appreciate that."
"Are you two… ?" Duane left the question hanging.
Julyan shook his head. "Just friends. We met at the last place we both worked, he needed a roommate and I figured what the hell. Then, two weeks ago he got laid off, which should have been a warning sign. Three days ago, it was my turn. If he didn't have money saved, we'd be out on the street soon."
"Alright, I'll call you."
Obviously taking that as his cue to leave, Julyan did. As soon as he closed the door Duane made a phone call and then returned to the dining room of the restaurant to finish what he'd been doing.