The cold wind blew unmercifully hard as Gordon walked against it, hugging his long coat tightly to his muscular body, his blond unkempt hair flapping in the breeze. A passing car's lights outlined the man as he trudged toward the diner, I just need a bite to eat, then I'll be ok he thought. The bell jingled when he walked in the door, the few patrons looked up briefly taking in the new arrival, finding nothing interesting the quickly averted their eyes back to their meals. Gordon sat at the counter taking a dog eared menu, flipping it over he saw that his choices weren't that varied.
Sighing, Gordon waited for the older waitress to disentangle her self from her conversation. Gordon ordered bacon and eggs, they were the cheapest and shit they were expensive to him, looking around he evaluated the patrons. At a table behind him were an older couple, they looked to have been married for a very long time, damn he hadn't heard them argue one time, how the hell did they manage not to? The man had longish white hair a short, very short white beard and a round belly which suggested that he didn't go hungry. The woman looked as old as the man her white hair neat and well groomed, she had a sweet grandmother look about her as she peered over her little glasses at the man.
At the other end of the counter sat a young woman, sipping a cup of coffee, she looked skinny as a rail her brown hair, stringy looking and hanging in her face. Huh, she also looked pregnant, quite a ways along too, it wouldn't be long now Gordon thought, wonder why she was here alone? Oh well, it wasn't his concern he had his own problems right now like surviving another day. He'd been walking all day after his car had stalled, then caught fire, he'd barely gotten 15 feet from it when it exploded. He had been on his way home, his cell was dead and he was trying to find some where he could charge it, too bad it had gone up with his car and his wallet.
"Excuse me... ," looking at the waitress's name tag, "Nell, do you have a phone here I can use?"
"Normally I'd say yes but the storm moving in, has knocked out all lines over a hundred mile area," she replied her western accent irritating Gordon.
"How about a cell phone?" Gordon asked hoping he'd have better luck.
"Naw, no towers out here, we are considered a true dead zone," she drawled back. Damnit! he had to contact his boss, this deal could mean millions of dollars and a possible promotion, "There's a decent hotel here, the phone company said they'd probably be back up sometime tomorrow." Gordon just nodded as she left for a moment returning with his food. For a moment Gordon thought he saw the woman at the other end staring hungrily at his plate.
Sighing, Gordon wasn't usually concerned with other people, he'd gotten used to the people of New York, they didn't concern them selves with other people's affairs unless they had no choice. Looking over at her again, he saw her sipping her coffee slowly again. Sighing again, Gordon stood up and walked down to her handing her his plate. "Here, you look as if you need this a lot more than I do."
Looking at the plate suspiciously, she stared up at the tall muscular man, "look mister I can't pay you back and as you can see I can't really pay you back with sex," though he hadn't had any in a long time, Gordon wasn't desperate enough to fuck a prego broom stick.
"Look, it's almost Christmas and though I can't believe I am saying this, no one really deserves to be alone on it, that is unless by choice." Gorgon said shaking his head, he wasn't really into the season, never had been as it had always sucked for him. His memory momentarily taking his attention, he shook his head to clear it. Her mouth hanging agape, she mumbled a short thanks attacking the plate of food with a hunger Gordon hadn't known in a long time. Looking through his pockets he found he had enough for a cup of coffee, sighing again he called Nell and ordered a cup.
Sipping his coffee Gordon didn't notice the older couple talking to Nell a few minutes later. Wondering what he'd do tomorrow, he was shocked when Nell brought him a plate of toast, an omelet, bacon and hash browns.
"Excuse me Nell, I didn't order this," he told her a little shocked.
"The gentleman and his wife paid for it," she said indicating the couple behind him. Turning to thank the couple the older man had already stood and walked over to him.
"We saw what you did Gordon, it was a very noble and humble thing to do. You should watch yourself, people might think you are actually human," the old man smiled and extended his arm which his wife took, then they walked out the door. Gordon thought a moment and rushed to the door, he'd forgotten to thank the man and his wife, opening the door Gordon looked up and down the street, huh? where'd they go? Damn they just walked out the door.
Walking out further into the rain and wind, Gordon looked for any vehicles on the road, damn! nothing, where the hell had they gone? Walking back in Gordon sat down to eat, looking at the woman he noticed she was starting to shake, despite the fact the diner was very warm. Taking his coat off he again walked to the woman and placed it around her, almost immediately she stopped shaking looking up at Gordon, she smiled. Her smile seemed to brighten the whole room, Gordon almost smiled his self, feeling a warm glow deep within.
"Thank you sir, I forgot to grab my coat when I was ... never mind, just thank, you," she said suddenly shy, Gordon seeing that she had light blue eyes that she now averted. Looking at her closer, Gordon saw the bruises that she was trying to hide, damn how'd I miss that earlier?
About to say something Gordon thought better of it, he'd seen this scene before and wasn't about to get his face beat in, shot, stabbed or killed. Sitting back down his thoughts began to wonder, suddenly he realized that the old man had known his name, what the fuck!? How in the hell had he known? Finishing up his meal he figured he had a day, 2 tops to get in contact with his boss or the whole deal would fall through. Finishing up he emptied his pockets taking stock of what he had. Ok, a cell charger but no cell, $14.00, a cigarette lighter, and his keys. Ok weird, grabbed the keys to the car then the car explodes.
Well, $14.00 wasn't going to put him up for the night, guess he needed to find a YMCA or something. Walking out the door of the diner again, Gordon saw that there really wasn't much to the town. Looking up and down the street he saw maybe 15 buildings at most, one seedy motel, a bank, two grocery stories at either end of town, a hardware, a seed-feed store. Throwing up his arms Gordon wanted to scream, damn he was stuck in redneck home town USA. Walking toward the motel, maybe they'd give him a room if he did work around the place, shit he wasn't used to physical work anymore. Knocking on the office door he was about to launch into his speel, when the old man from the diner opened the door.
His mouth hanging open Gordon almost forgot what he was going to say.
"Well, it's about time you got here, we expected you half an hour ago. Come on in before you freeze to death or drown from all the water," the old man smiled, damn did everyone smile here? Didn't they know that the world was going to shit? They needed to face reality and get over this happy shit they were going through. "Now that isn't a very pleasant thing to think is it Gordon," huh? think?
"What, you can read minds? By the way how did you know my name?" Gordon asked more than a little perplexed.
"AH, I know a lot of things, now get in here before you catch a death of cold," the old man seemed genuinely concerned about him, something Gordon wasn't used to, a shove and a get outta the way maybe but not this.
Stepping inside it was a toasty warmth that waffed over him upon entering. "Now then, you'll start in the morning. When you gave the young woman your coat it earned you a special place here," Gordon stared at the old man how the hell did he know this stuff? "I'm sure you'll have many questions tomorrow, you need to rest after walking all day from outside of town, don't worry as soon as you pay your debt you'll be on your way, don't worry you'll still be able to finish your deal."
"Huh? My debt? For what?" Gordon asked afraid that he was about to be roped into something he wasn't going to like.
"What? You think you can stay here for free? I may be charitable but I am not that cheap son, now then, are we agreed on the terms?" the old man held out his hand, Gordon could only stare, especially when the old man took Gordon's hand at his side and shook it.
"The name's Nick by the way, I am so glad that you have decided to stay a little bit. We can really use a hand especially around this time of year," Nick smiled, an infectious smile, that not only look honest but also reached his eyes, the darkest blue eyes that Gordon had ever seen in his life, he'd seen ice blue eyes that seemed to look through you but Nick's he swore, could see into his very soul. Looking around Gordon got his first real look at the inside of the house, it was decorated everywhere Christmas lights, wreaths, Santa, his elves and reindeer figures and other various decorations, wow thought Gordon, this guy and his wife are really serious about Christmas. Suddenly tired, Gordon was glad when Nick lead him up the stairs to a small room with an extremely comfortable bed. Collapsing on to it Gordon was out as soon as his head hit the pillow.
The next morning Gordon was awakened by a knocking on his door, trying to ignore it, the knocking none the less continued. "Alright I'll be right there," he said as he threw his sore legs out of the bed onto the floor. Opening the door Gordon was surprised when the old woman was standing there with clean clothes, a towel and wash cloth. "You'll want to get cleaned up before you get started this morning, the bathing closet is the last door at the end of the hall."
"Uh ... Thank you?" Gordon almost stuttered as the kindly woman handed him the items.
"Oh, Nick said to meet him at the diner when you're done, he wants your input on some ideas he has for increasing production safely as well as yours," the old woman smiled, immediately warming what felt like was to his soul.
Finishing up, Gordon walked to the diner, the sky overcast and angry looking, walking in he saw that Nick was talking to several men, well they looked kind of like men. Stopping at a table nearby Gordon sat and waited for them to finish, they hadn't seen him when he entered so he figured when they did they'd tell him to sit elsewhere. Odd, but they seemed a little short, they were also looking around every few seconds as if they were looking for someone. Finally 10 minutes later Nick spied Gordon and motioned him over, "Ok now we can get started, what took you so long?" Nick asked
"I was sitting over there for 10 minutes waiting for you and your men to finish your meeting, I was only told to meet you here not that you were in a meeting," Gordon almost felt like he was back in school he'd done the right thing but was still in trouble, called to the principal's office.
"Ah, I see, told you so, he is perfect honest and polite though, for what we need him for he might have to curtail that a bit," Nick said a smile and a twinkle in his eyes. Oh shit! What have you gotten yourself into now Gordon? "Now to clear things up you aren't in trouble, as you thought you were, we are just anxious to get started as soon as possible," several of the "men" at the table nodded their agreement.
The man next to him shook Gordon's hand, "hello, I am Natree, I am the plant supervisor, you and I will be working closely together, I am more than anxious to hear your ideas for increasing production while maintaining the high level of safety we've always enjoyed. These men you see here are the overseeing section foremen." Finally someone was talking about something he wasn't in the dark about.
"Now then formal introductions aside, I understand that your title is, correct me if I'm wrong, a production and structural engineering advisor? Just what does that entail?" Nick asked, that ever present smile prominent on his face.
"Well, I evaluate the present production of a company, its hierarchy of leaders and the structural stability of the building the company is housed in. I draw up blue prints to aid in the increase of production, lowering of costs and make suggestions about changing or promoting personnel to support said increases. I also make suggestions to company policy that will lower costs and improve production. I am not a boss, I just see what is wrong and suggest how you can fix it." Gordon was feeling a little uneasy from some of the looks he got from those at the table.
Then Just as suddenly it was gone as everyone shook there heads seeming to comprehend everything he'd said. "Sorry if we made you feel uneasy we always look like that when we are gathering in the full meaning of what was said, you are truly a rare quality these days to be as honest and to be as successful as you are in New York," Natree said, giving Gordon a huge smile. Nick looked at each of the men and pointed a finger and shook his head. A little confused Gordon let it go, they obviously needed his help if the town was as run down as it was, the factory was obviously failing. The Meeting over Nick told Gordon that they'd tour the plant after breakfast, which was delivered a moment later by a young woman who looked the most like Nell.
Though they ate in silence many of the men were looking at Gordon off and on throughout the meal. Half an hour later they all thanked the young woman (It seemed her name was Nell also ok, strange) and started walking to a large building Gordon had passed the night before but hadn't seen for the rain. As they walked in all eyes seemed to go to the stranger that was with Nick and the foremen. Walking halfway in they sat in the office that was dead center of the building.
"Alright Gordon, what exactly will you need? I need you to start today and finish as fast as you can," Nick told him.
"I just need a large notebook and permission to walk anywhere I want, that includes the bathrooms, I've found a lot of time wasted there talking," Nick looked at Gordon he wasn't expecting this amount of detail.
"I'm sorry Gordon, I can't allow it, it's just not right." Nick said.
"Good, as a responsible owner you shouldn't ever allow that." Gordon responded.
"Ah! I see, so you're gauging what my responses would be in certain situations," Nick stated.
"No Nick, I'm just seeing what type a boss you are," Gordon said. "Now I just need to walk around and observe, that's all."
Walking out Gordon started to walk around the rest of the day watching everything that went on, odd but he didn't know of any companies that did all it's work by hand, getting as much done as this one did. Gordon just wished that all the companies he'd worked with, had as happy as this company's employees. All day he watched the moral never faded, all these people were truly happy with what they were doing. To Gordon it was the most amazing thing he'd ever seen. The day was drawing to a close when Gordon had finally developed a few ideas to double the production of almost all departments.