I arrived for my shift at the original Bub City on Weed Street about two hours early and lunch was still being served in the bar.
It was my first day back after a long absence and I didn’t recognize any of the new staff.
Walking into the bar, however, I noticed Gustavo sitting in a corner near a computer terminal organizing his checking out receipts and cash. Seeing that he was immersed in his task, I decided not to interrupt him.
Walking back into the main dining room, I saw Scott and waved to get his attention.
He walked over and greeted me and welcomed me back.
I told him I had spoken to a friend who asked me to begin a dialogue with Rich Melman, as my friend had two very successful restaurants in downstate Illinois he wanted to sell and when I mentioned it to Scott, he assured me he was the right person to talk to and that Rich was so busy it would take months to get him to entertain the proposal.
Scott said he knew of my friend’s restaurant and said he would make him an offer.
Just then, a man walked up to Scott who turned to me and introduced the man as his older brother and said he would talk to me later.
I was walking through the restaurant and suddenly noticed that the shorts I had worn to work weren’t shorts after all but a pair of blue and cream colored plaid boxers.
Knowing I wouldn’t have time to go home and change, I decided to walk over to the new mall at the lakefront to see if I could buy a pair of shorts and get back in time for the staff dinner and food tasting.
As I left the building and was walking across the park to the lakefront, I saw Rich standing outside talking on his phone. Noticing that he saw me, I put on my sunglasses and started jogging to give him the impression I was merely doing a light workout before my shift.
I soon remembered that I was wearing a pair of old, faded red Crocs and hoped Rich didn’t see them.
I ran up a long stone staircase and eventually arrived at the entrance of the mall, which was a futuristic, boldly-lit translucent tunnel.
I was walking through the corridors of the mall when I realized that most of the shops had already closed for the day, so I decided to head back to the restaurant.
Noticing some businessmen in suits I thought I recognized from my day job as a stock broker, I quickly turned away and pretended to be looking at stuffed animals a vendor was selling from a cart in order to avoid being seen.
I bought a small teddy bear dressed in a bumblebee suit from the vendor as to not have seen to be so conspicuous.
Walking back down the corridor, I heard “Walking on the Moon” by The Police being played on the overhead speakers.
Just then, Sting himself walked right in front of me and, noticing my bumblebee-suited teddy bear and hearing his song on the speakers above, he smiled at me acknowledging the rare moment of coincidence we had just shared.
Looking at my watch, I realized I wouldn’t get back to the restaurant in time for the staff meal and food tasting, but seeing how I was a vegetarian and wouldn’t be partaking in the tasting, I decided to try and find somewhere else to buy some pants and get back to the restaurant as soon as I could.
Walking through the translucent tunnel, I spotted the businessmen again so I started walking a little more slowly until I saw they were out of sight.
Emerging from the tunnel, I considered asking Scott if I could change my station with the server who was in station one so I could leave early. Remembering that station one was a smoking station, I was wondering if smoking was still allowed in restaurants or if the laws had been changed during all the years I had been living abroad.
Then I woke up.