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The door opened a few minutes later by a middle aged man. His short hair had been tossled as if he had just gotten out of bed. Between his lips a thin cigar smoked. He eyed up Teodor, but spoke to Trucker.
“Who's this?” he asked.
“It's okay Bilge,” Trucker said. “They just looking for some cash, that's all.”
Bilge took a drag on his cigar. “You are a little to old to be run-a-ways.”
“We had to leave our housing situation in a hurry last night,” Teodor said.
Bilge studied Teodor. He had interesting eyes. They were blue, with flakes of green and brown. The mix of colors gave the illusion of his eyes sparkled. He turned his head to look at Trucker who tugged at Bilge's sleeve.
Trucker stood on his tip toes and whispered something in Bilge's ear. He cupped his hand around Bilge's cheek. Teodor could not make out any of the whisper. Teodor felt Amanda stiffen. But Teodor did not sense any trouble from Bilge. Instead, Bilge listened intently to Trucker, but looking at Teodor and Amanda with a strange look on his face.
Bilge stood up. “Any of you worked at a bar before?”
Both Teodor and Amanda shook their heads.
“Can you open a bottle?” Bilge asked.
“Yeah.” Teodor said.
“Come in.” Bilge stood aside.
It was a bar, there was nothing more to say about it. The cheap gray metal tables surrounded by metal chairs. A stage at the far end, and a bar that ran along one third of the wall on one side. The bathrooms were labeled; hens and cocks. The walls were paneled with cork board. Most of the cork board had pieces of broken bottles in it.
Bilge held out both of his arms, “Welcome to the Pit,” he said. “The most unappealing place in town.”
Trucker climbed up on one of the barstools. Bilge walked over to the bar and opened a soda for Trucker. “Trucker tells me that you caught him yesterday,” he said.
“Yeah, he tried to take our albums,” Teodor said.
“I'm impressed, I haven't seen anyone catch him. Here's the deal, I need help at night. This place looks like a piece of shit, but it gets full. The crowd is rough, and likes their booze. As long as I keep them in here, the cops don't bother me.”
“What do you want us to do?” Amanda asked.
Bilge pointed at Amanda, “You should stay behind the bar, safer.” Then he studied Teodor, rubbing his chin. “Too small for a bouncer. Can you just be a gofer.”
Teodor could not resist. “I could be a chipmunk if that helped.”
Bilge laughed, an economical laugh, as if he didn't want to waste much time laughing. “Alright, cash only. You have to start tonight.”
Teodor and Amanda agreed. Trucker spun around on his stool. Bilge reached over the bar and stopped Trucker. He nodded. “But if you want to start early, I open soon.”
Amanda looked down at her clothing. “I need to find something else to wear first.”
Bilge shrugged, “Believe me, the people that come here won't care.”
“Do you do this often?” Teodor asked. “Give perfect strangers jobs?”
“No, but then Trucker doesn't like too many people,” Bilge said. He tapped Trucker on the shoulder. “I have to speak to these guys, alone.”
Trucker shrugged and slid off his stool. After he had wandered to the back of the bar. Bilge leaned over the bar. “So what is your story?”
Teodor and Amanda shared a glance. Finally, Amanda spoke. “We ran into some trouble a few years back. We have been trying to get on our feet, but stupid shit happens.”
Teodor nodded, “Last night, we had a disagreement with our former room mates, we had to leave almost everything there.”
Bilge tapped his fingers on the bar. “Are these room mates gonna come looking for you?”
Amanda scoffed. “Only if they stop smoking pot long enough.”
Bilge tapped out a tune on the bar. “I think I understand,” he said. “I'll try you guys out. We'll talk more after your first night.”
Amanda glanced over to where Trucker had wandered. “What is the story with Trucker?”
Bilge opened a bottle of orange juice. “He's safer now, then before. His parents should have never had kids. He acts all tough, but he is still a kid. I can't watch him like I should, but I try.”
He poured a glass of juice. “He's still a good kid.”
Teodor looked around the bar again. “So you want us to start now?”
Bilge chuckled. “Sure, You can put your things in my office.”