How to Sell the Plague 7

Chapter 1

Seventh Installment

 

Let the Good Times Roll, Part 4

So we’re schlepping across the rugby field on our way to the gun fight at the OD corral, six of us strong, me slightly in the rear, not wanting to miss Nash repeat the history he refuses to learn from. When we reach the Old Dublin, Mr. Ben Weisberg is sitting at a table drinking coffee, smoking a cigarette and reading the New York Times.

Of course.

Nash doesn’t waste any time on pleasant greetings or small talk. He has his guns drawn as we enter the room and fires a couple of quick shots at the feet of Mr. Ben Weisberg, but Mr. Ben Weisberg doesn’t even flinch.

“Last time I was here I said we would wash the walls for $1.25 an hour. Well, we’ve talked about it and we’ll do it for a dollar an hour. That’s a good deal for you,” Nash says, his eyes fixed on his prey, his trigger fingers twitching.

“No it’s not,” answers Mr. Ben Weisberg in a heavy New York accent. “I told you last time, kid, and the time before that, and the time before that, I’m paying 50 cents an hour. Take it or leave it,” says Mr. Ben Weisberg, as smoke drifts heavenward from the barrel of his gun, the residual aftermath of red-hot lead traveling 1,000 feet per second, aimed straight at the middle of young Nash from Jefferson City, Missouri, hitting its mark and doubling over the intrepid freedom fighter, who is left struggling to keep from going down hard.

“But you won’t find anybody to do it for that price. You must know that by now,” Nash returns, guns ablazin, but his shots miss Mr. Ben Weisberg without as much as administering even a simple flesh wound.

“Yeah I will, eventually,” Mr. Ben Weisberg replies, a couple more bullets cutting through Nash’s white, raw flesh. “If you keep wasting my time, I’m gonna lose my patience with you, so take the offer or get out and don’t come back,” hitting Nash with a fatal shot right between the eyes.

Nash is done and he knows it. Embarrassed and enraged, his face bright red, “Oh yeah?” he spits out. “Well, you’re a mean man,” and he turns and stomps out of the restaurant, his disciples following, heads bowed in mourning for their fallen savior.

But I stay behind to answer the door.

Hello, opportunity. Come on in.

I ask Mr. Ben Weisberg where in The City he’s from, and he tells me he’s from Brooklyn. We talk for a while about the bar scene in New York, and, as it turns out, we know a few of the same people.

It’s a small world after all.

We talk about Nash and what a schmuck he is, and Mr. Ben Weisberg laughs at the thought of how Nash would have been treated by some of the guys Mr. Ben Weisberg knows back in old Brooklyn.

We talk about the restaurant and Mr. Ben Weisberg’s plans. He says that he, his wife, Miriam, and an old pal from Brooklyn, Seamus Flynn (which explains the name of the place), who has been in Aspen for the past 20 years working on the ski patrol, bought the place and are going to turn it into a sandwich and soup joint, and hoped to establish the bar as a friendly, comfortable hang-out, much like an authentic Irish pub.

We talk about Aspen and how different it is from New York, and we talk about all that we would miss and how you couldn’t buy a cup of coffee after 11:00 PM in this one-traffic-light town (which is how many traffic lights were in Aspen back then).

We talk for over a half-hour, and finally I ask him about his walls. He tells me the place won’t open until November and the season won’t start until Thanksgiving, which is more than two months without bringing in any revenue. He says that they hadn’t figured on the filth in the kitchen and hadn’t budgeted any money into the business plan for the extensive cleaning it was going to need.

I ask him who’s going to do the remodeling and he says he and Miriam are doing the decorating and Seamus is going to do the actual physical work, having worked in construction in the off-season for years. I ask him if they’re going to hire help for the remodeling, and he says they are and that they budgeted money for that expense.

I ask him how many people he’s planning to hire for the season and in what positions.

When he’s done answering all my questions, I tell him about my experience in New York, working in bars and restaurants, and about my experience working summer construction jobs, and how I’m pretty handy with a hammer and saw. Finally, I ask him if I wash his walls for 50 cents an hour, would he hire me to help remodel the place and give me a job during the season.

“Sure,” he says. “I’ve had countless people come through here and you’re the first one to come up with a plan to get my walls washed. I’m glad you came in today, even if you were with that clown.”

Me too.

“Do you know anybody else who can help you with the kitchen?” Mr. Ben Weisberg asks.

“Probably,” I respond, “if you’ll give them jobs during the season too.”

“Let’s see if they’re any good first, and if they are, I’ll do it.”

“I’ll be back in 20 minutes,” I say, rushing out the door, arm in arm with my new friend and benefactor: opportunity.

Opportunity, hidden there in the greasy crevices of the kitchen walls of the new Old Dublin.

Who would have thought?

And who would have thought I would be smart enough to jump on opportunity’s back and ride it to a great year in Aspen, Colorado.

Me and opportunity.

This could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

 

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