Tales from TEKville by TheEvilKaren

Photo stories featuring 1:6 scale dolls

The New York Bar expansion

 

In the New York Bar one night several weeks previous, when Luka, Gabrielle and Emanuelle were having drinks with Gannon and Giselle, a stranger is seen speaking with Darius in the background.

That night, as Darius helps Coco to undress in his bedroom, he broaches the subject of the stranger's appearance.

"Babe, you know how you've been all up in my business about contacting your friend Romain to see about him investing in the bar? Well, I called him this morning and he stopped by the bar tonight." 

"So what did you think of him?"

"At first I thought he was a sissy-boy, with his 'man bag' and his Mr. Rogers sweater, but the more we talked the more I realized that he's an astute businessman."

"And?"

"And you win, babe.  I'm meeting him at his office downtown tomorrow morning and we're going to sign the papers.  I'm taking on a silent partner."

Coco jumps up and hugs Darius.  "Oh, Darius, I'm so glad!  You've been complaining for such a long time that your revenue can't keep pace with your expenses, especially since Shepherds Pie started playing at the bar.  I just know you could double your intake if you added more space!"

"I'm just hoping that I won't have to close for long during the renovations.  That would take a major bite out of my income!"

"When will you start?  On the renovations, I mean."

"As soon as possible.  I'm hoping Ranger Construction doesn't have any big jobs going on at the moment and can start as soon as Perrin and I get the details of our business partnership worked out."

"Oh, Darius!  How exciting!"

A gleam appears in Darius's eye that has nothing to do with his business plans.  He pushes Coco backward onto the bed. "Just how excited are you, babe?"

I think we had best leave them for now.

***************************************************************************************************

The next day, Darius spends hours in Romain Perrin's office as they hammer out the details of their partnership.

By early afternoon the contract is signed and the two shake hands, making arrangements to meet later in the afternoon at the bar to discuss their plans for expansion.

As they enter the empty bar, Romain looks around critically.

"Can I get you a beer?"

Romain acquiesces, and Darius grabs two cold ones from the refrigerator under the bar.

"The first thing I'd like to do is replace that door. It just doesn't seem all that welcoming."

Romain nods his agreement.  Darius continues.  "I was thinking that we could open up that wall and utilize the wasted space that now serves as the backstage area for the band. It's as big as this main area."

"Yes, that should be workable and would double the square footage available for paying customers.  Let's take a look at it."

Darius and Romain pass through the curtain to the empty space beyond.

"Well, this is it.  What do you think?"

"Were you planning on tables in this section, Darius?"

"I thought maybe booths.  I'd like to move the band's stage into this space, but I'm not sure that's going to work.  There's a small room beyond the far wall that will provide just enough space for the band to store their gear and hang out between sets."

"I think booths are a great idea.  That portable stage you normally have in the other room takes up way too much space.  At the very least I'd recommend a rectangular one, or perhaps even triangular to make the most efficient use of the floor space you've got."

"Agreed.  Can you meet me back here in three days?  I'll have Ranger and his crew start with the obvious first steps, which are putting in the new door, breaking open this wall, and covering the brick with sheetrock.  I'll invite my friends Jett and Peter -- architect and designer -- and we can discuss where to go from there.  I want this done as quickly as possible so I . . . we don't lose money having to close up the bar for any longer than a couple of days."

The two shake on it and set up a time to meet again in three days.

******************************************************************************************************

Fortunately, Ranger Construction is between jobs, and Ranger is more than happy to take on the bar expansion project.  He has hired on a couple of new people -- including Jes's father, Connor -- and has an expanded payroll to meet.

Work begins the very next day.  While Ranger replaces the bar's front door and Rob starts on the electrical work, Connor tackles the demolition of the wall separating the two spaces.

As Connor takes his third swing with the sledge hammer, he suddenly meets no resistance to his blow. 

 He kneels to peer into what is revealed as a hollow section in the wall.

"Hey Rob!  What do you make of this?"

Rob looks up from studying the blueprints and looks curiously at Connor kneeling next to the wall.

He ambles over to take a look and his brow furrows as he sees what is inside the hole.

He reaches through the crumbling brick wall and pulls out an old leather journal of some sort.  Blowing off decades of dust, he looks at the book curiously.  "Whatever it is, it's really old.  Shall we look inside, or wait and give it to Darius?"

Just then Ranger notices that the demolition has ceased.  He walks into the backstage room to see what the interruption is all about and Rob hands him the book.  "Connor found this in the wall.  Shall we open it?"

Ranger looks at the tattered book in his hand thoughtfully.  As much as his curiosity is aroused, he is reluctant to pry.

He looks up to see both Rob and Connor watching eagerly for his reaction.  "No, I think this should go directly into Darius's hands.  He is, after all, the owner of the building.  Finders aren't necessarily keepers, especially when it's us doing the finding."

Both of his employees are disappointed at not being able to satisfy their curiosity about the book's contents, but Ranger is, after all, the boss.  Connor shrugs and hoists his hammer, readying himself for another swing at the wall.  Rob returns to his perusal of the wiring plans.

Ranger walks into the other room to put the book on the bar, intending to deliver it to Darius when he returns later that afternoon.  As he sets the journal down, his attention is diverted by a shouted question from behind the brick wall.

As luck would have it, at that very moment a stranger stands outside the bar's new front door, reaching for the handle.  The man's eyes widen as he registers what Ranger tosses onto the bar.

He quickly melts back out of sight until Ranger disappears into the new section of the establishment, then silently opens the door, snatches the book, and is gone before his presence is noted.

****************************************************************************************************

That afternoon Darius stops by to check on the progress of the demolition.

He is pleased to note that the wall and doorway separating the main part of the bar from the former "backstage" area is gone, and smiles as he visualizes how the new space will be incorporated.

Ranger looks up from the plans he is studying and walks over to where Darius stands to get his reaction.

"Looking good, man.  I was hoping I wasn't making a mistake by taking out that wall."

Darius's mention of the wall triggers Ranger's memory.  "Darius, when we broke open the wall we found something interesting that I thought you should see.  I put it on the bar over th . . . ."

He breaks off, mid-sentence, as he notes the empty bar surface.  "What the hell!?  I know it put it right there!"

He turns to Rob and Connor.  "Rob!  Connor!  Did one of you take that book we found in the wall?"

Both men look up, blank-faced.  Rob answers for both of them.  "No way!  You said we should give it to Darius.  The last I saw of that book, you were walking off with it."

Connor nods in agreement.

Ranger looks back at Darius, brow furrowed in confusion.  "That's really weird.  It was an old book of some sort.  I set it on the bar because i knew you'd be stopping in this afternoon."

Darius shrugs.  "It'll turn up, man.  No worries.  I'm going to stop back tomorrow afternoon with Jett and Peter so we can make some decisions about the next step, but so far this is looking good."  He claps Ranger on the shoulder.  "I knew I could count on you."

To be continued . . .

****************************************************************************************************