Dan waited ten minutes for FairVista shuttle that dropped him off at the nearest subway station. One change, a streetcar ride and he was back at the Depot in less than an hour.
Maybe it was time to make the store completely independent of each other. The corporation originally only included the building and the Depot business. He’d have to check into that before the end of the business year so each could start a fresh in the new.
The Depot was busy when he got there. They were having a night of quick sales. Fifty percent of certain items for only an hour. Different items every hour. Much like the trade-in sale, when customers felt they were saving big, they were willing to spend more than they intended. It was always rewarding to see the shelves empty and sometimes even to sell out on an item. The sort of sale that could never happen at FairVista. This sort of sale was considered déclassé at the high-end mall. The lease allowed for a Boxing Day sale with discounts of no more than 10%. Rather than give a discount his sister opted for a ‘we pay the tax’ special. Evading tax was in their millionaire clientele’s DNA.
An electronic bell sounded the time to change items. Some items had deliberately limited qualities that the display board would tick off as each was sold.
Dan enjoyed the retail end of the business. Talking to people, slyly getting them to commit to more than they intended. He didn’t sell them extended service contacts, that he left to Ushio. Dan knew most people ever used them so he felt bad palming them off on them. If there was any repair work to be done it would fall to Ushio anyway.
The last sale bell went off at 10 p.m. This was the extra hour of savings where floor samples or slow products that had proved to be hard to sell ,but kept off the floor till now would be brought out. All offered at sixty per cent off. They’d lose a bit of money on some but that was always made up for by accessories like the perfect camera bag, or spare computer cable in case you lost the one that came with the camera.
His eyes began to ache by then and he was happy when the ten minute bell rang. If you hadn’t paid for your item by eleven you’d have to hope it showed up next year. They allowed an extra five minutes grace period.
Dan was setting the back security for The Depot by eleven-thirty. Bushed by the long day he wasn’t all that eager to go home to Sanjay. The rift in their relationship showed no sign of being healed over the past week. He half-hoped Sanjay wouldn’t be home.
“In a hurry?” A voice came from the nook behind him.
Dan spun around in a fighting stance. There had been more than one assault in that back lane.
“Who is it?”
A figure stepped into the light. It was Peter.
“Fuck, you trying to give me a heart attack?” Dan said.
“Sorry, sir.” Peter kept his eyes down. “I haven’t seen you at the Carafe the last couple of days.”
“I’ve been pretty busy. How is your Dad?”
“He’s well. I was afraid you were displeased with me, sir.”
“Save sir for the bedroom” Dan looked at the shadow on the nook. Was this a good time for catching some real action on the security camera. He glanced up at the camera. His eyes ached, his feet were tired from standing. No they’d do that another night.
“The Depot was super busy tonight.” Peter said.
“Too busy.” Dan rubbed around his eyebrows.
“I was afraid you were avoiding me at the Carafe. You’re usually in a couple of times a day.”
“Things got hectic.” He didn’t want to admit to Peter that he was right.
“Yes, Mr. James.” Peter stepped further into the light. “I … can I give you a lift, sailor?”
“Got room for this?” He lifted his bike briefly.
“We can find out.” Peter’s grin almost made Dan change his mind about getting nook footage. He had never posted himself on the V-Files.
With a little wrestle the bike fit into the back seat of the car. He was about to get in when a nearby parked car started and its headlight came on. Dan recognized it as it pulled up behind them and the passenger window wound down. The driver leaned out. It was Sanjay.
“I thought I’d come for you.” Sanjay said. “It looks like you are already been well taken care of.” Sanjay stopped the car and got out. “How are you tonight, Peter. It is Peter isn’t it?”
“Uh … yes.” Peter glanced from Dan to Sanjay. “But now that you are here you’ve saved me a trip.”
“Right.” Sanjay began to pull the bike out of Peter’s back seat. “My car is a better fit for this. We bought it with bikes in mind. Didn’t we, dear.”
“Cool,” Peter said.
Dan could see how bewildered Peter was. He was just as unsure of how to handle the situation.
“Thanks for the offer Peter.” Dan said.
“Any time Mr. James. At least any time I have my Dad’s car.” He got into his car and drove off.
“His Dad’s car.” Sanjay sniggered as he got back behind the wheel. “Sounds like a line out of some high school movie.”
“I suppose it does.” Dan got in the car. “But waiting outside in the dark to spy on what’s going on is out of an equally bad movie.”
“I was not spying. I had just pulled up and was waiting for you to come from the laneway with your bike when I saw Peter go back there. Is this were you usually meet your tricks?”
“I do not meet tricks period. Any where.”
“Yeah sure. With all the surveillance equipment ready for your next V-Files home movie. You do have quite a collection there. Mostly hetero though. That is a bit disappointing. I never suspected you might be bi. You aren’t bi are you?”
“Does it matter?”
“Not really. Here we are.” Sanjay pulled into their drive. “Home, not so sweet, home.”
They went into the house.
“I’m going to turn in.” Dan said.
“Any developments on the Quintex project?” Sanjay rubbed Dan’s shoulders.
“The proposal gets presented Monday morning to the Quintex people. If they like it, which is possible, then it’ll be a go.”
“Much of a time commitment?”
“You want to turn house into an air b’n’b while I’m out of town?” Dan joked.
“No. I’ve been so caught up in the restaurants I’ve lost track of what is going on in your half of our life.”
Dan moved away from Sanjay and sat on the couch to take off his shoes. He reached for the remote but changed his mind. He was too tired to relax in front of the TV. He pushed himself up front he couch and started up stairs.
“How long are we going to go on like this?” Sanjay stopped him at the bottom of the stairs. “We can’t live like miffed room mates like this for much longer. Avoiding each other in the morning.”
“If you aren’t here when I get up I can’t be avoiding you.”
“You know what I mean.”
“You not working up country this weekend?”
“I decided not to, not while we have things that have to be worked out.”
“Things like your buy in?”
“No!” Sanjay pulled Dan towards him.
“I’m tired. Really.”
“I’m sure you wouldn’t have said that to your … what is he?”
“Your competition.” Dan laughed, as he shrugged out of Sanjay’s grip.