Pronghorn, Chapter 41: Meeting Manny

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

Asa Pemewan did not have to wait long. When a short, stout man, scruffily bearded and with shoulder-length curly hair came in through the side door, Jennifer called out “Hi, Manny!” and Asa turned to face him, raising his own hand in greeting.

Manny replied “Hi, Jen,” and punched a series of numbers on the keypad by the door to the breakroom. “So, we’ve got a newbie?”

Jennifer nodded. “That we do! Manny, this is Asa Pemewan.” She gestured to Asa; he extended his hand. “Asa, Manny Davis.” Manny took the hand, shaking it; his hand was somewhat oily, but his grip was firm. “He’s just signed on as a driver, so if you could show him how it works today, I’d be grateful.”

“Can do. So,” and he turned to Asa, “first thing’s first. Driving’s a cash-handling job, so you’ll need a bank. You got an apron?”

Asa shook his head. “No, sir.”

Manny smirked. “Sir, huh? Well, you keep calling me that, Newbie. And you get an apron, one of the half-aprons, like this one.” He gestured towards his waist, around which he had tied a six-inch wide strip of black cloth with three pockets in it. “Should be some in the storage closet in the breakroom.”

Asa nodded and retrieved an apron of his own, tying it around his own waist as he came back. Manny nodded. “Good. Now, one pocket, you’ll want to keep a couple pens, maybe a rag of some kind. ‘Nother pocket’ll be where you keep your bank. Now, when you clock in next time, Jennifer–or whoever’s running the store; we’ve got two other management, and District sometimes shows up and runs things–will issue you some money. You’ve gotta make change, y’know. So you’ll get–” he gestured, and Jennifer opened a cash drawer–“twenty dollars total. It’ll be a ten, a five, four ones, three quarters, a dime, two nickels, and pennies to round out. You take pies to people, they give you money, you make change. You come back, give the store the money owed for the pies, you get what’s left. Customers give you more, you keep it. Customers give you less, they don’t get pies. Easy, right?”

Asa nodded. Manny continued. “Good. So, you also get a buck a run. Make twenty runs, you don’t give back your bank. Make more, the store gives you more. Make less, you balance the store up to twenty minus the number of runs you make. So, make twelve runs, you give the store eight back at the end of the night. Make twenty-five, the store gives you five more. Make sense?”

Asa nodded again. “It does.”

“Good! So money’s handled.” Manny paused and frowned. “Wait, no. No. Always count back the change the old-school way–unless a customer says to keep the change. Then you make sure you got enough to start with. But if they don’t, you count back up. So if you got an order for $18.66, customer gives you a twenty, you do this.” Manny pulled out his own bank and counted up. “Sixty-six is sixty-seven,” and he counted out a penny, “sixty-eight,” another, “sixty-nine,” another, “seventy,” another, “seventy-five,” a nickel,” makes nineteen,” a quarter, “and twenty,” and a one-dollar bill joined the coins. “Usually, you count it into the customer’s hand. Sometimes, they want it on top of the pies. Then, whatever they give you–even if it’s nothing, and there’re some assholes who’ll do that–you say ‘Thanks’ or something like that, and you smile when you say it. Then you hustle your happy ass back to the car and get back to the store. Got it?”

Asa nodded yet again. “I think so. Practice’ll help.”

“It will. So, money’s handled. But you’re not gonna get anywhere you don’t know where you’re going. So, look at the map.” He gestured to a wall from which hung a map of Pronghorn with a dark marker-line drawn irregularly through the outskirts of town. “Inside the line’s the delivery area. Outside, we don’t go while we’re on the clock. Had a guy get stabbed in the junk a couple years ago doin’ that. Not an experience we want repeated. Make sense?”

Asa squeezed his legs together at the suggestion of genital trauma and nodded. “Stay inside the lines. Got it.”

“Now, you from here?” Asa nodded. “Then you know the numbers run parallel. Two hundred block of East Second’s due south of 200 block of East Third. Creek screws with it a little, but not bad. Numbers start at Main and the creek. Try not to be on Main or Park; traffic’s a pain in the ass. Water’s not got many lights or stops, so it’s your friend. School zone’s an absolute. Do. Not. Speed. Through. It. Cops will pull you over, and they will take all damned day with you. Don’t be an example. Make sense?”

“It does.”

“Good!” Manny glanced at a rack not far from the door. “So, pizzas’ll go there in the warming bags when they’re made and boxed. You might get to help with that; depends on if they need help on the cut table or the make table. But they’ll teach you that when you need to know it. For now, you’ll get to deal with the pizzas that’re put in bags–along with cheese bread and wings and such. Sandwiches and pasta, too, now. At least for now. Corporate keeps shipping in stuff and not telling anybody. Pain in the ass, really. But you’ll handle it, right?”

Asa nodded once again. “I can.”

“Good! It looks like an order’s about to come out of the oven. Give it a couple-three minutes, and we’ll be on our way with it. I’l show you once or twice, have you do it guided, and then, tomorrow, you’ll be doing it on your own.

“Welcome to the team, Newbie.”

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