Author's Note: Not much to say here. Uh . . . thanks for the feedback, and keep it comming. Review, if you are so inclined.
::Prelude to Judas, Part II::
One week ago . . .
"Yo, Rhee! I need you to do a delivery. This address. Ten minutes ago. Move."
Glenn bit back a groan. It was so late. Seriously only fifteen minutes until the end of his shift, and of course Duke wanted him to do a run.
"Seriously, Duke? Come on, man, I pulled a double today and I'm out of here in, like, five seconds. Make Josh or Antonio do it."
Duncan "Duke" Barnes, owner of Kiki's Pizzeria, gave Glenn all the sympathy of a DMV employee on a Saturday. Not that he expected much else. Duke was a native-born New Yorker with personality to match. Glenn was pretty sure desperation made him fill out an application and hand in his resume to a guy who reminded him of Mr. Clean with his shaved head and bulging muscles minus the family-friendly smile and cheery background chorus.
And Glenn, being the curious person he was, felt the need to ask the man from one of the toughest cities in America with at least fifty pounds over him two really stupid questions: why come to Atlanta from the Big Apple and why name his pizzeria 'Kiki's'?
Duke's answers were impressively simple. Every other building in New York City was a pizza joint, so why not move shop to Atlanta? And Kiki was the name of his girlfriend. Did Glenn have a problem with that?
"No, sir." had apparently been the right answer when nose-to-nose with someone who could squash him because Duke let out a laugh and clapped him on the shoulder, saying he was hired. It was an unusual start to a beautiful employee/employer relationship and almost four months later Glenn could say Duke was honestly the best boss he'd ever had. Even during moments like these when he had to try really, really hard to remember why.
"Woe is you, kid. Josh is on a delivery and I don't trust the newbie not to get lost going off the highway." Charlie, a baker with a bright orange Mohawk and ear buds permanently lodged in his ears came out from the kitchen and handed Duke two pizza boxes, giving Glenn a short wave before stepping back through the double-doors.
"Here ya go," Duke shoved the pizzas into Glenn's reluctant arms, sticking the address on top, like the cherry on a sundae of misery. "Two large Meat-Lover Supremes."
"Is there any way I can beg my way out of this?" The clock hanging up on the wall kindly reminded Glenn that someone, somewhere, wanted not one, but two pizzas at three in the morning. What. The. Hell.
"No." Duke crossed his arms and propped himself against the counter. "Now get your ass moving before the food gets cold. Last thing I need is customers complaining about service."
"Why do I work for you again?" Glenn bemoaned, placing the pizzas in his carrier bag. Giving Duke a hard time and Duke not giving a damn was kind of their thing.
"'Cause," Duke rolled his neck and Glenn made a face when the bones could be heard popping, "I'm the guy who signs your paychecks."
"Aww, and I convinced myself it was your charm and sparkling wit." Glenn flashed him his biggest smile.
Duke snorted, "Yeah, sure."
During his times at Kiki's, Glenn had become known in the inner-circle of pizza delivery boys as the Human GPS. Not the most awesome of super-powers- or super-hero name for that matter- but it was a skill that made him a legend to the world of pizza-based food establishments. He learned routes like he'd been running them his whole life and he knew his way around Atlanta better than half the people that lived here.
The whole planning thing, he never figured it'd help him with his job.
And it had gone from a blessing to a curse in all of three seconds when Glenn glanced over his route, not even needing to read his final destination because Glenn knew exactly where he was going . . . and it would literally be his final destination.
As in final destination in life.
Okay. An inkling of terror washed over him. Maybe he'd been wrong. Maybe Duke didn't like him as much as Glenn thought, because this . . . this was murder. Why would Duke want him murdered? What had he done to deserve this?
The fear of impending doom must have been reading loud and clear on his face. Duke raised an eyebrow and let out an impatient huff. "What the hell is your problem, kid?"
Glenn gawked, open-mouthed and highly unattractive, looking back and forth between the address and Duke. "My problem?" he squeaked and wow, he thought he'd already gotten over puberty. "What's your problem? If you wanted me dead, there are nicer ways to do it. Like tying my feet to a concrete block and throwing me into a river, or pushing me in front of a bus on the freeway. Why are you sending me to the Electro Chapel?"
"That's where the pizza is going."
"So, what? My life is worth twenty bucks and change?"
"Kid," Duke sighed, "Have you ever even been there?"
"No. But I also haven't tied steaks around my neck and gone swimming with sharks."
Duke pushed himself off the counter, leaning down like the six-foot-two giant he was and looked Glenn square in the eye. "Look, I personally don't give a damn about the reputation of some bar. They ordered two large Meat-Lover Supremes, and they're gonna get two large Meat-Lover Supremes." He backed off, switching tactics and threw a "friendly" arm around Glenn's shoulders. "Tell you what, though. You can go straight home after this run. I'll just take the money for the pizza out of your paycheck."
If Glenn's mouth hung any wider in disbelief, he was going to catch flies. Seriously, this was Duke's compromise? Go bring food to the roughest bar in all of Atlanta and as a reward he didn't have to stop back at Kiki's? How wonderful that he could go home for the night if he managed to leave the Electro Chapel alive.
But it looked like Duke had used up all his consideration on the matters of life and death for the day and on that note literally pushed Glenn out of the pizzeria, the soft chime of the bell more like a toll as he walked, numbly holding pizzas in hand, to his car.
Maybe he was being a little over-dramatic. He'd never stepped foot inside the Electro Chapel- because he didn't have a death wish- and, to be fair, he didn't personally know anyone that had either. It wasn't the kind of place people like Glenn ventured, since chain-smoking, alcoholic bikers didn't give a flying fuck whether or not Star Trek or Doctor Who was more influential on modern media.
He read an article or two online, saw a few News reports never showing the place in a good light and heard all kinds of stories on campus along the years whenever the name would come up, but it was always a 'I know a guy who knows a guy' scenario. The most personal he'd ever gotten with the Electro Chapel was Amy telling him about one time when she'd innocently mentioned it to Andrea and Andrea flipped-out, making Amy promise never to go there. Ever.
And Glenn wasn't the type of person who needed conformation on anything like that, so he'd never felt the need to make absolutely sure the Elector Chapel was in fact a hang-out for thugs and criminals to get drunk and beat the crap out of each other.
So, there was always the possibility of it not being that bad. That maybe it was a bar that just happened to get a lot of bad press . . . like multiple lawsuits and disturbance of the peace charges and one horrifying story about the regulars setting some poor guy's car on fire.
Whether the guy was still in his car changed each time Glenn heard about it.
Yeah, he was so not helping himself right now.
It was a simple ten minute drive and even though he would have rather taken his time- last few moments of life and all- Glenn figured being late would only make the odds of him getting out of the bar intact even worse.
While the Electro Chapel wasn't far from civilization, it was in one of those closed off places you see in horror movies. The bar was right off the highway- which was a perfect location for business when your business involved bikers and truckers and other questionable characters that traveled from place to place- but the area surrounding it was remote. It was a decent sized building, but the rest was dirt and gravel surrounded by wide openness and trees.
As Glenn got out of his car, double checking for his cell phone and keys and adjusting the cap on his head, with the two pizzas safely in his carrier bag, he couldn't help but think Norman Bates' realtor was extremely proud of himself for another job well done.
Well, at least there were only a few vehicles parked in the dirt lot in front of the bar. Three cars and a motorcycle from what he could see. Three in the freaking morning wasn't just too early for regular people, then. Even motor-heads knew when to call it a night. That was promising.
Even if the lack of noise creeped him out and the glowing, neon sign for the Electro Chapel shone eerily against the too dark sky.
If he kept telling himself he was going to be okay, maybe it'd come true.
The gravel crunched loudly under his feet and all along the way Glenn wondered who he was supposed to deliver these pizzas to if he wasn't horrifically murdered before he reached the double-doors that undoubtedly lead to the inside. Because some part of him was hoping that he could leave the pizzas at the top of the steps and run back to his car. Duke would never have to know.
Oh crap. He was already up the short steps and in front of the entrance. The whole place felt even more foreboding up close. Not like a chapel at all. So, like, what was he supposed to do? Knock? Go inside? Dropping what he was carrying and making a run for it still sounded like a solid plan. Seriously, delivering pizza should not be this hard or mortally petrifying.
Fortunately- or unfortunately, but at this point Glenn was counting each second as borrowed time- a burly man with a back shirt stretched over his broad chest stepped outside, nearly hitting Glenn in the face with the door.
What was with everyone in Atlanta being freaking giants? Glenn wasn't short or anything, definitely on the better side of average, but come on.
The man stared at him with an air of confusion, though Glenn had a sneaking suspicion that confusion probably wasn't unfamiliar territory for this guy if his beefy-with-no-brains look was anything to go by. Not that he would say that out loud.
"Uhh," Glenn coughed, clearing his voice and holding his carrier bag a bit higher. "Someone ordered Kiki's Pizza?"
Comprehension lit up the man's face so fast Glenn would have laughed if he wasn't so focused on survival. One giant hand grabbed the handle of the door and yanked it back open. Glenn was surprised it wasn't ripped off its hinges.
"Robby!" Big Guy yelled, "Pizzas here!" Glenn could hear someone holler something back and the Big Guy nodded. "Go on in." he mumbled around a freshly-placed cigarette, holding the door open for Glenn. At least there were manners in this well-known cesspool of debauchery. He smiled weakly and went inside.
Okay. So, the inside wasn't so bad. There weren't any satanic symbols written in blood or bondage gear hanging from the ceiling or walls covered in guns and knives, just hard-wood floors and muggy lighting. There was a thin layer of grime that could be seen on almost every surface and it smelled faintly of sixth-grade lunch-induced vomit, but besides the occasional out-of-place wooden pillar, it wasn't so different from a regular bar- chairs had been turned over onto tables and barstools flipped on top of the bar itself and everything.
There was a small area at the far end where three people were grouped together with different bottles of alcohol and glasses littering the bar top. The guy in front of the bar, who looked so normal and non-fear inducing that Glenn was either experiencing a psychotic-break or he was beginning to feel a little confused by how not-dead he was, stood up, saying something like, "Thank god, the food has arrived." and waved him over.
It was kind of surreal, not walking towards his own execution, but Glenn wasn't complaining about reality not living up to his understandable paranoia.
Not that he wasn't still on edge. Being lead into a false sense of security was always the first mistake the guy who got stabbed to death made.
There were two men and a woman. The guy who called him over followed the pizzas with gleaming eyes through thick-framed hipster-glasses like Kiki's was some world renowned pizzeria delivered to only the most worthy. Glenn found himself sympathizing. He knew that look all too well. Once, Amy and Andrea left him to his own devices for a weekend. He learned to love take-out and instant Ramen over those three days.
"Set 'em down where ever you like," the guy said, patting down his jeans and then the front pockets of his shirt. Glenn stood in front of him awkwardly, there not really being a place on the bar to set down the boxes.
Apparently not finding what he was looking for, the guy swerved his head, looking around the immediate area and scrubbed at his short beard. "Shit," he said. "Cam, did I leave my wallet in the back?"
The man behind the bar, looking a little more like what Glenn expected from this place with tattoos of various images trailing up his arms, continuing under the sleeves of his shirt, and metal-studded leather straps around each wrist, shrugged, "Probably."
"Fucking great," he threw Glenn an apologetic smile. "Sorry, man. I gotta go get the cash, you mind waiting a few extra minutes?"
"Sure, no problem," Glenn managed, still a little shell-shocked that he wasn't being sacrificed to the skeleton of a ram or something.
Cam, who he guessed was the bartender, moved a few bottles and smudged glasses aside for Glenn to set down the pizzas while hipster-glasses guy disappeared into a back room.
"Are those pizzas vegan?" Glenn nearly jumped when the woman who was also behind the bar spoke up. Geez, he was expecting a long, painful death by dubious strangers, not a freaking heart-attack.
"Uhh, no." he said, heart-rate returning closer to something healthy. "Both of them are Meat-Lover Supremes- extra sausage, pepperoni, ham, chicken and bacon. It's, like, the anti-vegan."
The woman pouted, full lips pulled in a small frown and dark eyebrows furrowed- which was a shame, considering she had a very beautiful face, with high cheek bones, bright green eyes and perfect make-up, framed by long, wavy auburn hair. Glenn only noticed so much because her face was the only place he felt safe looking since the cut of the top she wore outlined an impressive chest and dipped past her navel, showing off a glittering belly-button ring.
The last thing Glenn needed was to be pulverized because someone thought he was checking out their girl.
"What the hell, Cam?" Ouch. Her voice was just this side of grating, but still. "You and Rob know I'm a vegetarian! I've been working my ass off today and you guys seriously couldn't order something without a face?" She smacked Cam on the arm and he looked about as fazed a bear having a pebble thrown at it.
"How 'bout this," Cam drawled, the dark circles under his eyes telling Glenn that the man didn't give two shits. "You can have whatever the hell you want to eat when you learn how to make a fucking White Russian."
"Look, asshole, I'm trying my best!" This was escalating quickly. How long had Rob- formally known as hipster-glasses guy- been looking for his wallet?
"You were pouring in tequila, Crystal, tequila!"
Crystal reeled back, fuming. "Well, excuse-fuckin'-me! Every other drink you serve has fucking tequila in it!"
Cam threw his hands up, the lip ring he had making his scowl all the more pronounced. "Five different drinks! I asked you to learn how to mix five easy-as-shit drinks and you screw-up the easiest one!" Glenn wondered if this was going to come to blows because that excessively revealing top Crystal wore didn't just leave little to the imagination, it displayed two well-toned arms, giving the impression of a woman who visited the gym regularly and was ready to throw-down.
Thank whoever was listening when Glenn heard the door in the back open and saw Rob briskly coming up, pulling a few bills from his unearthed wallet.
"I've only been at this a week, Cameron, I'm not going to get everything perfect like your pompous ass," she gritted out and out of the corner of his eye, Glenn could see Rob pinching the bridged of his nose and sigh like this was a common occurrence. It probably was, but if they could hold out for not even a minute so Glenn could get the money for the pizza and be on his merry way, that would be awesome, thanks.
"Christ, woman, I went from high-school to professionally serving up drinks in a week! I wouldn't trust you to put together a Rum and Coke, forget a Mojito!" he jabbed a finger at Glenn. "I bet this fucking pizza kid could do better than you!"
For the love of God, Glenn just wanted to get out of here, curl up in bed, and possibly resign from delivering pizza permanently. But 'Cameron' was having none of that.
"You, kid! You know what goes in a Mojito?"
Brilliant, he was being put on the spot. Oh, what he wouldn't sell on the black market to be back in his family's dining room with Shannon calling him out. And if he wasn't stressed out enough as it was, what with the being in the Electro Chapel in the first place, Crystal's eyes shot to him expectantly, green flames of estrogen-fueled fury (waiting for more ammo to throw at Cameron, no doubt) and before the grimy hardwood floor could mercifully fall out from under him, the words came tumbling out.
"Uhh, Mojito . . . that's, uh, that's club soda, mint, rum, lemon juice and a couple of teaspoons of sugar, right?" He sucked in a breath and drew back, waiting for them to beat him to a bloody pulp then string him up as an example for answering wrong.
Crystal turned back to Cameron. "Ha!- wait," she looked back at him, making sense out of his panicky, rushed answer, then back to Cameron. "Was that right?"
With a hint of surprise, the bartender nodded. "Damn right it was," he was staring at Glenn now. "How about a Cosmopolitan?"
He forced his shoulders to relax. "Vodka, triple sec, lime juice and cranberry juice, if, you know, you're going for a classic Cosmo."
He blushed at the name but valued his life and answered. "Everclear, fruit punch and Gatorade."
Trying not to squirm under the intense gaze of Cameron and the quietly impressed face of Crystal, Glenn looked at Rob, which wasn't much better with the man staring at him like he should be veiled in light with a church choir singing Halleluiah behind him.
Oh, he was absolutely resigning from delivering pizzas. Duke would just have to find something else for him to do.
"You know the amounts and such that go with those ingredients, kid?" Cameron asked, sounding a hell of a lot less ready to give up on life then when Glenn first stepped into the bar.
"Uh, yes, but, you see, my shift . . ."
"How would you like to make a fifty-dollar tip?" Glenn's attention snapped to Rob.
"Yep. All you need to do is put us together a few drinks," he said, like he offered this to every random pizza boy that came to his bar.
Really, he should leave. Make some sort of an excuse. Say that he'd get in trouble, that he had to feed his cat, that he wanted to be in bed before dawn broke. Then he should accept the money, go back to his car and count his lucky stars he lived to tell the tale.
But, the thing was, Glenn was making a plan, and that plan was to move into an apartment of his own. He was insanely grateful for Amy and Andrea letting him stay with them and would be paying them back the rest of his life, but he wanted to be more independent and have a space he could make his home. No matter how shabby and bare essential it was bound to be, it would be his.
Glenn wasn't greedy, but saving up tips for a deposit was slow work at best and an easy fifty dollars sounded like a nice addition to the coffee can on the top shelf of his closet labeled 'apartment fund'. So, against better judgment, he stayed, quaking hands grabbing hold of bottles half-empty and started mixing up whatever cocktail Cameron threw his way.
He wasn't perfect or even close to what could be thought of as a natural, pausing between steps and having to start over a couple of times, but eventually the nerves and unfamiliarity dissipated and he got a rhythm going. At some point, The Big Guy from earlier found his way back inside, grabbing a slice from the first pizza box Cameron and Rob were going at (and every bite they took earned a seething glare from Crystal) and made himself comfy watching the spectacle of the one of the most bizarre moments of Glenn's life.
Glenn wasn't much of a drinker and hardly an alcohol enthusiast. They only reason he knew anything more than drinking equaled a god-awful headache and just cause to whip out the good ol' Ray-Bans was his friend Lewis who graduated last year. Lewis was getting his Bachelors in Culinary Arts and for part of his final, had to prepare a surprise alcoholic beverage. The 'surprise' being Lewis having no idea what he was going to be asked to make, so in order to be on his game, enlisted Glenn's help to study.
Two weeks and four pages worth of drinks and how to make them printed off à la Google later, Lewis and Glenn could have passed the final.
It was extraordinary, the information he retained. Goodbye eight-grade algebra, hello Gin and Tonic.
Not long after, a Long Island Ice Tea, a Screw Driver, a Whiskey Sour that may have been too sour, and a Mai Tai complete with little umbrella, because seriously, Glenn loved the little umbrellas, were laid out on the bar.
Cameron's gaze swept over each glass, eventually taking a sip from each one, wincing when tasting the Whiskey Sour- dammit, Glenn knew he was too heavy-handed with the lemon juice.
"Well?" Rob asked through a mouth full of pizza, strings of cheese frantically trying to escape, but locked eyes with Cameron and Glenn felt a silent conversation going on over his head. The bartender tapped a finger against his chin, eyes flicking back and forth between the drinks. "Well," he began deliberately, "Kid's a little slow, and his technique leaves somethin' to be desired, but that's nothin' time and some training won't fix. All in all, he did a great fucking job."
Glenn ducked his head, oddly pleased that the dude with metal skulls and dragons for rings who did this for a living thought he did a good . . .
Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.
Time and training? Who the hell said anything about time and training? Time and training implied things that he certainly hadn't been privy to.
"Um," he coughed, throat dry and the drinks he put together never looked so tempting. "Come again?"
Suddenly, an arm wrapped around his shoulder and he was flushed side-to-side with Rob, not unlike Duke's sad attempt at placating him to come here in the first place.
Nothing good could come from this either.
"What's your name, kid?" Glenn raised his head slightly. Rob looked way too cheerful for Glenn's own sake, with a spot of sauce on the corner of his mouth and open smile showing off less-than-white teeth. Never before had his feelings been so polarized- one side of him saying to get out while he still could, the other wondering how bad could it really be?
"Glenn," he said warily.
"Glenn." Rob tested. "Good name, I like it." And now Glenn knew Rob was trying too hard for something. "You see, Glenn," Rob continued. "To cut the bullshit, I'm in the market for another bartender, since my good friend over there can't commit."
Cameron flipped him off. "Fuck you; my wife just had a baby."
"Yeah, yeah," Rob pushed his glasses back up with his own bird in kind. "I give him a job and he deserts me. But the point is, I need someone to fill for him on the weekends and so far, you're the most qualified guy to fall into our laps." Glenn was about to question the legitimacy of that, when he remembered that this was the Electro Chapel.
A smirk tugging at his lips, imagining the newspaper ad: Lair for known felons and other detestables seeks part-time bartender with little to no self-preservation. Experience needed, mug shot and personal police file a plus.
Unsurprising that some kid delivering pizzas at too-damn-early in the morning who just happened to know the bare essentials when it came to serving drinks was their best bet.
"Um, thanks, but I'm sure there are better people, like, uh." Because he had a limit- standards, one might say. "Like her," he gestured over to Crystal, "Right?"
Cameron snorted so hard into the whiskey he was drinking that flecks splashed his face. "Her? She can set water on fire."
"It's true," Rob grieved next to Glenn, playing it up, "I've seen it."
Crystal's glower deepened. "Fuck. You. Both."
Glenn cleared his throat and subtlety tried shifting away from Rob. "Okay, well, sorry to hear that, but, you know, I'm not a professional or anything, and I've got another job," Even if working at Kiki's was only part-time- like hell was he going to bring up that little tidbit, though. "So I'm the last person you guys would want."
"Hey now, don't sell yourself short!" And Glenn thought he was an optimist, seriously. "If Cameron says you've got potential, then you've got it." From across the bar, Cameron raised his glass, approving. "We'd only need you Friday to Sunday nights- plenty of week left for delivering pizzas," Rob persisted, and then swung him around, hands on both his shoulders, uncomfortably close enough that he could count the hefty man's freckles. "As owner, I've got a responsibility to do what's best for my bar, and I've got a good feeling about you."
Glenn wanted to know in what universe a "good feeling" could be had about a geeky, Asian kid bartending for customers that'd snap him like a Twix Bar. And how, for that matter, since they've only known each other for an hour at best and that was because he was here to drop off their pizza. But he was so dumbfounded from this insanely bizarre situation that his neurons weren't firing right and the connection from his brain to his mouth was jammed up worse than the morning commute.
"Look, uh . . ." and dammit, he could feel his nose wrinkling in that totally non-assertive way Shannon always gave him crap for. "I appreciate the offer and all . . ."
But Rob held up his hand in front of Glenn's face, still way to close and he could see the dirt packed under the man's fingernails. "You don't have to make a decision now," Uh, yes he did. It was 'no'. The problem was getting that decision across. "Being the ass-crack of dawn and all. Why don't you go home and sleep on it?"
He didn't need to sleep on it, because he was smart, and the smart answer was no. He hadn't sat through lecture upon lecture and spent all that money on text books for nothing.
Why he wasn't able to communicate this was still up for debate, but Glenn knew it probably had something to do with left-over fear, bewilderment, and some serious character flaw of his.
Then he was being lead out by Rob's hand on his shoulder, empty carrier bag slung over his other. The walk leaving the bar felt way shorter than the one going in, and the fresh air of the outside hit him unexpectedly. He and Rob stood outside the double doors for a moment, his awkwardness holding true with the barest hint of dawn creeping over the tree tops.
"Well, here you go." Rob handed him the twenty-two dollars for the pizza and a folded, weathered fifty. "Oh, and take this too." He dug into a pocket and pulled out what Glenn guessed was supposed to be a business card, but in actuality was a small index card with names and numbers scrawled in pen.
"Thanks for your time, kid, and seriously, think about it. Cameron can teach you all you need to know. And I figure ten-fifty an hour's worth giving it a shot." Glenn's brain stuttered. Ten-fifty an hour? He was lucky if he got eight an hour working at Kiki's, and that was factoring in tips.
"Besides, it's not like we can force you." Rob laughed and grabbed Glenn's free hand in a handshake, which he numbly returned- thoughts slowly circling back to what convinced him to stay and prep drinks out of the blue for a place he (formally) couldn't be paid to go near.
Ten-fifty. An hour.
He could hear the sound of the door behind him being opened, Rob calling, "Hope to hear from you soon!" and then it being pulled closed.
Doing what he should have done an hour ago, Glenn walked back to his car, got in, threw the carrier in the back seat and pulled out of the dirt lot to get back onto the highway. But his mind was still in the bar, working as something he wasn't educated in, for a man he was never formally introduced to, in a bar that may not have confirmed all his fears but still gave reason to have them.
And he hadn't even seen the place in action.
Still, here he was, driving back to the apartment thinking that if he took this job, then one day- possibly a day much sooner than he hoped- he could be driving back to his apartment.
It was dumb. The dumbest thing he's ever considered- the kind of thing that if he'd been on the outside looking in, he'd call himself a dumbass. But all he could think of was his plan and how the pieces, alternative and different from what he originally envisioned, were falling into place.
Glenn's term was almost over. In less than a month, he would be turning in last minute assignments, big projects, and chugging back coffee cramming for finals. He'd also be figuring out what to take next term . . . and therein lays the problem. He was at the point in his college career where he needed to decide what to do, to take the big class-quest so to speak, and Glenn didn't have any more of an idea than when he first drove into Atlanta.
He was forever a novice.
So it made sense to take a break and not sign up for classes next term. To pick up a couple of extra shifts at Kiki's- even find a second job to pay off his loans.
And in came Electro Chapel, screwing with his awesome, well-made plan by making everything simultaneously more difficult and even more hopeful.
Working nights during weekends at the Chapel meant he could still enjoy a weekend during the day, and he could keep to Kiki's during the week with day shifts so he didn't become a complete recluse with no social life. Even nerds needed to be aired out every once in a while.
Oh God, was he was seriously considering this?
He eyed his steering wheel thoughtfully. As most people had lives that let them sleep decent hours, there weren't many cars on the road. What were the chances of anyone getting too mad if he just head-desked his horn and set it blaring in a last-ditch effort to knock the sense he lost back into himself?
Going into the Electro Chapel was guaranteed death, forget working there . . . even if Rob was pretty ordinary for someone who owned at bar with a reputation like that. Not exactly the guy with hell in a hand basket. And Cameron, despite his fuck-all attitude, seemed like a cool dude. Plus he said he was married and just had a kid- not much of a picture of evil incarnate. Then Crystal, regardless of a possible short-fuse and skimpy clothing, was far from a demonic, hedonistic devil-mistress.
Glenn blinked. No more Diablo after midnight.
He sighed, pulling down the visor against the rising sun, even though the apartment was a few minutes. The sheer randomness of what just happened was throwing him off. There was no reason to work there, not even money-wise. The material under his hands grew warmer as he tightened his grip. Maybe there was a . . . a morbid curiosity, like watching a train-wreck, but there were literally no highlights or pros or good reasons to accepting Rob's offer.
Relief filled him at the sight of the complex. Sleep. He parked into his spot. All he needed was a little sleep, and later when he was well-rested and his common-sense back to full-capacity; he'd give Rob a call. He'd thank him, but decline as politely as he could so he didn't wind up on a hit list.
Glenn smiled to himself, trudging up his stairs and through the hallway, careful not to wake-up Mrs. Crimbleton from across the hall with the jingling of his keys. Woman had the ears of a wolf.
Yes. Sleep. A good eight hours of sleep would get rid of any remaining thoughts of the Electro Chapel and he could continue his non-hazardous, mostly unobjectionable, very fulfilling life in peace.
This was the domino effect from hell and it wasn't helping, going over his life.
His parents may not have helped, and Kiki's may have made things worse, but Glenn needed comfort, needed closure, needed something, because against the very rules that nature and evolution instilled within the human mind, he was driving back to the Electro Chapel.
Not to say no in person, not to scope out the place to make an informed decision, but because he called Rob three days after meeting him and said yes.
He was driving back to the Electro Chapel because he worked there now.
Adam. It was all Adam's fault. Every ounce, every iota, every minuscule molecule of blame was all on Adam. Because if Adam hadn't called out, then Glenn wouldn't have taken his shift, pulling the double, and if Glenn hadn't pulled the double, then he wouldn't have gone to the Electro Chapel, et cetera, et cetera.
Because Glenn thought he was a pretty smart guy and so in this particular case, like a defendant pleading insanity, he couldn't be held responsible for his actions.
At least that was his one golden thread of justification as he pulled into the dirt lot for the second time in his life, tires kicking up dust. It was mid-day and there weren't many more cars than the last time, but Rob said that business didn't get going until late afternoon, which made now the perfect time for inexperienced, fresh-meat like Glenn to start training.
He ran a hand through his hair, missing the familiar feel of the non-descript baseball cap of his Kiki's uniform.
He would so rather be delivering pizzas right now.
Still, he didn't walk away- determination, it was called. It could also be called stupid, moronic or unwise, but determination sounded better.
In a few steps and he was at the double doors. Again. Swallowing past the lump in this throat, Glenn pulled them open, trying to figure out (not for the first time) just what in the hell he was doing.
'The flu' his adorable ass. Adam better been recovering from fucking pneumonia.