The burger seekers were back.
Kim had recomposed herself after the early morning snafu. She had driven out the negative vibes she acquired. Back as a quiet part-time working student, she continued her routines as methodically as possible.
But then, the reappearance of the pair reignited her apprehensions. She was unsure this time why they approached her in the counter instead. What were they up to now?
“Miss, do you know the guy who sat at the spot in front of us?” the bearded man asked, towering over her five-foot-four figure. “Is he a regular?”
Kim stared at her inquisitor with awe. She wondered how some Filipinos would grow as big and menacing, unlike the rest of the population who were malnourished by poverty.
“She likes you,” joked the partner, showing teeth that were discolored by chain smoking.
Kim did not react to the jest. She was of two minds on what to say: she did not know them nor the man they asked about. Her reply might help the two and place the other in danger. Even the timing of her manager’s absence who went to an appointment, pinned her to the dilemma.
“What is it all about?” she finally asked picking the safest option from her choices.
“Do you know him personally?”
“He’s a regular to confirm your question but no, I do not know him.”
“Have you been working here long enough?”
Kim was suddenly frightened. Perhaps, these two worked for Immigration. Her stay in the country was legal, complete with all the necessary papers. However, working was not part of it: she had no working permit to speak of.
“The manager left me in charge. That says something.”
The bearded man placed his right hand to his pocket, trying to remove something out of it. Kim feared that it could be a warrant for her arrest for working illegally. She closed her eyes and waited for the verdict.
“You’re it!” he announced. He motioned to his partner to produce the item. “Give that to him.”
When Kim opened her eyes, she saw him wiping his forehead with a soft towel. She stomped her left foot on the cement floor, inwardly blaming herself for thinking of the worst. She was again mistaken.
The unwrapped item he referred to was easily recognizable. She was familiar with it.
“He left this on the seat beside him. We tried to return it to him but it seemed he was not in the mood to approach us.”
“He led us to a tiresome goose chase,” added the smoker. “I nearly collapsed.”
That’s understandable, she thought, nodding in contemplation. She knew the feeling.
“Tell him to be careful next time. He’s lucky, we’re the good guys.”
Kim gave them both a long hard look before her beautiful Asian face displayed a charming smile. She felt relieved that every bad notion she thought about the two were false.
“Do you like some coffee?” she asked more pleasantly. “A cold drink, perhaps?”
“That’s a great idea,” the bearded man agreed, taking out his wallet.
“It’s on the house, sir!” Kim offered. She was willing to subtract the amount from her pay. “You will always be welcomed here, sirs!”
“You hear that!” he exclaimed.
“Yeah!” confirmed his partner without reservation. “She likes you.”
(to be continued…)