Wednesday, June 13, 2012
At Su Casa Mexican Restaurant, the day had started off badly. The early morning maintenance crew arrived to find a small flood in the kitchen area, caused by a pipe under the sink that had sprung a multitude of leaks. Water sprayed out in all directions, like a monster garden sprinkler turned full force. Moisture dripped off every standing appliance, and the puddles on the floor pooled to a good three inches. Getting the kitchen ready for the Friday lunch rush would be near impossible. The crew's supervisor had the unfortunate duty of calling the business's owner to inform her of the problem. Knowing Marita Rivera as he did, the unlucky gentleman wished he had called in sick today.
Twenty minutes later, the boss lady arrived like a bat out of hell, screaming, ranting and swearing up a blue streak. She grabbed a broom from one of the crew members and barked out orders, insisting that the restaurant would open on time at 11:00 AM, and using the handle on anyone who didn't move fast enough to suit her.
"Pedro, turn the water off for the whole restaurant, and call the damn plumber! Tell him he better get this shit fixed, or I'll kick his ass all over Dollyville! Juanita, I'm not paying you to stand there like a pole. Grab a mop and help Sam clean up the water from the floor. Why do I have to explain every little thing? Are you people stupid, or what?"
Marita gabbed a sponge herself, and began to wipe down the sopping appliances. She had meant to call her husband earlier to check if he had followed through with their plans, but had gotten distracted by the phone call from the supervisor. Once she finished with the kitchen issues, she'd give him a ring and find out if it was "mission accomplished" time. After twenty years of marriage, she knew her husband better than anyone else. Marco would surely over think the carefully laid plans, and then talk his cowardly self out of the whole thing. Damned if she would let that happen! They had come too far to let anything derail them now.
Before she could finish wiping down the grill, Juantita, still holding a dripping mop, interrupted her train of thought. "Mrs. Rivera, there are some people at the front door. They need to talk to you."
"If they're salesmen, tell them to make a damn appointment, if they're customers, tell them we open at 11:00, and if it's anyone else, tell them to go to Hell! Can't you see I'm up to my elbows in problems right now, you idiot?!"
When no answer was forthcoming, Marita turned around to find herself face to face with Sheriff Beckett, and that young priest from Holy Family, whose name she could not remember. For an instance her stomach dropped to her feet, and confusion reigned in her head.
The priest stepped forward and gently led her out of the kitchen into the dining room. With a look of compassion, Fr. O'Kenney said, "Mrs. Rivera, maybe you better have a seat. We've come with bad news."