When I got to Mag I was greeted at the door by Andy who clearly seemed to be in a mood....He was grousing about one of the delivery drivers taking off without leaving the product because no one was here to unlock yet.....then he groused about the way the restaurant was left last nite at closing - wasn't happy about the cleanliness or lack there of. While I appreciated his attention to detail and concern for the business, this mood was a little off his ordinary track and I found myself getting a little cranky at the thought that he was kind of dressing me down for this stuff. Instead of reminding him that I was the one who hired him and I was the one who signed his paychecks AND I was the one who worked 5 or 7 days a week, 15-18 hours a day, I took the path of least resistance and apologized. I mean, we all have our moody days and he was entitled - I just had this lingering concern, call it one of my voices, that left me worried about what I was seeing out of Andy, not only today but for the past few weeks.
The culture of a restaurant is similar to that of, in most cases, a dysfunctional family and you generally have those employees who act out, those that are very high maintenance, those that are always on the verge of being fired, and those who want to fix everything and everyone. People laugh about that movie "Waiting" but in all honesty it really can be like that...at least in some ways.
Normally, Andy's personality was that of the caretaker - the one who wanted to keep peace and fix everything - and that is not a bad thing when it comes to a supervisor or manager - as long as they are able to hold the line and hold people accountable it is a good quality. What I saw from Andy the past few weeks was more of the high maintenance and acting out behavior. I began to hear whispers and rumors from our employees and people who worked at other restaurants and the clubs that Andy had been acting weird, not just at work, but every where he was seen. He started to look as though he was physically letting himself go or doing things that were not so healthy. I decided that I would make it more of a focal point to keep a close eye on what was happening with him and made a mental note to invite him out for a beer or drink to see if I could figure out what was up. In the mean time, there really wasn't anything I was going to allow to fuck with my mood or the good day I was going to have!
The day progressed, the restaurant was busy and I was feeling very fortunate for the good things that were happening in my life. It was Friday and I was looking forward to taking the weekend off to, hopefully, work on the things that would make the new restaurant happen. As 3pm approached I decided that I was going to wrap things up and I knew that Andy was about ready to turn things over to our Carly, our night manager so I asked him if he wanted to take off, go get a bite at my favorite little Italian place and have a couple of drinks. He hesitated for a minute but then agreed. I made sure to let him know he didn't have to join me, that nothing was going on and he looked relieved and said he was going to go home, change and then meet me there. In the mean time, I left instructions for the staff to have JD call me on my cell if he happened to stop in or call - I was a little worried because I was just sure I would have heard from him earlier in the day - but, as is the case with many things, I had no control over how quickly or slowly this process was going to go. Damn, I impressed even my own self with my patience and maturity today!
I arrived at Teresa's, my favorite little Italian restaurant in the gayborhood and I was met by Miss Teresa herself. She made small talk and gave me a big hug and said "Welcome Mateo" as she always did. I decided to just sit at the bar and visit with my friend Steve who was the bar manager. Steve was a crazy guy, in his mid 30's, who had been married, divorced and then moved into the neighborhood when he got the gig at Teresa's. I have never really been sure if he was gay or straight or even bi and the subject has never come up though we have spent many nights together at his bar discussing everything from old music to philosophy to politics.
About three cocktails and a plate of anti pasto into my evening Andy arrived and he looked pretty rough.....like he was still having a really bad day and was really grumpy about something. Steve gave him a draft beer as was his normal routine and he munched on some of the appetizers still on the plate. We chatted, ordered and ate and he seemed to mellow out and lighten up a bit. Shortly after dessert Andy got a phone call and went outside to take it. He was gone for quite some time and when he returned he looked really agitated so I asked him if everything was ok......he paused for a minute and got angry saying "Why do you always have to be in my business?? We are not at work so leave me alone!" The outburst was so out of character that it even caught Steve's attention.
I decided to back off and told the guys I was going to get some air (I was really going to sneak a smoke but my pals didn't know I still smoked on occasion). Andy followed me outside and continued his tirade......."I thought we were friends and you are just gonna get up and walk away - what the fuck dude?" Steve came out and heard that part and suggested to Andy that he probably ought not talk to his boss like that - Andy told Steve to but out and then Andy got in my face shouting "What the fuck dude-you're gonna just walk out" "What, you're going to be my boss now" The whole thing was really strange and I backed away a bit, lit a smoke, and then kind of turned away from Andy. At that point Andy started to punch the brick wall on the outside of the building and he was just screaming....more like grunting but he really did a number on both his hands. I tried to get him to calm down and he came right at me...knocked the cigarette out of my hand and the next thing I knew....WHAM....he hit me with his fist - direct shot to the side of my face and jaw.
Ordinarily I am not one to back away from a good old fashioned bar brawl but this was different - this was a guy I considered to be a friend and there was just something really wrong that nite. When I didn't retaliate, or really do anything to put up a defense Andy got more irritated, punched the wall again, kicked a bench and then started walking up the street screaming at me every few yards until he was out of sight. I didn't really worry about him walking as he only lived a few blocks away. So fast forwarding again - Steve took me back inside - poured me a stiff shot of single malt scotch and a shot of Fernet, gave me an ice pack and we spent the rest of the night schmoozing about what the fuck had just happened. I stayed til closing time and walked out with Steve, thanked him and apologized profusely and headed home to nurse my jaw and the hangover I knew would be there in the morning.
I woke that next morning with a sore jaw, a bruise on the side of my face and a headache from mixing rum, red wine, scotch and Fernet and I wasn't at all sure what part of it was the worst. 5:30 am came way too early but I forced my self to get up, wandered into the kitchen to start the coffee and then headed into the shower. When I emerged from the shower I saw the full effect of my little run in from the previous night. The bruise was good size and it was clear it wasn't going to go away before I had to go into Magnolia. I wasn't going to have to worry about seeing Andy as it was his normal day off but I wasn't at all sure what I was going to tell everyone else.
I got to the restaurant and let the first of the several delivery guys in. Not a one said anything about the bruise - they all just went about their business, delivered what they came to deliver and collected the checks for the goods.
About an hour before opening Carly arrived to open up. She immediately noticed the bruising and asked me what the hell happened. She knew I was meeting Andy the night before - "What the hell, did you guys get all liquored up and start a bar fight at Teresa's? The only thing I said was "something like that" - I think she sensed I didn't really want to talk about it so she was respectful of that and didn't pry too much. She did offer a little make-up to help cover the bruise but I declined - it was a nice thought but I am just not a make-up kinda guy - I would just deal with it the way it was.
I realized that, with all the excitement the night before and the fending off of employee and customer questions, I hadn't heard a word from JD and I found myself getting a little anxious about that but, again, I talked myself down....I have to maintain some sense of composure as these things do take a little time.
Two hours after the Magnolia opened I got a call on my cell from Andy. I wasn't really sure how to answer or what to say so I just picked up and said hello
Andy: "Boss, I owe you a really big apology - I don't know what got into me yesterday but I really need to see you - can you pop over to my place for a quick chat?"
The only response I could come up with was "Not if you are going to go off on me again - I'd rather meet somewhere in public"
Andy: "No, no, no....I promise - I just really need to see you and my car is in the shop today.....please....just buzz over for a few minutes"
So the better part of common sense was obviously not present and I heard myself say - "Ok....I don't have a lot of time but I can be over there in about 15 minutes - other than that my day is pretty full"
Andy: "No that's great....whatever works for you....I'm not going any where today"
I ended the conversation by telling him I was on my way and I would see him in a few and hung up. I thought about calling JD just to see if he'd ride over there with me but thought better of it. I didn't feel threatened or afraid, I just had no idea what I was walking into - especially after the way he acted last nite. I told Carly I had to run a couple of errands and if I wasn't back in an hour to call me on my cell - she rather looked puzzled at that part but nodded her head and went back to work.
I got to Andy's place, which, by the way, was a small, kind of run down motel with weekly rates. He hadn't saved enough to afford his own apartment and didn't know many people so this was where he was. I walked up to the second floor and knocked on his door and was absolutely blown away when he answered. There was Mr. Grade A Beef (as I called him earlier in the tale) in a white wife-beater and black Calvin Klein boxers. He was pretty defined in the chest department...and pretty big biceps...had a great tan and, obviously wasn't lacking in the dick department. He ushered me in and thanked me for coming by - apologized for not being dressed (said he just got out of the shower) and asked if I wanted some coffee.
As he was pouring me a cup he kind of looked up at me - stopped what he was doing and said "Oh my god - your face" and, of course, being the smart ass that I am I responded by saying "You like it - I just had it done last night". Andy put the cup down and walked over to me close; so close I found myself backing up a bit. He gently ran his hand along the side of my face circling the bruise and apologized again. What happened next shocked the shit out of me as he leaned in a kissed the bruised area on the side of my face very gently. I found myself frozen in place....not for any other reason than I was just stunned. Andy then pulled me a little closer and started using his tongue on the side of my face and then around my ear lobes and neck. I was still in a state of shock when I realized he was unbuttoning my shirt. I think the most disturbing part in all of this was that I did nothing to discourage or stop him. Remember that little Angel vs. Devil thing I talked about earlier - well there was no Angel voice popping off in my head - only the little devil guy!
When Andy managed to get my shirt completely unbuttoned he stepped back a bit and took his tank top off revealing a very well defined chest and set of pecs. Nipples about the size of quarters surrounded by a very nice dusting of dark hair with that almighty treasure trail very clearly defined. He returned with his mouth to my neck, working his way over my nipples (yes...the nipple thing) while his hands fumbled with the very complicated, yet fashionable, belt I was wearing. I finally brushed his hands away and undid the belt myself. And he slid my jeans and underwear down all together, pushed me back on the bed, undid my shoes and stripped me naked of all clothing - all in about 15 seconds time. As he stood up he dropped his boxers and he was sporting about 7.5" of meat.....standing straight up at his belly, with a big mushroom head - not too thick, but there was plenty of him along with a ball sack that looked like it was holding two hefty's!
I'd like to tell you that this was a very sexy and sensual encounter but, in reality, it was like my old classic ones - carnal, raw, a little raunchy and very, very fast. He blew me and I fucked him and then he jacked himself off while facing me and riding my dick a second time. All in all, about 40 minutes and, if I had been wearing a watch, I would have been watching it. I just didn't know what I was doing or why....and for that matter, what the hell he was doing. Was this his way to make up for the shit last night or what........
About that time my phone rang and it was Carly, right on time. I told Andy that I needed to go but we still had things to talk about. He looked a little sad but I didn't really care at that point. I was pissed at him and even more pissed at me for what had just happened.
Andy asked if he still had a job and that pissed me off too - "What, did you think by getting me over here and bedding me I would forget about last night? Dude, you have some serious issues and you've got about 15 minutes to tell me what's going on or no, you don't have a job!!"
Andy: "I know, I know...I didn't mean for it to come out like that. Listen...over the past several weeks I have found myself really attracted to you - it's getting hard to work around you because of the feelings I have - and I've gotten myself into some stuff with some of these guys I have been hanging around with and it's not good. I owe a bunch of people money....I've been smoking, drinking and doing other stuff way too much and I've been really pissed the last few days. I didn't mean for the sex to happen today and that wasn't why I wanted you to come over - I wanted to ask you for help and explain things. The sex....well.....you make me horny and I pretty much didn't want to stop it once I touched you".
So for the sake of the reader's digest version - I told Andy that as long as he got some help, whether it was a counselor or a 12-step group or some other form of support, he could keep his job. I also told him that there was no way in hell what happened here in the bedroom would ever happen again. He nodded that he understood what I was saying and I made him promise to come to me if he was having problems - not to let it explode like it did the night before. I also told him he needed to go see Steve and apologize, not only for his sake but for the sake of my reputation and that of my business. With that I got up to leave and he approached me, a little cautiously, and I gave him a big hug. I did tell him, once again, that this was it and if he fucked it up he was done with me and then I was on my way.