Word of Mouth (Invite Only)
Kiyoshi looked down at himself and made a face. He wasn't dressed up for this. Should he have bought a suit? But who went to an interview in a suit? Well, a bartending interview, that is.
He was dressed plainly in jeans and sneakers, a deep blue tee with a faded "42" on the front in white. It was simple, unassuming, and most importantly, Kiyo could move in it. His long hair was neatly braided, hanging down his back in a single thick rope, and he had his backpack slung over his shoulder. He always used his own equipment when he flairtended and he assumed that that would be a part of any interview, if he was able to get one.
He looked at the series of buildings and abandoned airplanes that sprawled out in front of him. There was no doubt this was the place. The area was quiet. There was a car out front. Walking up to the main entrance Kiyoshi cautiously pushed the door open and peered inside.
His voice echoed across a large dance floor. Beyond that was a long sleek chrome bar. At the moment it was stacked high with boxes and bottles and boxes of bottles. Kiyoshi didn't see anyone immediately. His inclination was to turn around and leave, come back later, but he needed a job and he didn't want to lose an opportunity.
He slid inside the door and let it close softly behind him. "Excuse me? Is there anyone here?"
It was a large place. There had to be someone around somewhere. He would find them. He opened up his senses for anything that indicated the presence of another person.
There was the swish of the doors opening and an unfamiliar voice. Evan looked back at the mirrors behind the bar hoping to get a look at the stranger before standing up, however the boxes were piled so high on the counter that he couldn't see anything but them in the reflection.
He stood, peering over some of the boxes and then came around the far side of the counter, wiping his hands on his faded jeans. Evan's considerable mass of hair was pulled into two braids that rested on his shoulders, the middle and ends were wrapped in red leather lacing. His black tee shirt had a sun in the middle of it with letters that read 'The Sun is Trying to Kill Me" across it in yellow, over that was a dark blue shirt unbuttoned and hanging loose. He had beaded leather bands around his wrists and a little white stone wolf on a leather thong around his neck. There was no help for the dust in his hair so Evan pretended that it wasn't there.
He smiled at the young man who was standing near the entrance.
"Hey, Did you need something?"
As the man rounded the bar Kiyo's eye was drawn to his shirt. Reading it, he smiled briefly to himself. "Are you Evan Talkingwater?" Kiyoshi hated making assumptions but it seemed reasonable in this case.
He looked up (and up) at the man with the very long braids, longer than Kiyo's. Stepping forward some, Kiyo took a deep fortifying breath. "I was told to look for you when I got to Nachton, sir. I heard a rumor that you might be looking for a bartender soon. Someone who could put on a show."
The bartending circle wasn't that huge. The flairtending circle was even smaller. If Evan followed flairtending at all he would have heard Kiyoshi's name.
"My name is Kiyoshi Salinas. If the rumor was correct, sir, I'd be flattered if you would give me a try. Please. Unless you've found someone already?"
He shifted his weight from the ball of one foot to the other before balancing himself and finding some other way to fidget - by toying with the strap of his backpack.
After making that declaration, he smiled and shoved his hands in his pockets. "Yes, I'm Evan."
Listening to the guy talk, Evan raised his eyebrows. He was looking for a bartender, specifically one who could make a better show of it than he could. Evan could pour a drink but there was no flash involved with the it, unless you counted adding a nice olive on a plastic sword. He also couldn't be at the bar at open, especially in the summer so he needed someone else; that and the place was huge.
"I have heard that rumor also..."
When the quiet spoken stranger finished speaking, Evan's eyebrows had risen even higher. Unless there were two bartenders with similar names then this guy was more than capable of putting on a show, and not just any show but ones that would make the antics in "Cocktail" look like child's play. He wanted to work here? He could work anywhere. However, Evan hadn't been born yesterday and was not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
"Nooooo... We haven't found anyone yet."
Evan walked around toward the bar, motioning Kiyoshi to come along with him. "The only bartender we have at the moment, is me. I can't be here all the time and I can make a drink." Taking a bottle and one of the glasses, he motioned pouring one into the other. "Ta da! Exciting! So unless I intend to do some stand up comedy along with my bar tending it won't be much of a show."
Pulling some of the boxes down, Evan cleared away a large section of the bar. "I've heard of you but in case you're not the you that I've heard of, care to give me a demonstration?"
Following Evan, Kiyoshi went around the bar. He listened to Evan, conversely becoming quieter the more the tall man spoke. He did smile, though, nodding his head in understanding when Evan demonstrated his need for a bartender who was also a showman.
When Evan asked for a demonstration Kiyoshi nodded. "Yes sir. Of course." He looked around them. None of the bottles were open so there was no point in demonstrating any actual drink-making. Rather than remain behind the bar Kiyoshi put his backpack on the bar, opened it, and took out a few supplies. He didn't want to risk breaking anything of Evan's so he'd brought with him his practice gear; two shakers and two vodka bottles full of water and covered in a thin layer of vinyl.
Rounding the bar, heading back to the dance floor, Kiyoshi stopped in the middle and took a breath. He focused his attention on planning out his movements and felt his nerves fade away even before he began. He normally hated to perform but he couldn't deny that every time he did, it was very zen for him. He began to move, rolling one of the bottles along his arm behind his neck, tossing the two shakers and the second bottle up into the air. The first bottle joined them, and he was off.
Kiyoshi was not the most exciting performer to watch; he knew that. His movements were not quick or explosive. Instead he flowed from one trick to the next, his lean body more graceful than it appeared when he was motionless. As he warmed to his impromptu routine his tricks became larger and more difficult; he stopped the spin of his bottles on his lips, a dangerous thing to do as it could break teeth if done wrong. He used one hand, two hands, sometimes no hands, keeping bottles and shakers flying. He loved the patterns they made in the air, the invisible shapes he knew were there because he was throwing.
No, he wasn't exciting, exactly, but he knew he was good.
After about three minutes or energetic flair Kiyo caught his bottles and shakers with a flourish and bowed to Evan.
"Was there something else you wanted to see sir?" Kiyo certainly had other talents although those didn't necessarily apply here.
He waited for Evan's answer, still feeling hopeful as the glow of his performance faded and he was left with the nerves.
He leaned forward and watched in rapt attention as Kiyoshi seemed to go somewhere else while he performed. There was a certain look of calm concentration that made the whole routine look more like a graceful dance or zen-like meditation and less like the flashy juggling routines he had seen far more often.
When Kiyoshi was done, Evan spoke quietly. "That was beautiful."
The next question reminded him to move. Evan smiled brightly. "Just Evan, please." Sir sounded so proper, so English, especially the way Kiyoshi said it...like he meant it.
"Well it would help to know if you can make a drink that tastes good as well make such a wonderful display out of serving it."
He picked up his legs and rolled over to the other side of the bar. "By the way, who sent you here?" Evan would like to know if it was a human acquaintance or shifter. It was doubtful that any of his own kind would be applying any time soon.
Looking up at the ceiling he asked. "How would one make an Jager Bomb, Amaretto Sour, and a Scooby Snack?" One any frat kid would know, the next any decent bartender and the last was just an oddball drink he had to look himself when someone had ordered it. Thankfully, there was an app for that.
It wasn't that Navid was careless or reckless with his identity, but honestly it was such a random and obscure reference that the only ones who would get it were those that were already in the know.
He'd slid quietly into the bar catching just the very last of the show. His day had not gone terribly well and he, as well as his cargos and t-shirt, were looking rumpled. Navid wasn't good at sitting idle and so he'd had an interview for a part time charter pilot position, that had been fun apparently he looked Middle Eastern to the people interviewing him and they'd been less than polite about it. He'd tried to keep an eye on his cousin but they had hunted together too many times and had too much training in common for her not to know he was about which had led to another row. At least this one had been less of an event and was over much faster. She'd even had lunch with him so they were back on speaking terms. The rest of the day had been spent at the library working on classes and trying to iron out the final details for him being in the States. Why that should have made a difference he didn't know, but the university said it did and it was a headache.
"And isn't it a bit early in the evening? Even for you?"
There wasn't anything in his tone or expression to indicate he wasn't serious about either comment. But Evan would know. On some levels it still bothered Navid to be friends with a vampire, generations of inherited memories didn't just go away because you wanted them too. But he'd learned more than enough about this particular vampire over the years that it was only a tiny speck of bother. Of course, those warm and fuzzy feelings didn't extend to any other's of Evan's kind, but that was another story for another day.
He padded, barefoot (which was yet another story and the cap to his less than ideal day), to the bar and quietly took a seat waiting for introductions. Apparently they were interviewing a new bartender. Yes he could have introduced himself, but Navid took the 'silent partner' routine quite literally on occasion. He nodded agreeably to the guy behind the bar and wondered if apparently he needed to grow his hair out.
Their interviewee had an exotic look to him, if he worked out he'd probably be popular with the crowd possibly men and women. Navid did hope this guy was not a vampire he didn't know if he could deal with more than one, but he had promised to be open minded. You couldn't tell by looking though.
He was immediately requested to use Evan's name, something which seemed very unnatural to Kiyo. It was second nature for him to show respect to his employer, which obviously Evan would be. But he said, "Yes, sir. Uh, Evan. Sorry."
Kiyoshi nodded his head as Evan proposed a quiz, of sorts. He had expected this. Anyone would have asked the same of him. Fortunately, he'd made it a hobby to learn as many recipes as he possibly could. A good bartender could make anything.
Before he could reply, however, a voice behind him made him jump, dropping one of the shakers in his left hand. He crouched to retrieve it and turned in the same motion. Standing swiftly he backed out of the way as the newcomer snapped at Evan and made his way to the bar. Kiyoshi blinked; this man was slightly shorter than Evan but solidly built, muscular. He looked like he could break Kiyoshi in half. And if his words were any indication he, too was a werewolf. So... he could.
Uncertain if Evan expected him to continue immediately Kiyoshi glanced back and forth between the two men, shrinking slightly. He felt exposed and awkward alone on the dance floor. He did much better when he was behind the bar doing his job. Now, he felt intimidated and more than a little fearful.
Walking back around to the corner of the bar, Evan invited Kiyoshi back with him. "Ignore Navid, He's almost always this charming." Evan flashed a brilliant smile at the werewolf before returning his focus back to Kiyoshi. "Guillaume DuBois, this is Kiyoshi Salinas. Kiyoshi, this is Guillaume."
He crouched down behind the bar and looked over the ingredients that he already had out. Realizing that it was not all there; Evan rooted through the boxes on the bar until he found the missing bottle or two. Those he set out on the counter in front of Kiyoshi.
"Well okay, I think that's everything within reach." Evan set out some glasses and stepped back. Leaning against the bar, he glanced over at his friend and asked. "So, uhm, what happened to your shoes, Navid?"
"Well good that makes everything perfectly acceptable."
He rolled his eyes and simply let Evan take over again. Although he did hope the interviewee made a decent amaretto sour. He could do with a drink.
Jumpy thing wasn't he? Navid found himself analyzing his entrance to see if he'd been overly aggressive. No, nothing to warrant that response. Well he wasn't going to make any apologies. Lord, the man looked like he was cowering. Navid chose to ignore the reaction, possibly to chalk it up to nerves and simply offered his hand.
"Kiyoshi a pleasure to meet you. Feel free to ignore Evan he is almost always this chipper. Disturbing isn't it?"
He half smiled, which was something of a rarity when he wasn't with those he knew well.
What in the world was that crazy mulo doing? He'd just organized all that, taken an inventory. Granted he hadn't 'stocked the bar' but he knew what they had and where it was. Navid mentally counted to ten and reminded himself it wasn't a fair trail if you denied the bartender half their ingredients.
Without looking at Evan Navid simply growled, quite literally, his answer.
"They were stolen."
"Likewise, sir," he replied politely. When Guillaume asked him about Evan's attitude he felt compelled to defend the taller man, if only because he seemed exceptionally friendly and very kind. Kiyo had walked in unannounced and Evan had let him interview in spite of that. "I think it's good," he said softly.
Which reminded him. He turned back to Evan. "The one who told me you might be looking was Jen Carfora," he said, "but she heard it from someone else who got it from someone else."
He looked at the supplies in front of him while he spoke. Bending down he retrieved a few more bottles.
"Amaretto Sour, Jager Bomb, Scooby Snack. In under a minute," he said. That was an enormously fast pace. He didn't add much flair to it although he worked in enough flourish and jazz to make it interesting. None of the recipes bothered him; Kiyoshi loved mixology and stayed current on different names for different drinks as well as recipes for all of them.
True to his word, he had completed all three drinks in less than a minute and had them sitting prettily on napkins. He offered them a quick bow. "As ordered."
He stood back and quietly waited to have his work judged. His eyebrows rose in concern at Guillaume's story but he didn't comment, it wasn't his place.
The name of who recommended that Kiyoshi come here looking for a job was familiar. Someone he had seen with another friend, who was a friend of Guillaume's friend, Antoine. That narrowed down the likelihood that the shy bartender was a werewolf. One way to make sure though.
"So, you're going to need a few nights off every month? Not a problem. The ever dependable 'mulo' can be here for at least three nights." Evan looked over at Guillaume. "Tends to get quiet around here anyway...don't know why."
He watched Kiyoshi get down to the business of making the drinks he had requested. As Evan watched, the young man pulled out the correct ingredients and, with a lot more style than he had ever managed, poured the three drinks with impressive efficiency.
"Do you want me to track them down? Where were you when they were stolen?"
Evan slid the Amaretto Sour over to Guillaume, pushed the Jager Bomb a little more toward Kiyoshi and picked up the Scooby Snack.
"Here, Navid obviously could use a drink and we'll all toast to our new bartender." He turned to Kiyoshi and smiled as he drank his Scooby Snack. Evan didn't normally drink but he did taste his own concoctions enough to know when they are right. For special occasions he could make an exception and, in this case, there was a good reason. As it turned out, it was quite good.
Gods who called their employer 'sir' these days? The man, Kiyo, was meek seemed the best word for him. But he knew his way around a bar. Navid was actually impressed and he'd rather deal with meek than overly aggressive any day of the week. At least Kiyo showed some spirit disagreeing with him, even mildly. Navid grinned.
"It does take all kinds I suppose."
Letting Kiyo and Evan hash out who was who and how he came here he half snorted.
"I think you like those evenings it let's you play."
Wordlessly he took the 'girly' drink not at all ashamed.
"No. That you I took them off at the beach and two... " He cursed very rudely in two languages "ran off with them. What is wrong with this city that a man's shoes are not safe?"
Navid didn't want to discuss it any more. He would just replace the shoes and if he found the 'children' again he might make them regret the decision.
He nodded agreement when Evan hired Kiyo and joined in the toast drinking deeply.
"Yes, it is. When do you start?"
He had lost more than one job due to his inability to explain his monthly absences during the busiest time at any bar - night time. He had been informed that Evan was perfectly well aware of his kind and enjoyed working with them. Apparently that was the case; Kiyoshi appreciated that Evan was willing to make allowances for him but shamed that he had to ask for them.
Continuing to remain silent on the topic of Guillaume's shoes Kiyo made a mental note about what had transpired. He would have to be very careful when out in the city himself.
Kiyoshi glanced at both Evan and Guillaume when the Jager Bomb "frat boy" drink was pushed toward him. He wrapped his fingers around the glass and smiled briefly. "That's great. I mean thank you both."
Jager Bombs were not meant to be sipped, and Kiyoshi wasn't afraid of a good stiff drink. He was willing to admit he'd turned to alcohol many times when he was feeling stressed or inadequate. He knocked the shot back as was appropriate and swallowed against the resulting burn, replacing the glass back firmly on the bar top.
He turned his smile to Guillaume. "I can start whenever you need me. Tonight if you want. Right now." He gestured to the bar. "It seems like you could use a hand."
He was eager to get started. The money would be nice, even if he didn't know what he would be making. He wasn't at all sure he wanted to stay in his new room in spite of how nice his neighbors appeared to be. Kiyo liked his privacy and that looked like it might be in short supply no matter what corner of the building his room was in.
He placed a hand gently on Kiyoshi's shoulder. "Its nothing to worry about. We both understand and we all have our troubles to bear. I'm just glad we don't have to be open during the day." Evan crossed his arms over his chest, closed his eyes and hung his tongue out to the side, in his imitation corpse pose.
Recovering from death, he listened as Guillaume explained what happened to his shoes. "Well if you're certain..." Perhaps he'd hunt out toward the beach for the next few weeks and see if he couldn't find a few young thieves. He might not find Navid's shoes but he might deter them from any more theft.
Smiling at Kiyoshi, Evan looked around at the boxes. "Your help would be appreciated and since you're going to be behind the bar more than I will then you can set up the bottles how you like them. I'll figure the system out, I'm sure."
He looked over at his partner. "Going to hang out with us and chat a bit, Navid?"
"Who do you run with Kiyo?"
He had no issues withb the other pack, it would just be nice to know if he needed to be extra polite. He was pleased to see Kiyo willing to jump right in and get his hands dirty they had made a good decison.
Navid was pleased that the topic of his stolen footwear was dropped.
"I would be happy to watch you two work. You can tell me if we need anything for the bar yet."
Guillaume's blunt question made him jump slightly again. He wasn't used to that sort of directness. "I'm a peregrinus of the R'asa sir."
He knew Guillaume had asked him to use his name but Kiyoshi wasn't sure he could. Guillaume intimidated him too much. He distinguished the class to which he belonged just in case it mattered.
He remained behind the bar, nodding to Evan. "Okay. Sounds good." He would be doing most of the bartending? That made him happy. Kiyoshi got bored easily; if he were handling the bulk of it he would likely be very busy - and very happy. The more pressure he had to perform, the better his performances usually got.
Being too short to see into many of the boxes on the bar Kiyoshi simply lifted himself gracefully up onto it, kneeling on the bar top to crane his neck into the boxes as he started unpacking.
The smile Kiyoshi gave him was good to see, Evan smiled back, hoping it would ease the man's nerves a bit. Knowing that he had the job should help him relax as well; he hoped. It couldn't be easy knowing that one of your new employers was a vampire; everything the werewolves were taught said that the immortals couldn't be trusted...and not without good cause.
Evan nodded to Guillaume who had been doing inventory earlier in the week. "If you see anything we don't have, Kiyoshi, say something."
He watched as their new bartender hopped up on the counter to peer into the boxes that he had stacked there. Evan could have gotten them down but they needed to be able to move around behind the bar to put things away.
"Okay, well since you're up there. You hand them to me and tell me where you would like them to go."
He waved to the back shelving and the space beneath the bar. They could stock a bottle of the most common stuff beneath the bar itself but the rare stuff, the expensive less used alcohol and the extra bottles of frequently used staples could all go in the back. At least that was how it had been working in his mind, Kiyoshi might have a different plan altogether. He decided to fill the time with conversation and to drag Navid into if at all possible.
"Guillaume here is a pilot. Flying to and from exciting new places all the time. What was it last week? Cleveland?"
Navid said quite patently and without judgment. However, if Kiyo kept it up he would get extremely irritated. Instead he just nodded.
"Ah, then we are cousins of a sort. It is always good to meet more family."
For Navid, Kiyo being a peregrinus wasn't an issue. Family came from every where and it wasn't just any one that had the courage to take on the challenges of being part of the Pack. It was, however, possible that this status, had messed with Kiyo's head some what. He would try to make his demeanor more approachable.
He then did just has he had threatened and sat back sipping at his drink watching the other two work. There was something satisfying about watching them set the bar up. On extremely rare occasions he would tend bar, but it was so -very- occasionally that Navid didn't even bother to say any thing let alone offer any advice or suggestion about the set up.
Evan was apparently in 'getting to know you mode' and Navid rolled his eyes a bit snorting slightly.
"Cincinnati and that run was sheer luck. I hope this interview today gets me something more regular. Probably just shuffling little old ladies to Florida though."
The odds of him getting the job was slim though, he really was certain that the owners of the charter company wouldn't want him. Trying to give Kiyo time to adjust Navid opted not to ask a question in return. He'd actually wanted to know more about Kiyo but there was time.
"Cousins? Do you belong to the other Pack?"
While he conversed he nodded at Evan. "Okay." Kiyoshi began unpacking boxes and, checking labels, making soft suggestions about their placement. He didn't direct; he never directed. It was Evan's and Guillaume's bar, obviously, not his.
Kiyoshi looked up at Guillaume after the exchange between them. "You're a pilot Guillaume? That sounds like fun."
He opened a box of vodka; a top shelf brand. Good stuff. "Maybe this should go up top," he said to Evan. He generally used a more generic brand for mixed drinks, not the top label.
As he worked Kiyo began to relax a little. He enjoyed having something to do. And he found himself enjoying Evan's company as well; at least, he thought so. He was still reserved, still holding out judgment... but it generally took Kiyo a long time to warm up to anyone, if he ever did.
"What did you do before you decided to open Terminus?" He addressed the soft-spoken question to Evan, opening up enough to feel comfortable asking.
Evan looked between the two werewolves, hoping they would get along better once they sorted out that they belonged to the same pack. It was not his place to comment though so he kept putting bottles away. So far Kiyoshi seemed to have a sane lay out in mind. He seemed to understand which liquor was going to be used most often and which could go further back; something that came with experience.
He nodded at the high end vodka; placing it on one of the top shelves barely within his reach. If someone wanted to pay for it then someone could get a step stool and get it down. It wasn't going to be requested often.
Smiling at Kiyoshi who seemed to be comfortable enough to ask a question of his own, Evan answered. "Well I've lived a few years so..." He scratched his head thoughtfully. "I work with computers mostly these days. I'll be spending my time fixing the stuff the gaming geeks break and tweaking it, keeping it safe from nosy high tech sociopaths who think just because they can break into something it means they have a right to." He stopped that line of thought before it became a speech. With a shrug, he added. "In the past I've been a photographer, artist, carnie, warrior...you know, the usual nine to five jobs."
He tossed the empty box off to the side, moving it out of their work area. Once everything was put away behind the bar, then he would clean up again.
"So what about you? When you aren't making drinks for the thirsty masses, what do you do?"