Paul Compton stood in the storage room of the Best Burger restaurant checking out the image of him staring back from the full length mirror that was placed carefully on the back of the door. There were silver colored wire shelves all around the room filled with cardboard boxes with the tops ripped off containing ketchup and mustard packets, there were plastic tubs of mayonnaise stacked on the shelves as well as plastic bags of paper cups and lids for fountain drinks and stacks of French fry boxes in all sizes along with paper bags for takeout orders. At six feet one inch tall, he was only a couple inches below the top of the mirror. He read the sign posted above the mirror out loud.
“Have you checked yourself today? Why yes, yes I have and thank you, I’m checking myself right now thank you very much; oh and those brown eyes are gorgeous young man. Well thanks again Mr. Mirror!” He said sarcastically while snapping his fingers and pointing at himself in the mirror. Paul admired his perfect teeth and practiced smile admiring his chiseled jaw and dark brown eyes. There had to be a better way to make money than flipping burgers he thought, or as in this place running them through a char broiler that was chain fed, but at seventeen it was going to have to do especially since his dad had recently lost his company business in some lawsuit gone bad. Paul went from being a star football player, dating one of the hottest cheerleaders and having money seemingly falling out of his pockets to the family almost being homeless, moving to the ghetto side of town as everyone called it and having to get a job and work. Life seemed so cruel to him, but maybe this was a good lesson. He wasn’t sure how, but he did find out who some of his true friends were during the ordeal. Maybe working would teach him something. He wasn’t sure what that was yet, but after all these months working, there must be a lesson somewhere.
He slicked back his shoulder length brown hair and pointed at him self in the mirror again quite pleased at what he saw.
“Hey man, watch out! You have to be careful coming in here. Don’t you know the rules?” He screamed as a boy he’d seen in school walked in. His face turned red and he clinched his jaw as he tried to control his anger but that was a hard thing for him to do. The rage was instantaneous and made him see red, but usually for only a few seconds.
“Oh, sorry, I’m new here. No one told me about any rules yet. I’m Cole Jeffries and you are the football guy Paul right? You play that big position, what’s it called…” Paul nodded a little annoyed.
“Right, quarterback.” Cole thrust out his hand and felt a momentary but very distinct coldness that he knew all too well as Paul took his hand and shook it. Paul was not saved, Cole had the gift of knowing that the second he shook his hand. He didn’t know how the gift worked, but the second he shook anyone’s hand or got near someone, it was clear to him if they were on the path to heaven or possibly hell whichever the case may be. He shivered at the thought and let go. It was after all an opportunity for him to share when the time was right.
“Sorry about the door, the manager told me to get a shirt and a paper hat back here.”
Paul’s anger slowly left and he unclenched his jaw as he sized up the lanky kid with blond locks and brown eyes he’d seen around school before. He always had a few kids around him as he was always speaking about God and he was always carrying a Bible around waving his hands animatedly in the hallway like some deranged television evangelist.
“Yeah, I’m the football guy and you’re the Jesus freak right?”
“Jesus freak, sweet, I guess that would be me.”
“Anyway, don’t worry about the door, there’s kind of an unwritten rule to knock prior to walking in just in case someone is standing behind it like me for instance just now. I didn’t mean to scream, but sometimes my anger gets the best of me.”
“I couldn’t tell.” Cole said with a smile on his face. Paul shook his head.
“Okay funny guy, the shirts are hanging on that rack on the very back wall and the hats are right here. Make sure you use a marker and write your name on the inside of your hat as you will find that Pete is always trying to save money. He makes us wear our hats for at least a week before we can get a new one. Sometimes after a week, your hat can look kind of gross. One big stain of grease of grease than our fries have if you know what I mean.”
Paul punched his time card, slid it in the slot and walked out to the front counter. He grabbed the piece of paper and read his name. Printed neatly next to his name were the initials BB.
“Burger Board” he mumbled to himself as he scanned the rest of the list. That wasn’t too bad for the dinner evening rush. He considered himself the best burger maker anyway. He scanned the rest of the list. He found Cole’s name with the initials FF.