The Banditos Family own several small businesses. Besides the new restaurant, they also own a launderette and gym in Oasis Springs. Although he was always welcome at the family villa, Antonio had his own apartment above the commercial units. Since Carlos had become absorbed in his new venture, the responsibility of overseeing the other businesses had fallen to Antonio.
Antonio knew he wasn’t a smart man. He struggled with reading, and numbers confused him. So he left the books to his brother. But Antonio had been working for the family businesses for a long time, since he was a kid working for his Grandpa, so he knew how to do the day to day jobs. And he knew how to manage the other employees and keep them in check.
He started with the launderette, the main business, the real money maker! For years it had been used as ‘The Office’ and was where all the business deals were made, and where the old gang used to hang out. He walked in to find Sullivan on front-desk duty. Sullivan was in a bad temper as usual, but Antonio could tell he had something important to tell him. There was a teenage girl in the building though, and she seemed happy to take her time with the large bag of laundry she’d brought in. Antonio acted inconspicuous, picking up some discarded clothes and putting them in the washer.
[They were a bit crusty, I think they’d been there for a while.]
‘Hey, Sully,’ he called casually, as he grabbed a sandwich, ‘is the new girl around?’
‘Yeah,’ replied Sullivan gruffly, ‘I’ll give her a shout.’
The new girl was Estelle Swan and she was in a thunderous mood. She flipped a fuse as she walked past the electric box and the machines grumbled to a halt. The teenager looked surprised and Estelle apologised, explaining there had been an electrical fault and firmly telling the girl to leave the laundry with them, and they would clean it and deliver it to their home once the electrician had been called out. They would even throw in a discount coupon for her next visit.
What could the girl do? Fortunately, she saw the funny side and finally left.
Estelle flipped the electricity back on and faced Antonio in frustration.
‘The shipment has not arrived,’ she complained angrily.
‘It hasn’t?’ Antonio pressed anxiously, ‘It was due last week, why didn’t you tell me sooner?’
‘I spoke to your brother,’ Estelle wrinkled her nose like there was a bad smell, ‘he assured me they would arrive this morning but…’
Estelle made an empty hand gesture.
‘I’ll speak to him.’ Antonio said softly, he was annoyed with his brother for not mentioning something so important.
‘Without that shipment, I won’t be able to complete the order on time,’ Estelle sighed, rubbing her temple as though she had a headache.
I know,’ replied Antonio, ‘don’t worry, I’ll get it.’
Antonio grabbed his phone and called in a favour. He was mad that his brother had forgotten about something so important. It was always the way, when Carlos started a new project he focused all his energy on it, and the old family business was neglected. But Antonio knew where the real money was. And he wasn’t going to let his brother ruin what his father and grandpa had built from scratch.
He went next door to the gym to burn off some of his frustration. Sullivan had the same idea and was already pounding it out on the treadmill. Antonio joined him and they ran in silence for a few minutes. Sullivan was the last of the old gang. They didn’t always see eye-to-eye but in situations like this, he shared Sully’s bad temper and found it companionable.
Antonio’s phone bleeped, the package was on it’s way. He breathed a sigh of relief and continued working out while he waited. He wanted to make sure it arrived this time.
Finally Sullivan gave him a whistle. The package had arrived.
Antonio took a deep breath and went out to meet his contact. Ulrike was one of the old gang but she’d moved on to other things. Antonio had known her since they were both kids, and he’d always felt something for her. She hadn’t felt the same. It was awkward and Antonio was embarrassed that he’d had to ask her for help. But she had helped. She’d gone out of her way to pick up the supplies they needed.
Antonio said thanks and watched her walk away into the night. It was Ulrike that had recommended Estelle for the job. He wondered which one of them Ulrike was more interested in helping out. He sulked back into the launderette, eyeing up the pin-up posters on the wall and wondering if he was destined to be alone forever.
He handed over the supplies to Estelle , who breathed a sigh of relief.
‘If anything like this happens again,’ he warned, ‘You call me, not Carlos. Got it?’
Estelle nodded. She knew who she could rely on now.