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Short Story Day 138 of 365
Sixteen businesses in the 20-shop strip mall opened at 10, the 4 restaurants at 11.
On the outside of each door was a #10 white envelope with no logo or return address on it, just the words “Confidential: Business Owner Only” handwritten on it.
One by one as the shopkeepers opened for business, they snatched the envelope from the door and opened the envelope.
A teen working in the restaurant took the envelope and opened it too. Of course he wasn’t the business owner, but he opened it anyhow.
He scanned the letter and put it back in the envelope, and then handed it to his boss, the owner.
“Why’d you open this?” the owner asked.
“All the doors had one on them.”
“So? It’s addressed ‘Confidential: Business Owner Only.’ What are they teaching you in school these days?”
“They’re teaching us to save our employer’s time by being their gatekeepers.”
“I bet they are. Was it important?”
“Not really. Just that you’ll be evicted if you don’t give your newest employee a ten dollar an hour raise effective immediately.”
“A wise guy, huh? But anything I should know or should I open the stupid thing myself? I thought you were supposed to be my gatekeeper.”
“I am. I just told you it wasn’t worth your time opening it.”
“Is that what you did?” the owner asked.
“Yes. You have to read between the lines a little.”
“Local equivalent of the Nigerian princess email chains.”
“And you thought they were all scams,” the owner said. “I’m independently wealthy because I married one of those princesses.”
The teen looked around the restaurant.
“So, then, why the Italian restaurant? Shouldn’t it be a Nigerian restaurant?”
“Naa. If you’re gonna launder money, a Nigerian restaurant isn’t the way to do it. Italian restaurants, pizza places, and laundromats,” said the owner.
“Speaking from experience?”
“Read it on the internet so it must be true.”
“If you say so,” the teen said.
“Next time, let me open those so-called confidential envelopes, okay?”
The owner said, “If you were to do everything for me, what good is having me around then?”
“None I can think of.”
“Watch it,” the owner said. “You’re still pretty new here.”
“Sorry, Uncle Bill.”