Sandy was blissfully absent during Maxine’s meeting with the three loudest customers Sandy had ever had. Her head was ringing from orders and cat calls coming non-stop. Thankfully, when Maxine was able to close her shop and finish her meetings with Jill, she was right on time to find Sandy sweeping the floor around the hurricane that was Mora and Reiko’s table.
Liz was like adding another log to the fire of Mora and Reiko’s evening. They had someone to talk to that could keep up with them and they shared stories of the mist and it’s dangers. It was during this talk that Sandy had a moment of clarity. Just because she was back in the cafe, the day seemed normal all over again when it was the second most exceptional day of her entire life. So much had happened that she still couldn’t stop moving. The talk of being careful of monsters in the woods and the things you could have found in Fable was becoming an ordinary, everyday thing. Sandy wondered if she should tell travelers who come in off the train that if you go too far into the woods, you’d have to kick a Glorp in half.
She looked down to see her bare foot when Maxine noticed it and the small dog gave Sandy such a look. Sandy closed up the cafe during Maxine’s meeting with Mora and it was plain to see it went well. Mora was actually quiet for once and Reiko got to feast in peace on the last burger they had… again. Mora and Reiko were excused after the sun was long gone from the sky and the night was pitch black. Kona came to pick them up with a lantern in hand and finally… the cafe was quiet at last.
Maxine was served some cheese and crackers as her dinner and Sandy, who normally never drank, couldn’t resist sharing some of Maxine’s wine.
What a day, hmm?
You bet. I don’t know if I can handle two of those in a row.
Hopefully you won’t have to. I’d heard you had to deal with a monster on the way.
Yeah. Elizabeth took care of it.
Hmm? That’s not what I heard.
Well. I “took care of it” but Elizabeth helped me. She told me I could~
And then you did. Good job, Sandy. I couldn’t be more proud of you.
Well what is that worth, hmm? Here. Thanks to your efforts, Mora’s cider will flow through the Escapade as Fable’s first supply line from the outside in…
Hmm… It’s been so long, I can’t even remember.
Must be the wine. *giggle*
I’ve closed up in the back, ma’am. May I be excused for the day?
No, not yet. Let me do this before I forget.
Sandy was puzzled. Her ears stood up perfectly straight when Maxine reached for the bag at her side where Sandy’s pay had come from before, tied closed with red string. Maxine spread it with her large fingers and produced an amount of thick golden coins. She expertly got just the right amount with one scoop, pushing a column into her palm and then counting them with her thumb just before putting them in front of Sandy on the table with a loud jingle. The harsh ‘clank’ of the coins on the table made Sandy’s eyes grow as wide as saucers.
T-they come in gold?
I really should teach you all of the fundamentals. But yes, Fable coins come in three major metals, with several others meant for the bank’s use.
Has no one paid in gold yet? I suppose that’s good considering that would eat up all of your change.
How much is this?
It’s a simple system of tens, just like the rest. Each one gold coin is ten silver coins.
Sandy was stunned. She stood there motionless for a moment. If that were true, then this small pile was even larger than what she’d paid to work at Fable to date. She couldn’t believe it.
Is… is this mine now?
Please don’t be so meek about it, Sandy. You should expect things like this.
Thank you! You’re incredible! I’ve never had a tip this large! You’re so nice!
Stop right there.
Fundamentals it is. I need to tell you something about tonight so you can better expect what will happen in the future.
If you had done everything you did today without expecting something like this, you have unfortunately been trained to be abused.
Handling two special guests likely would have earned you a small tip, probably provided by them. But there’s much that was above and beyond today.
You prepared the entire cafe for them. You prepared a welcoming, too.
You waited on them all day, travelled across town, picked up new supplies…
Then there’s the hazard pay of being attacked. The replacement for your shoes.
I’m sorry, I didn’t even think about overtime.
Overtime? That has nothing to do with it.
Sandy, I want to impress something on you. The amount of effort we give to business does not entitle us to anything.
… huh? But that doesn’t make sense. You make it sound like I deserve all this extra pay. What’s it for, then?
It’s because we succeeded, Sandy.
We worked hard to make our efforts bear fruit. And because they did, we get to enjoy it. If they did not, then we would be back where we started, but wiser for it.
As strange as it sounds, I don’t wish to ask you to work hard. I want you to succeed.
What I admire about you is that when hard work was the barrier between us and success, you overcame it.
Please do not hate me when there will be no tip after our less-fortunate ventures.
This is so much. Thank you… Thank you, anyway.
You’re welcome. And don’t thank me too much.
After all… I suspect some of that money is coming right back to me.
Well, I do need a new pair of shoes.
Let’s head on over and get them ordered. I’ll take your size in my shop.
Good work, Sandy. You’ve proven I can count on you.