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Friday, March 20, 2015

THE DELI - CHAPTER 2


Lennie was Slowly Healing
 

The guys that attacked Lennie were let off with a warning and probation.

Several people said they should have had some jail time but the Judge saw all the stitches on their faces and felt they will have reminders the rest of their lives.

As for Lennie he had a various dark bruises and a couple of swellings that disappeared in a few weeks.

After Lennie’s attack the business at the Deli picked up with mothers bringing their daughters with them each time they shopped for the deli products.

Lennie’s mother said it was because the word was out that Lennie was available again.

It was the same at school; the girls his age were giving him their phone number and saying he should call them for a date.

With his forced courting behind him he started going out with a several of the young ladies for future reference.

Some of them were quickly written off from being marriage material although they were fun to be with.

Working at his parents Deli, Lennie was never paid with money.  He received a small allowance and his keep along with the promise he would have money enough for a house of his own; if and when he decided to get married after schooling was over.

Also he was promised he would inherit the Deli when his father retired. He enjoyed working at the Deli especially debating with the women who shopped there.

They always wanted more for less while he said they got too much for what they were paying. It for him was the best part of working there for many of them reminded him they had some daughters who were soon going to be marriageable age.

They would laud their talents such as being thrifty, good cooks and house keepers.

He would smile and say, “I will think about it when I’m old enough for a woman.”

They knew he was teasing, and in return would say, “You have been old enough for a long time now.”

When Lennie graduated his father insisted he go to business school for he said business is getting more complicated each day.  It wasn’t like the old days where you cut off a piece of cheese and put the money in the till.



He enrolled in a business college and began to see his father’s business was going to soon pass away.  Too many things were against it.

He couldn’t convince his father this was true even as the neighborhood began to change.

Each time Lennie tried to bring up the subject his father would go into a rage and blame Lennie for ruining the business.

As a last resort he brought his father down to the store for he hadn’t been there for a couple of years. He told his father to go up and down the streets and greet the old customers he saw.

An hour later his Dad came back and said, “There was no one.  I knocked on the doors of old friends and they had moved or died.”

Lennie told him,  “This has been going on for the last ten years.  None of the old customers came in anymore and their prices had been too high to attract new people.”

He explained that people shop differently now. They wouldn’t pay more for a better homemade product. They were buying commercially packaged products rather than fresh sliced cheese.  - - And, He told his father, they were losing three thousand dollars a month.

He went on and said he had pulled out the old show cases and replaced them with open cases with prepackaged food that people could pick up and bring to the checkout counter like other stores.

His father was silent as he listened.  Lennie went on and said, “We now sell coffee, sandwiches, donuts and the like for takeout, other than that everything in already prepared packages. 
All the old help is gone otherwise our losses would have been double. We are beginning to make money again.

I have a buyer who wants to buy the store and we need to sell while we can.”

His father was astounded that things had changed, and were in such a bad shape.

His father said, “Maybe if you took a cut in your salary it would help.”

Lennie said, “I haven’t taken a penny in salary for the last three years, so I don’t think that is the answer. 
You and Ma are deeply in debt."

Lennie continued, “If we sell now, you and Ma will have enough money to get by for the rest of your life, if not you will lose your house for there is a note due and payable.”

To Be Continued

 

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