2007-02-08: Too Good To Be True



Guest Starring: Luke the Greeter, British Girl, Bistro Boss

Summary: Monica arrives to meet with the boss for her prospective new job in the Big Apple.

Date It Happened: February 8th, 2007

Too Good To Be True

Madison Ave. Bistro, Uptown, New York

Advertised by handsome scrollwork signage and situated not far from the illustrious "fashion road" section of Madison Avenue, this restaurant is designed for the rich and, yes, fashionable. If you're in jeans and a t-shirt, you're not allowed through the velvet ropes. In fact, if you're wearing polyester in any fashion, you'll probably be escorted off the premesis immediately.

Although the name says "bistro," there's nothing informal or laidback about it. Nonetheless, if you can afford it, the atmosphere is welcoming, almost intimate. It is a high-end restaurant with small, round tables in the dining room, each covered by white cloths and topped with pink or white roses in a vase, along with elegant votive candles in glass. White pieces of flowery wrought-iron frame the windows and are also used as dividers for various areas of the restaurant. Employees are well-dressed in black slacks white dress shirts and silvery-black silky vests. The Bistro specializes in healthy lunches and, conversely, sumptuous desserts.

At the Madison Avenue Bistro, the day is just getting underway. Sunlight pours in the windows, giving what is a dim, intimate restaurant a brighter, more brunch-appropriate feel. It's precisely 10:04AM. Waiters in crisp, neat uniforms glide from one place to the other, making sure everything is perfect and attending to the mornings' first customer, a young lady by the window. At the front, a tall, thin, fresh-faced fellow in the same black slacks, white dress shirt, and silvery vest as the other employees stands welcomingly as the greeter, even so early in the day.

It's a bit different, this whole slacks, dress shirt and vest business, but it's a big step up from that god-awful scarf and hideous checked shirt from her last job, So Monica shows up, bright eyed and bushtailed so to speak, hair pulled out of her face in a neat-bun and her messenger bag bumping against her hip as she slips into the Bistro, looking around warily, eyebrows shooting up as she murmurs to herself. "Dayum…it's like boujie R us up in here…" Then she's flashing a smile and making her way up towards the front. "Hey, uh, this is the Madison Bistro right? I hope I ain't late or anything…"

"Goood morning!" The greeter… well, greets. (He's good at his job, you see.) He's very cheerful! And effeminate, as becomes obvious in the way he gestures toward Monica and questions her. "You have come to the right place. Are you…" the young man glances to an open book on the podium-like stand he's stationed at, then up at the newcomer, raising one eyebrow with a tiny bit of scepticism. Still, his good attitude doesn't change. "Monica Dawson?"

Monica's eyebrows raise as she regards the greeter and then that smile broadens as she adjusts her bag's strap so she can offer a hand over the podium. "I am! Forgive me, I didn't catch your name? Everythin's so convoluted around here, but I brought a fresh copy of mah resume and some references too." A flustered little chuckle. "I'm sorry, let me start over. I'm Monica Dawson, it's a pleasure to meetcha sir."

The young man's eyes widen with amusement at Monica for whatever reason. He extends a hand and shakes hers lightly. "I'm Luke. Greeter and occasional waiter extraordinaire! I didn't realize you were from so… away," Luke comments. "You're early," he then states, changing the subject and flashing Monica a disarming smile. "The big boss is in the back room. Do you want me to show you the way? It's just over there," he says, thumbing over his shoulder at an elegant wrought-iron divider; between the gaps in the flowery design, a short hallway can be seen. "I don't know what he does in there, but he /probably/ won't bite your head off if you go in early. He only gets pissed off - which by the way don't do like, ever - if you really screw up. But I mean, ha, wow, that wasn't very greeter-y of me… uh… this way." Luke winds around the divider and waves down the hall for Monica to go ahead, gesturing toward a door which is slightly ajar. It's across from the kitchen, which is open, full of chefs and other workers already busy artfully chopping and tossing ingredients for breakfasts and brunches.

Monica's smile fades in an amused curve of her lips as she bobs her head, shaking that hand before releasing it and shrugging her shoulders with a sheepish 'heh'. "Well, early to rise…somethin' somethin' somethin'…heh, I like to be early I guess that's what I'm sayin'." She nods easily enough. "I think I can find mah way, are you sure he won't be mad? I kinda like mah head where it is…" She grins and then takes a deep breath, squaring her shoulders as she makes her way off towards yonder door. Pausing to look over her shoulder at Luke. "Thanks…Luke, for the record? You're real greeter-y like." Then she moves to tentatively knock on the door, after continuing on her way.

Luke salutes Monica cheerfully and trots back toward the front of the restaurant.

After the door of the office is knocked upon, it opens - but it is not likely the boss type Monica was expecting. No, it's a young woman Monica's age or a bit older, in the process of tossing her hair over a peacoat she's just shrugging on. "Good luck, darling," she tells Monica in a British accent before wandering away, down the hall, leaving the office wide open.

The office is clearly multi-purpose. It's not nearly as elegant as the public areas of the restaurant, but it's neat and organized nonetheless. It's also smaller than one might expect, its many full shelves of files and supplies making it seem cramped. The high-backed office chair - ergonomically designed, of course, and probably expensive leather - is facing away from the desk, but it's obvious that someone is sitting there since it leans back heavily. "Come in," says a deep voice flatly.

Monica takes a step back as the woman exits, giving a small nod and a hint of a smile. "…thank ya ma'am." She blinks and quickly shakes her head as she slips into the office, one hand rummaging around in her bag to pull put her folder that houses her resume. "I'm sorry uh, I'm Monica Dawson and I know I'm a lil' bit early and all, but I'm still learning the public transit around here…" A pause. "Oh! I'm uh, here about the job, but I can come back later if this is a bad time."

"It's a fine time. There's nothing wrong with being early." The chair swivels about to reveal a stern-faced middle-aged man with brown hair and dark, intent brown eyes. "Hello Ms. Dawson," he greets, then adapts: "Monica." He's not nearly as cheerfully as Luke, although a brief, pleased smile does flash by. He tosses an unlabeled folder on the desk. "Have a seat. You've come a long way, haven't you? How was your trip?" In the meantime, he holds out a hand expectantly for that resume.

Monica lets out a sigh of relief, smiling as her face lights up. "Hi." She drawls shortly in greeting for a lack of anything more to say, trying not to let her nerves show. Pause and then she's moving to carefully hand over that folder with her resume. "Thank you and yeah…pretty long I spose, I mean furthest I ever been from Nawlins really was Dallas once for mah cousin's wedding." She quickly has a seat, reflexively smoothing an invisible wrinkle out of her pants. "But I been settlin' in just fine, really. I want to thank you again, for uh, agreein' to meet with me. It means alot."

"Oh, it's my pleasure, Monica," the man replies - despite the sentiment, there's hardly any of it found in his voice. "By the way, my name is Rainer Madson, I'm … sure you remember we spoke on the phone," he says as a brisk sidenote; he holds out his free hand after taking the folder. "Welcome to New York. Now…" he opens up the folder, rifles through it; either he's a fast reader, or he's not paying close attention. Nonetheless, his expression is pensive. "I'm going to be honest… your qualifications aren't great."

"Likewise, Mr Madson. It's always nice to put a face to the voice." Monica replies kindly enough, but her jaw is set by determined interviewer concentration. She's quiet as the man rifles through the resume, flicker of Deja Vu at those words and she finally offers a small earnest smile. "You'll see, everybody I ever worked for ain't never had a problem with me. I den passed just about every test I took about the managements things only it's the experience I apparently need." Her lips twist wryly. "But I'm a fast learner and a hard worker, Mister Madson, and this position would help not only me, but mah family too."

Rainer shakes his head and, abandoning the resume, leans back in his chair. He taps his close-lipped mouth with one finger thoughtfully while regarding Monica. He points at her. "I'll tell you something else. I'll tell you the way I run a business. I want the best people working for me, and when it comes to the best— it doesn't always boil down to… to a piece of paper, to where it was you worked before, to the numbers. To the /experience/," he goes on in his deep, slightly gruff voice. "I like to analyze their personality. A man or woman's personality can define his or her strengths and weaknesses in a job Now, I spoke to your previous employers, and I know what you're saying is probably the truth. I'm sure you have quite a family, but I'm not here to run a charity business, Monica. I know you must have had it rough.. being from where you are. Same time… I know that will make you work even harder. Am I right?"

Monica is quiet, head tilting as she listens, quick to go 'mmhm' or give a small nod of her head as she keeps her eyes on the man's face, eye contact made when possible, and even though her lips might be curved in a small pleasant smile…her eyes hold that quiet and often for her frustrating attention. She finally replies, after a brief clearing of her throat. "Ain't looking for no charity sir, just a good job. You hire me, I'll be one of the hardest workers you den ever seen."

The man simply stares unwaveringly at Monica, sizing her up. There's a long moment before he sits forward, leaning his elbows on his desk. "I like you Monica. I'll tell you what: go out there, get Luke to show you around the kitchen, I'll have someone prepare brunch. You enjoy that, then you come in tomorrow morning and try your associate manager shoes on." Mr. Madson's voice is even, commanding, and literal, but there are no literal associate manager shoes. …One presumes.

Monica exhales slowly, careful not to just let out a sigh of relief as she cracks a smile and stands up to offer her hand over the desk. "Thank you, thank you ever so much sir, you don't know how much this means to me." She's careful not to gush too much, nodding firmly and pausing. "…I wear th usual lil' uniform thing you got goin' on or…is there some special shoes I gotta buy?"

Rainer, in the process of shaking Monica's hand firmly once more and standing up himself, pauses at that. He lets go of the young woman's hand and adjusts his tie. "…we'll get someone to go over the dress code with you tomorrow."

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