Rich cleaned the kitchen and walked out the cash register where Tommy sat on a stool with his head resting in the palm of his hand and his elbow on the bar.
“Tough night?” Rich said mounting a stool next to Tommy.
“Yeah,” Tommy said. “I might close for a week and take some time off.”
“I got something to tell you,” Rich said.
“You’re quittin’ and sailin’ out of here tomorrow,” Tommy said.
“Yeah,” Rich said.
“Well, if ya wadn’t quittin’ I’d have fired ya and told ya to get outa here anyway,” Tommy joked. He walked behind the counter, opened the register, counted out some money and handed it to Rich. “You can use me as a reference.”
“Do you think you and the Carmelo girls can handle it from here on?” Rich said.
Tommy returned to his stool.
“Don’t worry about us,” Tommy said, “In fact, you workin’ here has got me to thinkin’. I should hire a cook. I got my eye on one of the Carmelo’s older brother. He works in the kitchen at a hotel. I’ve been talkin’ to him for a while.”
The judge and lawyer walked up the cash register.
They spoke in Spanish for moment to Tommy. He replied and they left without paying.
“They are good customers,” Tommy said.
“Tommy, I hope to come back before we are too old,” Rich said and firmly shook Tommy’s hand.
“Drop me a line, will ya?” Tommy said.
“I’ll do that,” Rich said. “And in case we never meet again, it’s been good.”
“Yeah,” Tommy said, “me too.”
Rich left without looking back. “The only time you should look back is when you are too far to see,” Rich thought. “Regrets should be too far away to change. They are like the imperfection on a stamp or a penny; they add value,” Rich smiled, “but they must be rare.”