For the union, the timing made perfect sense- plan the strike for a time when the workers would be most missed, thus forcing the corporation to concede to their demands quickly and get them back to work. But for the restaurants- the ones who were forced to stay open during such a chaotic time, the timing couldn’t have sucked more. Rose inparticular resented it.
She understood that workers needed lunch breaks and couldn’t be scheduled for 12 hour shifts following a closing ending at 3am- but she didn’t understand why her employees had to strike. She’d always given them lunch breaks, was extremely receptive to vacation requests, terribly understanding when illness or other disasters struck and even asked for their input before making up the schedule for the week. She never double booked anyone and if they requested a change, she’d allow so long as the shift was covered. All-in-all, she was almost too understanding for a manger.
But unions were union and when they formed a strike you had to walk out, regardless of whether or not it affected you. To stay would be to disrespect your fellow union members. Bullshit, Rose thought. And the temp agency they hired from bullshit, too.
She appreciated that the advance of technology had made the old-school “superheroes” as they used to be called obsolete and that they still needed work in spite of this. But she found a way to get steady work out of her skills, why the hell couldn’t they? The answer? Ego. She’d seen it a thousand times- they turn down the big, obvious offers and don’t come knocking till they run out of advances from their publicist or whatever. Then they’re lucky to get called in for situations like this. All of it- the strike, corporate telling them they have to stay open, the reject subs- was bullshit. And it was because of this that when she amassed the group in front her that evening before the rush she was in no mood to deal with their special requests or squabbling over what they considered the good jobs.
She sighed loudly as she flipped over the top paper on her clip board to assign the tasks to the ex-heroes in front of her. As a child she’d been a fan of the spectacular saves and theatricality of it all when she saw the news clips. But, she reminded herself, she’d grown up, grown out of it- why they hell couldn’t they?
“Ok, ok- where’s John- uh, the ‘human torch’?” she said without even bothering to look up.
“Here,” came a gruff voice from the back.
She looked up to see a rather tall, rather slender figure hunched over in the back. His head was down as if he’d really rather not bee seen here and he had a bandana covering most of his head. “I assume you know how to cook?” she asked.
“Yeah, yeah,” he said, sounding annoyed.
She didn’t even bother to see if he wanted to volunteer for something else, just told him to get the stoves going. He gave a loud grunt and shuffled off to the back.
“Ok, uh- Garth?”
“Here,” came a rather high-pitched voice. “Uh- I mean, here,” the voice lowered after a clearing cough. “It’s Tempest, if you don’t mind.”
“Ok, Tempest- you’re running the dishwasher.”
“Oh, come on- again? That’s all you people ever give me to do! Oh the water guy- let’s make him clean! Forget about the fact that he can speak with marine life or swim faster than any man-made submarine- just ship him off to do the dishes!” he ranted, letting everyone within ear shot know that he was sick of this particular duty.
Rose was in no mood, and if he insisted on making a scene she was going to let him and everyone else know that it was not ok. “Look, guy- I didn’t make up the list, I’m just trying to run the restaurant. You want to go swimming and talk to fish? You go right ahead- but if you wanna get paid you shut your mouth and do the damned dishes, got it?”
He didn’t want to justify with an answer so instead he grunted and stepped back towards the rear of the kitchen, grumbling under his breath.
“And anyone else here who doesn’t want to do what they’re built to do can just head out right now cause I don’t have time for it!” she said, looking around for someone to protest. There were a few stray coughs and the sounds of people shifting their stances uncomfortably, but no one said anything.
“Ok, then- Wolverine?”
“You can just call me Logan,” came a deep, gravely voice that was surprising close to her.
“Ok, Logan- thanks for the break,” she said without looking up. “I got a whole bunch of cardboard boxes in back that I need broken down to make room for the new shipment tomorrow morning.”
“’M on it” he said over his shoulder as he turned and walked away.
“And Mystique, is it?”
“Yup, that’s me,” came a woman’s voice, sounding tired and not at all interested in a fight.
Rose looked up to see yellow eyes peeking out of a gray hoodie and the unmistakable bump of pregnancy pushing out pocketed hands. “You wanna morph into somebody cute and be my waitress?” she asked.
“How’s this?” the woman asked, peeling down the hoodie to reveal a young girl with wavy strawberry blond hair, sparkling blue eyes and the dimples of a terribly adorable preteen.
Rose blinked at her for a second before she was able to muster “That’ll work.” She watched as the woman retreated to find an apron and had to look back at her pad to regain her focus. Just then a loud clatter erupted from the back as the wall surrounding the rear door cracked and fell forward. A huge, lumbering figure stepped in through the falling dust and Rose had to squint to see the head which was almost hidden between two tree-sized shoulders.
“What’d I miss?” came the booming voice, as if oblivious to the destruction he’d caused just by coming in the door.
Rose put her head in her hand and started to push in at her temples, trying to beat back the headache which threatened to grow. It was going to be a long shift.