Chapter 15

Brenda, the general manager of Supper with Supers, could be faulted on many fronts, but lack of enthusiasm was not one of them. She’d greeted Vince, Mary, and Camille at the door, and immediately pulled all of them into her office, either ignoring or not hearing Camille’s protests that she would wait outside.

“As you can see, we have licensing arrangements to allow our employees to wear the costumes of many famous Heroes,” Brenda said, gesturing to the wall lined with staff photos, all of them in some sort of costume. “However, for the most part our staff wear generic ones, designs we have ample stock of. It makes accommodating different sizes much easier. For those who have been here more than six months, we allow them to design their own outfit and name, if they want to be unique. Of course we retain all rights to those designs, so not many of our HCP workers take us up on that opportunity.”

“So, it’s just a restaurant where people wear costumes? Vince asked.

“It is a theme, dear boy. We transport the customers to a world of high-paced action, where capes and costumes are everyday occurrences. The point is to submerge them in the culture, to turn a simple meal into a memorable experience.”

“It seems lovely,” Mary said, defaulting to politeness since she had no idea what else to say.

“Thank you very much. I’m quite proud of it, and we have a great reputation for fun and delicious food. Now, I’ve got two openings for wait staff,” Brenda said, checking her folder. “And I can squeeze one of you in as a host.”

Camille debated speaking up once more; however by now it seemed obvious her protests were not making any dents in Brenda’s enthusiasm. Plus, if she were honest with herself, the idea of working with Vince wasn’t totally unappealing to her.

“The waiting jobs require more social interaction. You have to chat with the table, remember orders, that sort of thing. Host duty will revolve around charting the wait times and making sure to seat customers in a rotation that lets the waiters serve them best.”

“I think Vince and I should be the wait staff,” Mary suggested. Camille threw her fellow small statured girl a glance and received a not too sly wink in response. There were definite benefits to having a friend who was a telepath. “Knowing Camille’s sense of organization and sweet demeanor I think she would excel at the hosting position.”

“She does seem downright adorable,” Brenda agreed. “Any objections to that, Camille? Don’t worry, you still get to wear one of our amazing costumes!”

“Sounds…great,” Camille said weakly. She was immediately beginning to regret going along this far, however if it been hard to back out before then doing it now was well beyond the realm of impossibility.

“Fantastic. Now that leaves you two as servers. The training process is a little more arduous for those positions, but I’ve never had an HCP student who couldn’t hack it. Running food and pre-bussing is much less stressful than fighting or robot battle or whatever it is you folks do in there.”

“I did have a question, ma’am,” Vince said, raising his hand tentatively.

“Go right ahead.” Brenda gave him a warm smile of reassurance when she spoke, the type that can only be conjured by master politicians and the truly sincere.

“I get that the costumes will let us blend in somewhat, but how does that help with things like my hair or Mary’s eyes?”

“A very fair question,” Brenda replied. “The answer is two-fold, actually. For one thing, many of our wait staff like to employ the sort of look you two have naturally. This is one of the few establishments in town where bright green spiky hair or make-up to look like a salamander make you more likely to get a job, rather than less. The other aspect is that for those employees we have who don’t favor such affectation in their personal lives, we offer a wide variety of wigs, contacts, and make-up all for your use. Since people come to work in costume, a policy I’ll have to insist you adhere to as well, as long as you don’t spend time with them outside of work, they won’t know your look isn’t just part of the uniform. Even if you do see them beyond these restaurant walls, you can always claim you dye your hair.”

“Thank you, that does make me feel more at ease,” Vince said. His opinion of both Kent Mears and Brenda were rising steadily. This really was the perfect place to stash Supers like him and Mary. Some of the others were quite noticeable when they used their powers, but at least they could blend in when they needed to.

“Perfectly natural. So, when would you be able to start?”

“Don’t we need to be tested or something?” Mary asked. Even she’d expected the hiring process to be a bit more arduous than showing up and answering a few questions.

“In normal process, yes you would, however I’ve had nothing but positive experiences hiring from the HCP pool in the past. Rather than make you jump through the hoops, I’d prefer to give you the benefit of the doubt. Obviously if we run into attitude problems or you can’t handle the work, I’m afraid you won’t be able to stay here, but otherwise I don’t see any reason not to push forward,” Brenda explained.

“I guess we can start whenever you’d like us too,” Vince said, once the reality of impending work had set in.

“Great, first I’ll need you to fill out some paperwork, get copies of your schedules so I don’t put you on shift during HCP courses, and of course we’ll need to do your fittings.”

“Our fittings?” Camille asked. “Don’t we just put on a costume?”

“Oh heavens no, these things are full-body suits. You don’t want one that hasn’t been hemmed and trimmed in the right places or you’ll be tripping over loose fabric. Don’t worry though, we’ve got a wide selection and I’ll make sure each and every one of you looks eye-catching."
Brenda couldn’t have chosen a phrase to better alarm Camille.