Esta Generación


ignacio_icon.gif joaquin_icon.gif

Scene Title Esta Generación
Synopsis Joaquin spots a Help Wanted sign in Red Hook.
Date May 3, 2019

Botanica La Romana, Red Hook

The botanica can’t do much business, can it? Is there really a demand for candles with pictures of saints on them, or random herbs and crystals? Probably not. But for some reason, there’s a sign in the front window that the proprietor is looking to fill a position, and if the job pays, well, what other questions does one really have to ask about it?

There’s the sound of a thumping bass coming through the door even though it’s shut, and when the door is opened it will reveal one man at the counter, and one or two people browsing the shelves, but no more than that. So yeah, it’s not that crowded.

If he were honest with himself, Joaquin missed home. La Botanica, for all its small business nature, cramped in walls and unlikely need for as many customers as some crowded market, reminded him of it. It was probably the candles. Maybe the saints. No… it was probably just the smell of herbs and the place in general that brought back memories of his family’s corner bodega.

That’s what he thinks on, anyway, when he enters the business after spotting the Help Wanted sign in the door. The music lures the young man in further, ears piqued to the beat and subconsciously bobbing his head in time to the rhythm.

Joaquin approaches the one man at the counter, bringing up a friendly smile. “Hello,” he greets, “Saw the sign at the door… wanted to ask about the job?”

Nacho looks up when he hears the door open, and when he sees who’s walked in, he tips his head to the side, looking the young man up and down with an already scrutinizing expression. “Okay,” he says, but slowly; ooooookayyy. Okay, Joaquin. He’s not skeptical at all. Can he really afford to be that picky? He’s not exactly rolling in applicants, if the current state of the botanica can be trusted.

He comes out from behind the counter, moving toward Joaquin and extending a hand. “Nacho,” he says, and then he switches to Spanish. Is it part of the test? Probably not — it’s just comfortable. “It’s not really rocket science,” he says, gesturing around the room to encompass the various things inside. “People come in, you ring them up. Put their shit in a bag. That’s it. Try and make sure no one steals anything. Think you can handle it?”

Joaquin’s handshake is firm, telling of work with his hands and the faint calluses of a stringed instrument. “Joaquin Cortés,” he answers for introductions, “Chimo.”

The switch into Spanish produces a notable shift in the newcomer as he listens, nods, generally doesn’t look like he’s lost at the speed and cadence of the other man’s words. “I’ll do my best not to mess it up for you,” he replies in kind, glancing around at the sheer number of items on the shelves that could be pickpocketed. Some alarming amount, that.

“Just you working here, boss? Would it be alright if I’m out some days because of classes?”

“Good to meet you,” Nacho says as he brings his hand back once the shake is over, running through his hair. He looks around, too, a fond smile settling onto his face. “Yeah,” he says, “it’s just me. My aunt left it to me.”

He shrugs, turning back to Joaquin. “Sure,” he continues, “why not? Gotta better yourself and shit. And I’m already doing it myself, so if I have someone to cover sometimes, then hey. That’s already better.” He leans back against the counter, crossing his arms over his chest. “What are you studying?”

“Health,” Joaquin answers as he searches his pockets for an object. “And business. Kind of general now but I was thinking of helping out at the hospital eventually.” He pauses in the search, to think about something else perhaps the topic at hand as he comes to a realization. “Just you, like,… your family isn’t…” Alive, is what he wants to imply, but awkwardly reaching such an immediately personal topic grinds Joaquin’s question to a halt. He shoves his hands in his pockets as if that would hide his embarrassment, only to find the object he was patting himself down for.

A wallet produced, Joaquin flips it open and starts to pull out his Registration card to offer over.

“Nice. Well, the books here aren’t really that complicated, so you ought to get some easy practice.” The realization has Nacho’s eyebrows raising, though, and he fixes Joaquin with a look that’s hard to read for a moment or two. It may be slightly uncomfortable, even, before he laughs.

“Nah,” he says. “They aren’t. But it’s fine, bro. Don’t worry about it.” He takes the card then, grabbing a phone out of his pocket so that he can take a picture of it before handing it back. “Civil War casualties. You know how it is.” He looks Joaquin over a moment later, though, before admitting, “Well, maybe you don’t. But whatever.” Being as young as he is. He probably has at least some idea, though.

He puts the phone away, “Anyway. Give me your class schedule and I’ll give you some hours. I’m not that formal. Just as long as you don’t leave the door unlocked if you have to leave or something, we’ll be good.”

His registration thus snapped and filed, Joaquin puts the physical card away as well. Stalling. He knows the hard look, and though he doesn’t look away, the blank wall of sympathy in his gaze and straight-lined mouth are telling of his understanding that he may have fucked up that fleeting moment of on-site interview. Until, at least, it seems to be looked over and laughed off.

“I do,” he says eventually in English, watching the phone disappear, “know how it is, I mean.” Joaquin perks up with a small but significant smile as Nacho goes on and he nods. “I don’t got a phone yet, but yeah I’ll get a copy for you.” And with that he glances around the shop again before looking back at the man, almost expectant of being dismissed to get said copy Right This Instant.

When Joaquin switches back to English, Nacho snorts, and shakes his head. “Esta generación, por Dios,” he remarks, but he seems to be joking. “Sure,” he continues in English himself this time. “Come in tomorrow and I’ll have your schedule set up, pending your classes or whatever. We’re flexible. I’m basically hiring you so I can fuck off a little bit sometimes. Most of what we sell in here is candles for the blackouts, you know? But you’ll learn the other stuff as you go. No rush. Sound good?”

He is not expecting to get a copy right then, at least, so that’s good.

The brief break back into Spanish reminds Joaquin after a moment’s pause. Oh. But sorry-not-sorry… this generation indeed, even if Nacho isn’t too far ahead in age differences. “Awesome,” the younger man says, grin bright with a touch of nerves. Or excitement.

He steps backwards towards the door, nearly running into one of the shelves in the tight space but catches himself in the last moment, as if some form of survival instinct and spacial awareness yet rests within. Joaquin glances around at the remaining customers lingering with the store, and rights himself to head out with a raise of his hand in farewell. “Hasta luego, Jefe!”

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