It was the middle of the lunch rush: one of the most fragile times of day. Diners wanted their food quickly so they could get on with the rest of their day. Tips were tight and expectations were high. Everything was running smooth until a well dressed elderly man took his last breath and fell to the ground.
Jonathan was in the kitchen at the time of the clamor and rushed to the dining room to see what was the matter.
It was his ex-best friend laying there lifeless on the floor surrounded by people who didn’t know him. None of them knew what he had done and how he deserved to be despised. No one thought of those things when someone died, and in that moment, neither did Jonathan.
He felt so many things at once he thought he may explode. For a split second, his emotions got the best of him and he attempted to run away. He got as far as the host station when he began thinking. What about his son? What if it were me?
Jonathan was the last person who needed to do a good deed for Tony. Tony’s son was somewhere between his daughter’s ages: too young and inexperienced to be fatherless. He didn’t owe Tony anything, but he had to at least try to save him for his son’s sake. The reaper had arrived to take his ex-best friend’s soul. Everyone watched through teary eyes as he found his record on his tablet.
Everyone looked at Jonathan. Skyla was shocked.
“He doesn’t deserve another chance, but his son is innocent. He’s still young! He shouldn’t have to grow up without his father. Please…give him another chance.”
“Hmmmmm,” the reaper said as he thought. “Your request is intriguing. It is very rare that someone pleads for a life that does not deserve a plea. Even more rare to make a plea for a guilty person on behalf of the innocent. Very intriguing indeed…” He continued scrolling through his tablet as he considered Jonathan’s plea. “Tell me…what has this man done to you?”
That wasn’t something Jonathan wanted to share in public. Everyone knew the Pruetts had been ruined, but only those who were keen on the details knew who ruined them. At the time, Jonathan accepted what happened and wasn’t interested in getting retribution. He kept Tony’s identity secret all those years. Now, he would receive the judgement he maybe should have received long time ago.
“Well… He ruined my life, sir.”
Everyone in the room gasped as they discovered who the dead man really was.
“But,” Jonathan continued, “in ruining my life…he made it better. I learned a lot from having nothing, and…well, I’m still here and doing great!”
Everyone was touched, including the reaper.
“You are a wise man. Your request is granted.”
“Thank you, reaper.”
Tony left the restaurant. Jonathan wasn’t sure if he recognized what had happened, but he hoped he made the best use of his time. However, he had a business to run and had to get back to work. He found Archer who dutifully kept working and taking care of customers during the whole ordeal.
“Hey…thanks for everything you’re doing. I need you to make sure everyone is ok and ensure people that we haven’t been affected by…ummm…by the events. Ok?”
Jonathan kept busy all day to keep his mind off things, and for the most part it worked. Later on, Skyla was in the kitchen checking up on Savannah and Tiana during a lull. She hadn’t gotten a chance to speak to Savannah about the baby and took sometime to coo over her baby bump.
“Skyla… You can tell me if it’s none of my business, but…what did Jonathan mean when he said that man ruined his life.”
Skyla sighed. “He’s the one who ran off with all of his money.”
Savannah wasn’t from the area and didn’t know much about the Pruett legacy, but she had heard things. Now they all made sense. “Is he going to be ok?”
“He’ll be fine.” I hope.
Just then, he came in. Savannah smiled nervously and went back out to the dining room. Skyla smiled as steadily as she could.
“Hi, Jonathan.” Her tone was a bit more robotic than she cared for in her attempt to remain professional. Screw this. “Are you ok?”