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Disclaimer: Grim Fandango belongs to LucasArts. I'm not making money with this story and I'm not associated with the company in any way.
It just happened that the new guy was there. Manny hesitated at the door for a second. The rooftop was deserted save for them, but Domino Hurley had the kind of aura that screamed “Get lost, sucker, the king is in the house!”
After a second, he took the fatal step onwards and scolded himself for his momentary weakness. He was the top salesman and didn’t have to be afraid of newcomers.
“Quite a night,” Domino said, not turning to look at him when Manny stepped by his side. Manny couldn’t say if the other man’s tone was annoyed or not. He didn’t usually get this close to anyone, but right now he felt like he had to remind Domino of who had been first in the house. This rooftop was his territory, and he always had a smoke at this time of the night, just before it was time to close up and leave.
Manny slipped a cigarette between his teeth and mumbled something in response. He stroke a match and used that split second of light to glance at Domino. The man was standing stiff and staring at the sleeping El Marrow. He was toying with his cigarette, as if his fingers were used to holding something bigger and better. Cigars, maybe.
“This was your first week in the office, right?” Manny asked, again wanting to emphasize his higher status. Something about Domino just made him feel nervous, threatened. He had told himself to relax, that the man wasn’t going to steal his spotlight, but it hadn’t worked yet.
When he had heard that they were getting a new guy in the department, he had entertained himself with thoughts of helping him out and sharing his experiences. One moment with Domino had rid him of those ideas pretty quickly. This man didn’t need or want a teacher. Manny supposed it was for the best. Being mentor to someone a head higher than him would have been kind of awkward anyway.
“Right,” Domino replied.
“So, what do you think?” Manny asked.
“Well, you can’t expect wonders when you’re still learning. Give it a month or two, and you’ll have your first premium sale,” Manny said. He wasn’t looking at Domino anymore. Instead, he was following he man’s example and staring at the lights of the city. It was almost better than the stars.
Domino exhaled a cloud of smoke. “You and your little club of friends may be happy with this dead end job, but I’m not going to sit eights hours in an office, pushing papers and handing out travel packages to souls who shouldn’t get them in the first place. That’s not for me,” he said.
“There’s not much you can do about that,” Manny said. He was well familiar with that feeling. In the beginning, he had been desperate to get out. Every day he had dreamt that something or someone would come up and save him from this miserable existence. Back then, he would have taken any chance. Sadly, opportunities like that weren’t handed out like free company pens, so one eventually learnt to accept one’s fate.
Domino snorted and tossed his cigarette into the darkness below them. He never turned his eye sockets from the city.
“One day, Cal, I’m going to own this city.”
Not if you keep spitting out clichés like that, Manny thought. “And then?” he asked.
“Then I’ll have you polishing my shoes.”
“Not a chance. When you’re still struggling as a junior sales assistant, I’ll be long gone,” Manny said. “No matter how many premium sales you make, you can never outrun me.”
“Who said anything about premium sales? A gun was all I needed in the past life.”
It was then that Manny knew he and Domino would never be friends. He knew he was no saint himself, but the cold way Domino said that told him how serious he was being. This was a guy who would shoot anyone to help himself.
“I’m starting to realise why you’re stuck here,” he remarked.
Domino laughed. It made Manny shiver despite himself. He pretended to cough to cover it up.
“Good. Maybe then you’ll also be smart enough to not get in my way.”
With that, Domino left him alone, and Manny resisted the urge to turn around. He didn’t like having Domino behind his back. Again, he had to remind himself that there was really no reason to be climbing the walls.
“I’m starting to get paranoid. Maybe I should have listened to Eva and not have skipped the last company group therapy,” he muttered.
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