“There’s a weird smell coming from the second fridge...” said L-kun. He is an Aussie who’s been working in the bar for almost a year now. Tall and skinny guy, met a Japanese girl there and decided to come to Tokyo on a working holiday visa. He couldn’t understand any Japanese back then. And he still has a long way to go. But he’s going to get married anyway.
I frown. The fridge L-kun mentioned is the meat section in the back storage. Looking at R-san, the only full time employee working in the kitchen tonight, I asked in my weird Japanese: “Did you notice something different there when you put away the deliveries?”
R-san is only one year older than me. He’s the one who has a baby daughter and asked me to trade shifts for the weekend. A very nice and polite guy. His English is good. Better than some T.Univ. students I met here. But he prefers to speak in his native language. Who doesn’t, ne?
R-san shakes his head and answers: “I didn’t. But I have a clogged nose. The baby got a cold over the weekend...”
I doubt it’s something from inside the fridge.
S. looks at me and says: “You know what happens if you’re the one to find it, right?” S. is probably the oldest person here. Both in age and employment time. He’s the one who always says “Well, I ain’t going anywhere” whenever someone is quitting. We all know he’s a lazy old man but he knows enough to get away with the barely minimum. Plus he can work 5 days a week. Schedule filler. Besides him, I’m the only “senior” part-timer now. I feel my back hunching a little bit more every time one of the new guys calls me “senpai”. Ugh.
(Why am I doing this...aaaaaaaah...)
In the back storage, with my phone’s flashlight, I get down and check underneath the fridge... There’s nothing. But I can smell it too. It’s a rotten stench. Rotten meat.
I look to the right. There’s a freezer there, glued to the wall. The freezer is not as profound as the big fridge so... it must be behind that.
I’m short. I need to pull myself over the freezer with only my left arm while holding the phone with the right hand. A quick flash and I can spot the shape and size. I hop down and go back.
“Did you find it?”
“I’m too short but I don’t think anyone can reach it anyway...and I couldn’t see it clearly. But it looked hairy. It’s behind the freezer.”
L-kun goes back to check since he’s tall. S. keeps pestering me because I didn’t take a picture.
“NO WAY. What if I dropped my phone there?”
“Ok, you got a point there.”
L-kun is back.
“It’s definitely a rotten rat. It’s even foaming from the mouth, must have eaten the poison.”
It’s 30 minutes before opening time. R-san looks at everyone with a tired face. His eyes are slightly red, he’s still convalescing from the cold.
“I’ll send a message to the manager and call the exterminator tomorrow. It’s better not to touch it.”
The shift goes on with S. joking about our little friend’s loneliness every time someone needs to head to the back storage. I’m just glad I got away from cleaning it since it was too off reach for me.
We didn’t tell anything to the service manager or the waitresses.
Tomorrow morning, manager J. will take care of it.
I’m going home, take a shower and sleep now. Goodnight!