The flyer said there was a grand opening starting at noon.
It was half past, and none of the sleepy stores along the street looked like they were even operating.
His stomach growled.
The flyer advertised free food. Was it mendacious?
He would at least check the place before leaving.
The address led him to a corner shop with pale blue curtains drawn close over a large window. Undeterred, he rapped his knuckles against the closed wooden door.
A woman appeared, stress lines softening as she gave him a tired smile. “Sorry, we’re not open yet.”
Confused, he held up his flyer. “Isn’t the grand opening today?”
“We start next month.”
A quick glance at the glossy paper was all it took to confirm what she said. In hindsight, that explained why the opening appeared to be running in the middle of the week.
His shoulders dropped. It looked like he wouldn’t be eating today.
As he turned away, he caught sight of the half painted walls and naked cabinets in the strangely empty shop. An idea formed.
“You look like you need an extra pair of hands. I can help you for the rest of today in exchange for lunch and dinner, and if you like my work, I can come back. What do you say?” he said.
She studied him, taking in his bushy beard, worn hoodie and frayed pants, then stood back and held the door open.
“Come in. We’ll start with lunch.”