I wake up to the warm feeling of my eyelids from the sun beaming into our 2nd story apartment building. Jesse was laying next to me wide awake. She looked distraught and uncomfortable. “Why are you up so early?” I asked her. I needed to get up anyway to open the restaurant. Jesse never ended up telling me why she was still awake, so I got dressed. I put on my Levis and my button collared shirt. Next to our front door of our apartment was our monthly bill, already opened and unfolded. That’s when I knew why Jesse was so distraught. She knew we didn’t have the money to pay off next month’s rent.
I make my way across the street to my restaurant, Bo’s burgers. It’s 7am. The “We Are Open” sign lights up with a switch, the security camera’s make a buzzing noise when they turn on, and the grill hasn’t been cleaned in days. After I get the restaurant set up for the day, My waitress Susan usually arrives around 8. Susan has been a blessing to this restaurant. She’s been here since I opened and she’s been willing to help out as much as I need her to. She’s a hard working person and a terrific waitress.
My business hasn’t been doing very well because of the competition around this town. In Bozeman Montana, most restaurants are considered traditional. By that I mean there are not many big food corporations because people here prefer a small town, homestyle diner. Right across the street is a pizza parlor. Victor’s Pizza Parlor has been kicking the crap out of our business since I’ve opened Bo’s Burgers. Victor Lessinburg is the owner of the pizza parlor. Him and I have a lot of history when it comes to “Friendly Competition”. He does everything he can to get on my nerves. When I first opened up my restaurant, Victor came in to buy a burger so I gladly dished him up. Next thing I know he yells at the top of his lungs claiming there’s a bunch of hair on his burger. After my customers cleared my restaurant I took a closer look at the burger. I realized that it was a bunch of light blond hair, which no one in my family or restaurant have blond hair. Oddly so, Victor himself has light blond hair. He must’ve put the hair on the burger just to be able to make a scene. I guess Victor and I were hate at first sight.
I was getting about half the customers that Victor was. Victor remodeled his restaurant last year and since then his company’s exploded in business. I needed to find a way to get my business booming. Jesse’s was worrying me. She’s been acting very strange lately, almost like she has depression. I felt desperate. I was willing to do anything for my family.
I hated Victor. He always finds ways to humiliate me. Jesse and I decided to do something crazy. We came up with the idea of burning his restaurant down because that was the only way for us to get customers. We would walk into his restaurant and start a fire in the bathroom and jump out the back window. No one would know it’s us. Jesse would stay outside and be a lookout, while I light the bathroom on fire. I made sure Victor wouldn’t see me when I made my way into the restaurant. He wasn't in sight, so I made my way to the bathroom. It was a single person bathroom, so I was able to lock the door. I took a deep breath, and took the gasoline container out of my sweatshirt pocket. I began to drizzle a line across the floor and wall across the bathroom. I cracked the window and made sure I’d fit through it. Thankfully the window was fairly large and it didn’t have a screen attachment. I got on top of the toilet and lit a match, no one was in the back alley that the window lead to. I dropped the match and let it burn through the wood floor, watching for an extra minute to make sure this place will burn down. When it got too hot and smoky I hopped out the window and began running through the alley back to my restaurant. Jesse was back at the restaurant when I got there. She seemed excited, but also worried. “I think that restaurant is a gonner,” she said. I look over my shoulder and noticed the sky was filled with smoke.
I felt so terrible. After that day I questioned who I was as a person. Was I really willing to put people's life in danger just for money? I would never think in a million years that I would ever make a decision like that. Since that day Jesse and I haven’t talked about it, and I don’t know if we ever will. I don’t know how she actually feels about the situation, but she probably doesn’t feel too good about it. Our business is getting a bigger consumer rate, but my heart hasn’t felt the same in years. No matter how much I hate Victor, I would never want to put him and his family in danger again.