This flash fiction is dedicated to Ollie. He asked for a random number between 0 and 9999. I gave him the number 5752 and received a writing prompt in return.
A Little Respect
Mark lowered his head as he pushed through the Saturday night crowd at the city park. Music was booming from the speakers, making sure that everyone was bathed in the electric sounds and showered by the strobe light. Mark made his way to the bar. He was pushed and shoved; sweaty bodies rubbed against him. He was disgusted, but his shy self let it happen with hardly any protest. He reached the bar where orders were yelled above the noise. Mark walk on, to the small space were no patrons were allowed to be. In a locker marked with his name, he put his jacket and took out a black formal vest. He ran a hand over the fabric and smiled. He put it on and did the buttons up. Mark straightened his slouch and squared his shoulders. Whenever he wore the black vest, the usually reserved and shy man turned into a powerful and respected alpha male.
He barked orders at the staff; they had once again forgotten to keep their workspace clean and the fridges stocked. They obeyed his wishes and executed his commands. No one ever tried arguing with Mark.
Mark was a big man, his white shirt was straining over his bulging muscles, and the vest empathised his slim waist. His face was handsome with high cheekbones and an accentuated jaw that was dusted in dark hair. His blue eyes were piercing and cold. He exuded power. No one would have guessed that behind this strong exterior hid an insecure man. Work-Mark was like Private-Mark’s evil twin, and he liked it that way. He loved the power to order people around and to stare patrons down.
The DJ was playing pleasant tunes tonight, and Mark was in a good mood, a little less severe than he usually was. His hips swayed while poured drinks and mixed cocktails with exotic names. A smile here and there earned him some welcome extra money, but paper slips with private phone numbers were sent to the trash cans immediately.
Commotion, not far from Mark’s post, caught his attention. He whistled through his teeth for the security team to solve the problem, but they were no there. Mark jumped across the bar, it impressed the people around, and they watched where he was going with long and sure strides.
On the dance floor, two men were fighting. There had been an altercation; both men had bloody noses, one had a cut above his eyebrow. The shorter man held a cement stone in his hand, ready to use it as a weapon. The men were panting and alert; they were prepared to continue fighting over whatever their quarrel had begun. Mark stood between them, starting them down, spreading his arms in a way that kept the men away from each other. Around them, the party-goers who had danced moments ago were focused on the scene in front of them. Mark whispered an order and waited; the tension was palpable. If the man decided to use that cement stone as a weapon, all hell would break loose, and Mark was determined to keep his shift incident-free. The hand with the stone was lowered, and the other man took a shaky breath, slumping his shoulders. He murmured an apology, which was accepted with a nod. The men glared at each other, then at Mark and left in different directions.
Mark straightened his vest and went back to the bar as if nothing had happened. He grinned and shook his head. He was determined to have a word with the security team later that night. They were supposed to keep an eye on the crowd, and they hadn’t.
Mark’s favourite Erasure song was played, and he got back into his good mood. He ordered his staff around and made sure that no one stayed thirsty in front of his part of the bar. Mark liked this life, he liked the power he had in his job, and he liked his private life too. It all came down to “a little respect.”