Rebecka's day had started very early. She was up before dawn, as usual, got dressed and did her hair and makeup
('Loving this new hairstyle, girl!' she congratulated herself), and got to Rebecka Realty while it was still dark.
She stashed some gourmet takeout food in her fridge for when she got hungry later,
updated her files, and caught up on her market research, before opening her venue at 7:00 a.m. (to accommodate some of her clients who had regular jobs).
By the end of the summer, Rebecka had already gotten her business to Rank 9,
and she felt sure that Rank 10 was within her grasp.
All summer, she had priced her lots at $9,999. Now, she thought it was time to price at least some of her lots higher.
She tried a higher-priced sale to one of her best customers, Destry Fleig,
and was successful.
She managed her pricing carefully throughout the day,
and used the Energizer when her needs got low,
and, by the time she left for George and Tosha's Dance/Fitness venue, her business had reached Rank 10.
She picked her first Connections business perk (since she wanted ultimately to know everyone in town).
Meanwhile, Yuri Cox Andropov was at work--if not hard at work--at his own venue. He had in fact bought Sugar Cube Bowling, renamed it "Qube",
hired Lilly Thompson--a cute friend from Uni whom he wanted to date--as bartender,
and hired Shenene Menon--another cute girl he wanted to date--as his DJ.
In his off hours from working for his mother at the SCIA, Yuri was really enjoying his bowling venue. True, what he enjoyed the most was flirting with female customers,
and flirting with his employees.
Lilly--though she was not an experienced bartender--had proved as popular with customers as Yuri had predicted.
She was a sweet-natured girl, and was a very good listener.
People--especially men--seemed drawn to her even if she made no effort.
This occasionally annoyed Yuri. "Hey, Lilly--was that Landgraab guy bothering you?"
"Of course n-not, Yuri," she stammered. "He's really quite nice."
"Well, I don't like you talking with the customers unless they're at the bar," Yuri groused.
Lilly thought this was a bit unfair, because whenever someone sat down at the bar, she rushed over to serve them. But, she didn't want to anger Yuri by seeming insubordinate, so she just answered meekly, "Okay, Yuri. I won't leave the bar anymore." But his behavior puzzled her.
One motivation for Yuri's behavior toward Lilly was certainly that he was just jealous of her paying attention to any guy besides him. But he also was--in a way--actually resentful of her popularity with his customers.
Kevin, who still bartended at the Lucky Shack on weekends to make extra money, had tried to point out to Yuri how much of a business asset Lilly was. "Look, what you should want is a bartender who's so engaging that people come in just to 'have a drink with her', whether they end up bowling or not. And you've got that in Lilly. Come on, you must make a lot more money on drinks than you do from the ticket machine."
But Kevin's argument fell on deaf ears, and for an odd reason that was completely unfair to Lilly.
Yuri had grown tired of person after person coming into Qube and asking about Rebecka Louie, and remarking on how many customers she had, and what great personal service she gave, and how much money she was making, etc., etc. 'It's bad enough I have to keep hearing about Rebecka and her great business success,' he harrumphed. 'The last thing I want is one of my own employees showing me up.' (If Tosha--who had been a psychology major at Uni--had witnessed this behavior, she would have diagnosed Yuri as having "transference issues".)
Yuri got home that night, still annoyed, and retrieved his mail.
He brought it upstairs, dropped it on his desk, and idly shuffled through the periodicals. On the back of one was an ad for his parents' Russian Baths venue, so he knew that was the local real estate quarterly magazine (since his parents always ran an ad on its back cover).
'Why didn't I just go into real estate like Rebecka?' he asked himself. 'It's not as if it's a difficult line of work. Geez, tons of housewives do it.' He sat down,
flipped the magazine over and looked at the cover.
"Oh, crap!" he said aloud.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Join us next time, for the last day of summer.