It was almost two in the morning. I was lying on my bed with my eyes half open. I couldn’t sleep. I left the bar around midnight, even though it was open until 6 in the morning. As the owner of the place I always got self-conscious when it was not my turn to close in the morning. Don’t get me wrong, I trusted my employees with my whole heart, but even if the Red Velvet Cocktail Bar was one of the highest-ranked bars in the city, the danger of a mannerless drunkard causing trouble was never zero.
I somehow managed to fall asleep, but no sooner had I done so, than I woke up again.
“What is this sound?” I rubbed my eyes and started to regain my consciousness. A few moments later I realized that it was an Uriah Heep song, July Morning. My ringtone. I looked at the screen wondering who was calling me. It was the reception’s phone from the bar.
“Lévay on the phone,” I mumbled.
“Boss, we have a problem here,” stuttered a frustrated female voice “The police is here and they arrested Dominik.”
I froze for a moment. The police…arrested my nephew who works for me…in my bar???
“Wait for me, I’ll be there in fifteen minutes! Stay calm!” I ordered the girl, and put down the phone.
I quickly got dressed and drove to the bar, where the police officers were already waiting for me.
“Are you Gábor Lévay, the owner?” asked the officer in an unfriendly tone.
“Yes,” I nodded “What has happened?”
“One of your employees named Dominik Árvai has been charged with sexual assault and indecent exposure against a female guest” the officer snapped “You can do a testimony tomorrow.”
I was penetrated. Domi, you goddamn womanizer!
“Can I at least talk to my nephew?” I felt my voice dither.
“I’m afraid not, sir. You can visit him at the police station for one and a half hours between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. the day after tomorrow.”
After that, the officers said a harsh goodbye to me and the two girls who were working. We went inside the bar; I informed the guests that the bar would be closed.
“Ladies and gentlemen! We are sorry to informl you, but we are closing at this very moment with regard to the previous scene. Please leave the bar right now!” I told the guests politely, but in a serious tone, then turned to the girls.
“Anna, Viktória, I am afraid that I have to keep you a bit longer. I want you to tell me what happened.”
“Okay Boss,” the girls mumbled, as we sat down at the counter. When all of the guests had left, Viktória started to talk.
“So, yesterday, when you had to leave earlier, Dominik, Dávid and I were holding the front. Around 11 a.m. a bunch of chicks came, all wearing some designer clothes and jewelry that cost an arm and leg. And maybe your soul as well, I don’t know…”
“Can we skip the clothes-part? I don’t really see that as important…” I interrupted, but then Anna snapped.
“It is, though. That means that they were rich as hell. Their outfits all together costed more than the maintenance of this place.”
I shook my head, not understanding their point.
“Is that some girlish jealousy, or what?” I started to get annoyed. I really appreciated these hard-working ladies but couldn’t understand them at that moment.
“No,” Viktória continued. “It might not seem relevant, but it will be. So they arrived, and since they looked pretty, Dominik instantly offered his services to them.”
I rolled my eyes. Of course he did. I warned him many times that his flirtatious behavior would be problematic and backfire.
“One of the girls really got his attention, and they flirted while he was supposed to be working and serving the other guests as well.”
“As usual.” I rolled my eyes.
“Some time passed and the other girls went dancing, while Don Juan started to get sensual with the girl. Man, that was a flirt on another level! I snapped at him to serve the other customers as well, and he was like: ‘Okay, okay,’ then mixed a shitty Whisky-Coke and gave it to a guy who ordered something else. Of course he complained, but I told him not to worry, and I would prepare his Vodka Martini. While Dávid and I were working our asses off, he somehow disappeared. We noticed it when another customer came up to us and asked where the womanizer was, because she had ordered her Piña Colada quite a long time ago and hadn’t received it yet. I promised to take care of it, and prepared it quickly. Dávid then offered to prepare the upcoming orders, and told me to find Dominik, because if he were the one to find him, he would beat him up.”
“Quite understandable,” I added and then let her continue.
“I started to search for him in the bathrooms, but I didn’t find him there. I went out to the trash bins, but he wasn’t there either. Then I started to hear some weird noises around the cleaning storage room. I opened the door and I saw Dominik with this chick, who was… seducing him.” Viktória grinned with pure disgust, and I was sure that my facial expressions looked exactly the same.
“Then the girl looked up, wasted as hell, and jumped on me, yelling. ‘Orgy, yaaasss!’ and I pushed her out of the storage room, and dragged Dominik out all the way to the counter. When Dávid saw him, he was gazing at him with rage. Luckily, the majority of the guests had already left, so we could go to the secretary’s office. Then both Dávid and I yelled at Dominik for being such a…”
I was shocked. I knew that my nephew was a womanizer, but this time he took it way too far.
“And it’s not the end of the story,” Anna added.
“Yeah,” Viktória continued. “The chick who seduced Dominik was so wasted that I think she wasn’t even completely conscious. Her pupils were as big as a tennis ball, so she might have been on something harder than her Long Island Iced Tea.”
I was petrified. The fact that my nephew might have drugged someone…and then taken advantage of her…Even thinking something like that felt absurd, and made my blood boil. In my bar, the guests shouldn’t worry about the danger of being drugged or taken advantage of. The fact that Domi had done this felt like a betrayal and a stab in the gut.
“After this incident we called a taxi for the girl. And now, it turned out that she reported him to the police and threatened to ruin our reputation and make us bankrupt. And guess what Dávid told us today: the girl was the niece of one of the richest men in town…”
I slapped myself on my forehead. This stupid little womanizer! How could anyone with the right mind do something like this? I thanked the girls for their time, and let them go home. When they had left, I drove home and poured myself a glass of Scotch. I had to digest what I’d heard. I knew I had to talk with him as well. Right now, not only was the reputation of my nephew in danger, but I could lose my source of income if this girl decided to use her status.
Two days later, while still feeling clumsy, I went to visit my nephew at the police station. The officers were a bit more friendly but still didn’t seem to hide their dirty looks.
I sat down in front of my nephew, who looked devastated.
“ Congratulations, Don Juan! You could have avoided everything, if you had kept that thing in your pants!” I snapped at him, furiously.
“But…She offered it…” he tried to defend himself, while being extremely confused.
“SHE WAS WASTED, YOU GODDAMN IDIOT!” I yelled at him “You took advantage of her, IN YOUR WORKPLACE! IN PUBLIC!”
“But…I gave her only one Long Island Iced Tea… she seemed to be very…conscious…She was just smiling a bit more…”
“Not everyone has the same alcohol tolerance, you fool!” I almost exploded from anger. “How could you?”
“She offered to s…seduce me in the cleaning storage!” he cried out “I was just a bit flirtatious, but she seemed to like it, so I continued. But I didn’t want to have sex with her! At least not like that…She told me that she hadn’t had any money with her, but she would have sex with me as payment…” he slouched his head, almost at the edge of crying.
“SHE OFFERED TO HAVE SEX INSTEAD OF PAYMENT? HOW COULD YOU BELIEVE SUCH A BULLSHIT???” I yelled at him so loud that the officers and the inmates turned in our direction. Therefore I took a bit back and continued quietly:
“Viki told me that the girl was wasted and had big pupils. Did you put anything in her cocktail?” I asked, still angry, but trying to be more objective and understanding. After all, he is my nephew. I organized all of his birthday parties when he was little. I helped him get down from the trees, when he had stuck. I loved him dearly, but what he had done made me furious and disappointed…How will I tell his mother that her son got into something like this?
“Me? I would NEVER!” he burst out in tears. “She already had big pupils when she got to the bar. I thought it was some kind of contact lens, for God’s sake!”
“Did you tell this to the officers as well? “
“Yes.” he answered with a strutting voice. “This is the truth. I would never drug anybody!”
“Mr. Lévay!” an officer interrupted, “ We’ve been ordered to inform you that since your nephew is still a minor, he won’t go to jail.”
“But what about the assault charges? Are they being dropped?” I was relieved but I knew it didn’t end there.
“Yeah, about that…” the officer continued. “Since he is a minor, and the woman was not, he couldn’t give consent legally, therefore, according to the law, he couldn’t “rape” her. However, if she upholds her charges, your nephew either has to spend three months in a correctional institution or you can sue her for sexually assaulting and grooming a minor.”
I thanked the officer and nodded. I looked at my nephew when we were alone again.
“You’ve heard your options. So now what? “ I asked him.
“You are the adult…You tell me!” Dominik groaned.
“Well, since you managed to dally with the niece of a millionaire in public, you wouldn’t stand a chance in winning that trial,” I answered.
“But I’m still a minor! I don’t want to go to a correction center!” my nephew cried out.
“You should have thought about this earlier, Champ.” I shrugged my shoulders. “You know, before letting that chick seduce you in the cleaning storage.”
“She offered to do it as payment…”
“Life is not like a porn movie you dumbass…” I sighed. This idiot still wasn’t aware of what he had done and what consequences he could’ve faced if he had been over eighteen years old.
“But you can be my witness! Or Viki…Or Anna…” he begged, but I shook my head.
“I wasn’t present. And about the others…I highly doubt that any of them would be on your side. You were a disgraceful co-worker and employee.”
Dominik slouched his head.
“Don’t do the puppy eyes now!” I snapped. “I’m not going to pity you.”
“Excuse me, sir!” one officer interrupted. “Your visit time has ended. Please, leave the room!”
“I called your parents yesterday. They are coming to you tomorrow.” I stroked his shoulders, and left.
I never thought that I would ever end up in such a situation. After some bureaucratic intervention, since he hadn’t had previous problems with the police, he was let go, and only got a “black point” on his ID for “indecent exposure in public”. I was relieved that he got off easy, but worried at the same time. Was that warning enough? Should I have let the boy be locked up in a correctional center, so he would learn this lesson? Or would it have been too harsh as a punishment? I only had unanswered questions in my mind. My self-conscious side was telling me that my nephew got slapped back to humility, but my other side tried to convince me that he would do the same thing again. The boy desperately needed the summer job, but I couldn’t help it: instead of the joyful little boy who scraped his knees after falling down from the trees and always greeted me with a wide smile, I saw this menace, who was irresponsible and untrustworthy in terms of work. His parents tried to convince me to let him come back to work, because he had changed, I hesitated. His colleagues despised him. It would have been backstabbing for them if I let him in again. Who cares, he is family, right? This choice wasn’t as easy to make as people might think. But if I let him come back, my employees, who are passionate about their jobs and work hard, would quit, because of me being unjust. My heart ached for giving him the sack, but I knew I made the right decision. Even if I had been stabbed in the back, I couldn’t do the same to the others.