Tommy is running late so he enters the museum through the café instead of going around to the Minna Street employee entrance. He stops and motions to Rogelio behind the counter that he'd like a coffee and Rogelio draws it right away, but not before raising his eyebrows and tapping his wrist to indicate the time.
"Dude, I know," Tommy tells him. "This is for el Jefe." Rogelio points his chin at Tommy in recognition, then shakes his head. "I know, I know, Roge: You'd never get away with this. Dumb fuckin' luck, man. Shoulda been born white." Tommy raises the coffee in a toast to Rogelio and as he turns, tosses over his shoulder, "Or got a job in security."
He crosses the lobby, assuming a gait and carriage that he imagines to be efficient and inconspicuous and indeed no one remarks on his passage. Chip Henry is at the main security desk and is listening to his girlfriend or a message from his girlfriend on his cellphone, and he says nothing to Tommy as he waves his ID badge before the card reader that lets him into the museum's inner office.
When Tommy sees Michael Young, his boss, he hands him the cup and says, "Thought you might need this."
"Looks like you needed one of those, Parks. The shift starts at 11, not 11:05." Michael looks full forward, ignoring both Tommy's baleful expression and the cup of coffee; keeps walking, his Marine strut still present in his civilian saunter, his officer's authority still coloring the timbre of his voice. Tommy sighs, not sure whether that reaction was better or worse than an outright reprimand, figuring that he will be in this job long enough to have the chance to compare.
A fragment of an unfinished story and part of the Covers series