Gopal Chand was counting the cash and barking orders at his boys at the same time. It was a little past midnight.
The man walked in slowly a half hour later, when the last of the boys had walked out of the small eatery. Gopal Chand was bent under the cashier’s table and securing all the drawers. He stood up and saw the man standing in front of him, looking around the place, a sad smile on his face.
“We’re closed,” Gopal Chand said. His mind was running in a thousand directions. Was he going to be robbed now? All his boys had left.
The man didn’t reply. Was still looking. “You were warned, right?”
The man now looked at Gopal. “The health inspectors. They warned you. Even gave you a warning.”
Gopal chuckled. “Mister, look, if this is about money…” He pulled out his licensed revolver and placed it on the desk. “…you better think again.”
The man looked at the revolver and back at Gopal. “You think I’ve come to rob you.”
“Try it,” Gopal said, smiling.
“You’re a killer alright,” the man said.
“Get out,” Gopal said.
The man kept staring.
"You want me to throw you out, you moron? Get out, right now before I either shoot you or call the cops.”
“They came. A couple of times. Didn't they? Some people had complained.”
How on earth did this guy know all this?
“…are you a cop?”
The man shook his head.
“From the health department then? Look, sir…I’m sorry, I spoke to you in this manner..” Gopal stepped out from behind the counter.
“Have you done anything about the rats?” The man said, again ignoring Gopal.
“Are you hard of hearing, sir? You’re not answering any of my question…” Gopal Chand said, not knowing what to do with this guy now. He seemed to know everything about this place.
“There’s that big one…more like a bandicoot. Hiding right under that sink. Comes every night…”
Gopal Chand reached for the phone now. “That’s it, I’m calling the cops.”
“You think you want to do that?”
Gopal Chand stopped and replaced the receiver. “What do you want, man? Take the money and get lost. Have you escaped from the mental asylum or something?”
“I just want you to stop feeding the fat cops and do something about this place."
“I’m the one that ate here today. And died." The man said, looking sadly at Gopal.
And then he disappeared.
The door to the eatery slowly closed and locked itself a couple of minutes later.