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He supposed he could understand that thought.

No, he couldn’t.

To him, he put everything he had into what he did. To his craft. That was what he thought of it as.

“It’s not going well?” he asked.

“No. I think they got what they wanted for the first year or so, but this past winter things were rough. It’s a lot of work and time, as you know.”

“It’s not a cushy forty-hour-a-week job. Not even ten months a year if they were teachers.”

Kelsey grinned. “Louisa was a high school principal, Stan a superintendent. Hardly forty hours or ten months, but still not the same as running a pub.”

Duke nodded. “They want to sell?” he asked. “I’d have to check it out and get a feel for the place. See their books. You know that.”

“I do,” Kelsey said. “And I can tell you anything you bought up I’d go over and since I do their books, I wouldn’t lead you astray. I think they just don’t know how to run a restaurant. It seems they get enough customers, but their food costs are crazy high. Their staffing costs too. They’ve had a lot of turnover on top of it.”

“So they are paying more to get people to stay?” he asked.

“That and their prices are low too. There isn’t anything wrong with that.”

“There is if they don’t know how to figure out their margins,” he said.

“That is part of it,” Kelsey said.

“Have you eaten there? How is the food?”

“Not bad. It’s not your quality by any means,” Kelsey said. She was more than halfway through her omelet.

“Hardly,” he said.

“Here’s the thing,” Kelsey said. “They aren’t even sure if they want to sell. Well, that isn’t the case. They want it to go to someone that will make it what they thought it could be. They know you’re my brother. We were talking. It’s an odd proposition they are offering.”

He looked up from his plate. “How odd?”

“They’d be willing to let you run the pub for a period of time. Let’s say spring to fall.”

“The busy season,” he said. “They want me to run their business so they can profit? Hell no.”

“No,” Kelsey said. “Hear me out. They’d turn it over to you. You’d run it and take the profits. You’d take all the food expenses and payroll. You aren’t buying anything. They will cover whatever debt there is for this period of time in terms of loans they’ve got. To them, they put themselves into that and wouldn’t pass it to you. If you are doing the work, you don’t have to pay their debt.”

“Let me get this straight,” he said. “I walk in let’s say the first of the month and take over every expense starting that day. I get the profit along with it?”

“That is what they offered to me,” Kelsey said.

“That’s nuts,” he said. “What are they getting out of it?”

“Satisfaction that something they had an idea for can work and they just can’t do it? I’m not sure.”

“It seems too good to be true,” he said. “And it feels as if I’m taking advantage of things too.”

“Well, not really,” Kelsey said. “They don’t have a lot of debt. Just the loan on the building more than anything.”

“If I agreed to do that, it’d have to be part of the monthly expenses that I cover,” he said. That was only fair in his eyes. It’d be like paying the rent for the building.

“I knew you’d say that but didn’t tell them. I’m just passing on the information.”

“I’d be crazy to not consider this. With their permission, give me what you know I’ll need to look at. Revenue and expenses. I’ll go try their food out this week and get a feel for the business and how it flows.”

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