“The old man will be here shortly to escort you to your new room.” said Instructor O.
When he came the only words spoken were “follow me.” Yuuto followed him to the room he was currently sharing with Rinji and Motoki.
“Gather your things quickly,” growled the old man.
Yuuto picked up and gathered his few belongings then followed the old man to the floor reserved for active hosts and walked to his new room. The door had the number #23 on it. They entered a small room with only two beds. His new roommate was already inside and leisurely sitting on top of the bed on the left. To Yuuto's great relief it was Takaji aka Pretty boy, his former bunkmate.
“Look what the cat dragged in,” said Pretty boy.
“Yeah, nice to see you to,” replied Yuuto.
“Glad to see that you two know each other and won't cause trouble for me. You two will be working the same shift as each other so there should be no problems of people messing around when you're trying to get some sleep. Be sure you're ready for tonight's meeting before the club opens, you will finally be able to start paying off your debt and pay for your rent and food.” said Kentaro. He exited the room leaving only Pretty boy and Yuuto in the small room.
“So it looks like we are going to be teaming up together at least for now, keeping our friendship strong.” said Pretty boy.
“So how is it being a host? Is the work hard? Are the customers nice?” asked Yuuto.
“I wouldn't know. If you're a new host you will be stuck doing the crappy jobs of cleaning the bathroom, then you help the other hosts clean the club rooms and kitchen. You have to make sure everything is set and ready for the night. Then when the club opens, we new hosts have to go outside, gather girls off the streets and persuade them to come to the club. Until the boss lets us stay inside and greet the ladies, we won't be getting paid that much. You'll get the full details at the meeting in a few hours before we start working.”
With that they talked for a while, to get caught back up on things that happened to them while they hadn't seen each other. Later, they turned on the TV and watched some anime until it was time for the meeting. Yuuto followed Pretty boy and they leisurely walked through the hallways and down the stairways until they reached the 3rd floor, and then into a medium sized room with two rectangle tables joined together end to end with chairs placed on both sides. On the wall was an eraser board with the names of the hosts listed. They were listed in the order from top host to the lowest host, a number was next to each name recording the amount of cash they had earned the club so far this month. Yuuto wasn't on the board yet. They sat down in a chair and waited for the supervisor of today's shift to started the pre-work meeting.
On the table was a paper for new hosts, all it was asking for was a name they would be using when they were hosting. Yuuto thought about it for a while and then wrote the name ‘Yasuo’ down.
The other hosts filtered into the room and sat down when everyone was seated, it only took a few minutes until the old man opened the door, walked in and stood at the head of the table next to the rankings.
“Now that everyone is here, a few explanations and rules for those of you who are new,” he looked at Yuuto, “Those of you who are new will be in charge of cleaning the bathrooms and helping the other host with setting up and cleaning the club room and making sure everything is ready for opening hours.When we open the doors for the customers, all new hosts will go to the streets and invite and lead customers to the club. If you try to escape and do not return back to the club after work hours are over, there will be no second chances you will be fired. You will be paid a flat 5000 yen a night as base pay. If you bring in a client, you will be immediately paid 5000 yen for each client brought. When you pass probation, you will be allowed to host in the club and you will get your base pay plus 30% of the alcohol and food sales your clients make. If you are able to make it to the top and become the number one host you will be able to get 40% of what your clients spend. More guidelines will be given when you start hosting. Some other rules, I expect everyone to be wearing the working suits provided, and to keep them and yourselves presentable at all times while working. You are expected to get along with your co-workers. Lastly, no host is above going to the streets and getting customers on slow nights. Now get the club ready to open.” With the end of the old man's speech, everyone stood and bowed to him and then left the room.
Yuuto walked with Pretty boy to the cleaning supply closet that was just down the hallway to get supplies for cleaning. At the closet, Yuuto was handed a pair of yellow rubber gloves, a black rubber cleaning apron, and a air filter mask.
“Trust me you will need these, it's not pretty inside the bathrooms. It's like germ warfare inside.” said Pretty boy .
Then they each put their cleaning gear on and picked up their buckets that had sponges, washcloths, and a scrubber. In their other hands, they were holding a toilet scrubber. Pretty boy also had a mop bucket on wheels with the mop inside. Now properly armed to fight, they charged valiantly into the nearest bathroom ready to do battle.
“Retreat commander it's too much, we'll be wiped out!!” said Yuuto whose voice was muffled through his mask. The smell was horrible even through his mask. There was puke everywhere the sinks, the toilets, the walls and floors. It was so bad it almost made him want to puke as well.
“This is only the first bathroom, we still have another to do. You better get used to it, we will be doing this until we get done with probation.” Pretty boy replied.
They spent the rest of the hour mopping floors, scrubbing the sinks and toilets, and wiping down walls and counters. They took the tools and protective gear and went back to the cleaning closet and used the water hose to rinse off and clean them, the gloves and aprons before placing them back inside and the wash clothes into the dirty laundry basket.
Yuuto and Pretty boy then walked to the club room and entered. It was Yuuto's first time seeing the club room. It was dimly lit with artificial candles in glass bowl containers, along with flashing strip lights on the ground on the walls were a few shelves holding pieces of artwork that were lit up. Near the entrance was a L shaped bar, above it was the top ten host's pictures with the their rank and their host name under the picture. Farther into the room were booths with flat screen TVs hanging down near each table. At the back was a large number of couches and a dance floor that was raised a few feet above the rest of the club’s floor. There were multiple microphones and a large screen for singing karaoke. Right now the room was bustling with hosts wiping down chairs, tables and the counters. Along with others setting the tables that had been cleaned.
“What an interesting room.” Yuuto commented.
“Nothing much when you get used to it. They probably haven't vacuumed yet so we can do that when they finish wiping down everything.” Pretty boy replied. They went and gathered two vacuums and brought them back to the club room where it looked like they were done wiping down things.
“You go over to dance floor and start from over there, I will start here.” commanded Pretty boy
Twenty minutes later they were finished vacuuming. Everything was clean and ready for the doors to open.
Everyone went to the locker room, freshened up and and changed into their suits. When Yuuto looked at Pretty boy in his suit and cursed to himself. Pretty boy had leveled up!! He was now Pretty boy v2.0 while wearing his suit.
“What are you staring for?” asked Pretty boy v2.0.
“Go die Pretty boy v2.0.” said Yuuto.
“What are you talking about?”
Oops thought Yuuto. He ignored the question and asked, “So what are we supposed to do next?”
“Well, the hosts on probation can go to the kitchen and get a quick dinner, most of the time a soup and sandwich. Everyone on probation eats just before the shift starts, because we will be out most of the night with no break until the shift is over. The other hosts will be eating and drinking all night.”
“Well I guess we should go eat and drink something before we have to go out.”
They went to the second floor and entered the kitchen. On a silver metal counter, there was a number of plastic lunch trays with soups and a sandwiches cut into two triangles. Yuuto and Pretty boy each picked one up and went over to a corner of the kitchen where there was two small square tables with four chairs around each one. They sat down at one and started eating. Their meal for the night was a vegetable soup with a few thin noodles added. On the side was a basic cheese and ham sandwich. The table had some basic condiments placed on it. Yuuto kicked up some ketchup and added it to his dry sandwich making it more edible.
When they finished, they walked down to the 1st floor and stopped at the front door with the few other hosts who would be gathering clients from the streets. They waited for the time the doors would automatically unlock signaling that club Winter Night was open. They did not have to wait long. With a loud thunk and click, the front doors unlocked themselves signaling the start of Yuuto's first night as a probationary host.
“I'll try and help you out tonight.” said Pretty boy.
Together they went outside, breathed in the night air and started to walk down the streets of Shinjuku lit by billboards, signs, restaurant and bar lights. The streets were teeming with people out enjoying shopping, eating, and drinking at bars. This was the nightlife of Shinjuku.
“Okay Yuuto, let's test your skills on getting customers.”
Yuuto walked up to a passing middle aged lady and called out to her, “Hello, I'm a probationary host...”
“No thank you.” The lady kept walking by quickly.
On his next try, a group of girls were walking by and he tried to talk to them, “Hello, I'm trying to recruit....”
“Were not interested.” said one of the girls briskly as they walked by.
Pretty boy was laughing at him. “That's all wrong. You were telling them that you're a novice. That's not going to get them interested in coming to the club. And your last try, you sounded like you were a salesman trying to sell something or a shifty person trying to recruit girls to take pictures or videotape them. That's a major no, and you also need to not sound so needy. Before you talk to possible customers, you need to judge if they are in a rush or meeting someone, if they are too drunk to want to go to the club, if they even want to be talked to or not, and lastly if they can even afford to pay. Now that I have given you some tips, I'm going to start working.” Pretty boy walked over to the opposite side of the street to get to the people on the other side.
“That's all you're going to say? That's not much help.” shouted Yuuto at Pretty boy’s back.
With a huff, he went back to trying to get customers to go to club Winter Night. He was repeatedly shot down, some of the replies were extremely rude while other’s reactions were just cold replies, and a small group of girls apologizing that they were to busy.
Yuuto watched as many of the girls that had rejected him all seemed to be picked up by other hosts from different clubs. That stung a lot.
It wasn't long before Pretty boy came back over to where Yuuto was. He was with a girl hanging on his arm and gave Yuuto a thumbs up and said, “Keep trying you will get better.”
Yuuto didn't see him for the rest of the night and early morning. The morning light was shining. the signs were being turned off and the people on the streets were changing from drunk and sloppily dressed people out for the night life to the fresh and clean suit wearing office workers busily walking to the train station to get to work. On his first night of work, he was unable to get any customers to go the club.
He looked at his watch, it was 7am, it was time to go back to the club. He was hungry and his feet were killing him, he was happy to get back and eat something then go to sleep. As he walked to the club. he picked up his pace spurred by the thought of food and sleep. He was greeted by Pretty boy at the front doors.
“Not much luck huh? Well we have to go to the staff room and do the end of shift meeting before we can eat and then sleep.”
The meeting was quick, it was held to just write down and add up the money people had earned for the night. There were several names at the bottom of the list that had little to nothing tallied. Yuuto and two other names were added on to the list and a big 0 was put next to his name. The people who earned money the first time were applauded for a few seconds. The meeting was over just like that.
It was time to go the locker rooms and shower, and then change back to regular clothes. The people who hadn't eaten breakfast, headed to the cafeteria on the 6th floor. Yuuto tore through his food devouring it quickly. He then walked to his room, flopped down onto his bed and fell asleep.
Thanks for reading.