Ameeting in a restaurant was classy, Kaylie felt. Soothing lights and suave waiters and fine cuisine — a good backdrop for professional negotiations. But Menny Langer from The Hive and his auburn sidekick asked her to meet them at Sushi To Go, a tiny, gaudy place with glaring red walls and a collection of men behind the counter, barking at each other in guttural voices. No white-gloved waiters, no sir.

Kaylie swallowed her disappointment and trailed into the shop.

Menny Langer was sitting at the center table, paunchy as ever, cracking up with one of the sushi guys. Sometimes, he reminded her so much of Daddy, it was scary. Auburn Sidekick smiled politely.

Menny looked up and noticed her. “Good evening, Mrs. Zoberman!” he blared, and waved her over. Everyone in the little shop turned. Kaylie colored. “We have a lot of business to talk about tonight.”

Kaylie offered a stiff smile. This guy had no class.

“So,” he began pompously, as soon as she sat down, “here’s the thing. We have long felt the community needed a fast-paced, up-to-date, heimishe restaurant, and we’ve finally managed to fill that void.”

Kaylie swallowed and said nothing.

“No offense to the great Zoberman’s, of course.”

“Of course,” Kaylie said coolly. Worse than anything, the man was right.

Langer lowered his voice and donned a contemplative expression. “Between you and me, Mrs. Zoberman, sales are going to be a struggle. For both of us. That’s the nature of the market.” He gave a long sigh.

“We’re looking for a nearby location to set up our takeout,” Auburn spoke up, rather suddenly. Her voice was thin and sweet. She seemed uncomfortable with the way Langer — her father? The nose had some resemblance — was conducting the conversation. Kaylie tried not to glare.

“And we’d really like to make it worthwhile for you to offer us Zoberman’s spot for our takeout. Of course, we understand that’s asking a lot, so we—”

“So we have a proposition we’d like to offer you!” Langer cut in. He liked to do the talking, apparently. “An offer the great Zoberman’s restaurant cannot refuse.”

He sat back, pleased as punch, waiting to be prompted.

Under the table Kaylie squeezed the handle of her bag, tight. This wasn’t going to be fun. “I’m not sure what you’re getting at, but I’m listening.”

Langer leaned forward and spoke just above a whisper. “What I’m getting at is that we’d like to offer you cash. Lots and lots and lots of cash.” He gave a little bang on the table. “In exchange for Zoberman’s location.”

Kaylie blanched, but only for a moment. “Please explain why you consider this a fair deal.”

“Fair deal, meh,” Langer sniffed, “you’re getting way more than fair! Let’s be honest here, we both know Zoberman’s is not an updated place. There’s food, okay, but not much else. And here we’re offering you something huge, money. Big money. You can start all over again, someplace else.” (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 591)