Welcome to my free-writing lab my crickets. *Muhahaha*… Seriously. I’m working on a themed project. A series of short stories… the goal is, stick with the theme of the title plus one point-of-view; AND try to keep it under 1500 words (some are under 1000 I think). This is technically the third installment (and around 1100). You can find the rest listed at the end (if you missed them)… I hope you enjoy it. 🙂
**WARNING** I use cuss words when appropriate and necessary… 😉
Copyright© 2017 T. Riggs
Sue pulled the door closed and locked the deadbolt. As she edged her way down the rickety metal framed steps, her landlady, Martha, walked around the side of the house. Martha had inherited the house from her parents after they passed. Poor woman. Husband left her with three kids, only income she has is this rent money. Sue hid her thoughts behind a broad, welcoming smile.
“Mornin’ Sue.” Martha’s hands were tucked deep into her pullover sweater pockets.
Today was the first day of the month, and rent was due. “Hey Martha.” Sue saw the strained look on Martha’s face. “Sorry, Martha, I got most of it… Here.” Martha took out the envelope of cash and handed it to her. “I will have the last forty dollars after my shift today…” A look of relief passed over Martha’s face, her eyes lit up, and the lines of concern melted away.
“Thanks Sue.” Martha smiled back and took the envelope, tucking it into her sweater pocket. “Hope work goes well… I know that manager, what’s his name, Andy gets on your nerves.”
“Nerves ain’t the half of it woman.” Sue rolled her eyes.
Martha and Sue laughed. “Thanks.” “Later.”
Sue shook her head and turned away to walk around the back yard, through the small patch of trees. She made her early morning hike down the railroad tracks to work at The Dive, one of three local national chain restaurants on the main road through town.
“Hey ya’ll! What can I get for ya’ today?” Sue pulled the scratch pad from her pocket, tilted her head to show she was listening, and stood poised, ready to write.
“Oh hey Sue! Jus’ some co-cola’s and an order o’ fries.”
“Sure thing sweetie!”
Sue waited to get to her station before writing out the code for 2 fountain drinks, regular, and a regular order of French fries. A part of her always chuckled because together if you filled in the blanks it looked more like “2 regs 1 reg f*d.”
But… hell, she didn’t make the code. Some bimbo up at corporate did… probably living out some weird subliminal sexual fantasy via scratch pad receipt lingo. Sue almost snorted out a laugh, caught herself, tore the ticket off, and stuck it up on the spinney clip thing for the kitchen.
Andy, the manager sauntered up to her as she went to edge her way around the station area to get the drinks. “Hey, Sue, can you stay after?”
“Andy, my shift is over at three… I been here since six… what more do you want?”
“JoAnn called in.”
Sue couldn’t help the snorted laugh this time. She caught herself mid-snark-snort. “Big whoop and surprise. It’s Saturday. And it’s JoAnn.”
“Exactly. You’re my best server. And Saturdays are busiest…”
Sue rolled her eyes. “Honey, flattery ain’t getting’ you nowhere.” She finished filling up the glasses from the soda machine, placed them on a tray, and pushed past him.
Stupid fucker. Shiny ass teeth… one day…
A dinging sound echoed from the kitchen seconds after she placed the sodas on the table and turned to leave. Sue walked up to gather the fries. Andy was leaning against the counter. He took the plate down and handed it to her, that cheesy-ass grin on his face.
“You ain’t cute. At all.”
The son-of-a-bitch was still there when Sue returned to do her shift clean up.
“Come on… Sue…”
“Not a chance, Andy.”
“I’ll give you all the take out tips?”
Sue paused. Take out tips weren’t much, but that was a good extra twenty bucks per shift. She was at her usual sixty for the day… twenty, plus whatever take home she had from tables later… Sue hated herself, just that second.
“Love ya’ babe.”
Fuck you Andy… Sue cussed under her breath. This was going to be a long-ass night. “I get a forty-five…” Sue checked her watch. “Starting now…”
“Deal.” Andy smiled, showing all those perfect-ass, paid-for teeth she hated. Mother fucker. Go back to college or some shit. Leave us regular folk alone in our misery.
Sue smiled back, sarcastically, grabbed a cup of coffee, and put in an order for her own dinner… some fries and chicken strips, or better known as “strips with f*d”, and headed to the break room. “Joe… le’ me know when they’re up…”
“Sure thing love.” Joe, the kitchen lead, his bald, sweating head shining in the translucent overhead lighting, winked at her as she walked past him in the kitchen.
Sue smiled to cover up the chill of disgust reverberating down her spine. Why the hell am I here? God. Six more hours? The answer was echoing through her brain anyway, “Where else you gonna work, stupid?”
The shift ended with Sue waiting on a cab. She slid into the back seat and slumped down, laying her head back against the cool faux leather. She was so glad she could splurge, spending the six dollars plus tip for a ride home rather than her usual fifteen-minute trek down the railroad tracks.
The cab stopped outside the house. Sue tipped the guy extra generous, more out of exhaustion than altruism. “Thanks.”
Sue walked around the side of the two-story old-style gingerbread house, minus the trimmings. She trudged up the metal staircase and put the key in the door to her small three room apartment.
It was two a.m. Way later than she had intended, or needed to stay. But, maybe, just maybe… these extra hours could give her a day off for once. Her next shift was in four hours. She could do this. Then… maybe… she could get someone to cover for her shift on Monday. She threw herself down onto the bed, clothes and all… barely managed to set the alarm for the usual five a.m. and passed out cold.
The alarm was going off.
It took her a good five minutes to even begin to think what she should do next. Oh… turn the damn thing off stupid. Sue flipped the alarm switch over to the off position and dragged herself into the bathroom for a shower.
When she finally, completely, awoke, Sue was walking down the tracks wearing her back up uniform, sipping coffee from a travel mug. There was a fog just dissipating. The edges of the tracks looked like a scene from some late-night scary movie. What if no one will cover for me? Remember the last time – you got sick and missed three days… What if I don’t make enough tips today? Sue pushed away the thoughts and switched to planning her first day off in three months.
Monday. A day off… what could she do? Rent was paid now… as long as things went as planned, she wouldn’t need to start saving again for a couple of days.
If you missed any of the other Free-Writing Fridays, here’s the last 4:
For the short stories in this subject matter please read:
My People (The catalyst for the others…)