The Tavern at the Corner of the Multiverse - A Short Story by @krazydiamond

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Calponia was in desperate need of job. She eyed the tottering stack of late notices over the edge of the Sunday adverts, sighing as the lights flickered and went out over head. Looks like the power bill had rolled over to two months too late. Luckily there was enough natural light coming through the dirt streaked skylight to continue scrolling for potential prospects. She was now beyond desperate and while jobs weren't exactly scarce, Calponia had an unfortunate drawback in maintaining employment.

She was a magnet for disaster.

There was the incident at Sacks Leathers and Furs Emporium where all the pipes burst throughout the building Since she was the only one on duty at the time, the blame somehow fell on her though there was no proof she did anything wrong. Mr. Sacks let her go nonetheless, as he couldn't pay her after losing so much merchandise.

There was the fast food burger joint where the fryers exploded. That was a painful mess. Calponia still had burn scars on her shoulders and left arm. Not to mention poor Freddy the Fry Guy. She wondered how his skin grafts were doing.

The incidents went on and on. How all the plants mysteriously withered and died at the Florist's where she was a clerk. Any waitressing job she took ended with a string of unexplained food poisoning and, in one case, a violated Health Code.

She couldn't even think of what happened at Lori's Antiques and Curios without wincing. She lasted a total of five hours at that job. Calponia now had a reputation among the locals, and since her car had been repoed last week, her financial prospects were dimmer than ever.

She sighed, scanning the various positions, realizing every one of them wouldn't hire her for the sake of their business. She slumped, dropping her face into her hands. "Maybe I'm cursed," she mumbled.

Her coffee mug cracked in half, dribbling coffee across the paper. Calponia glared at the offending porcelain through her fingers, wishing she could flip off the universe as her eyes followed the line of split coffee across the page. She paused, staring at the advert she was certain wasn't there before.

***Wanted, one tavern wench. No education required. Must be personable and willing to work under odd hours and conditions.***

She blinked, not believing her eyes. No education? Even the local bars required a high school diploma. What the hell was a wench? She squinted at the minuscule contact information below the advert, slightly blurred by coffee, and snorted. It must be a joke ad. She went to grab a towel, tossing her broken mug in the sink and blotting the ruined paper. Her eyes drew back to the ad, frowning at the contact info for a moment longer before she planted her fists on the table.

"Calponia Anders, are you desperate enough to make a big old fool of yourself?" She asked the dingy walls of her tiny kitchen. An ominous crumbling of plaster from the ceiling was her only reply. Yes, she was that desperate. What did she have to lose? She leaned over the soggy paper, reading the instructions aloud. "Draw a door, knock three times." She grabbed a sharpie from her desk, deciding a fresh coat of paint would be worth it if this moment of insanity panned out.

Calponia drew a full sized rectangle, from floor to two inches above her head, taking care to add a knob. What was a door without a handle? Taking a deep breath, she tucked her sharpie in her pocket, wiped her coffee sticky hands on her jeans and rapped threes time on her wall.

"Keep it down, tart!" That would be her neighbor, Mr. Henderson, who was convinced Calponia was actually a lady of the night. Her cheeks burned as she stood there, her fist still raised, wondering what the hell she was thinking and hoping her land lord wouldn't see her "door" before she scraped together enough money for paint. Calponia wondered if the local shelter would accept her when she was turned out on the street. The wall shuddered.

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