Four: Aimee's a Jerk

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  "I keep pressing the space bar, but I'm still stuck on Earth."

~Anonymous



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I sigh as John Maverick stops in front of me.

"What was that all about, Bev?!"

"The fight for survival," I reply.

The next five minutes are filled with Maverick giving me a long lecture about being rude to well-paying folks. As if I've never worked with customers before.

But, miraculously, he doesn't fire me. I suspect it's because there isn't exactly a long line of people beating down the door to dress up in a giant chicken costume and wave around a sign for five hours a day.

I try not to be too disappointed. There's a small part of me that wishes he would've fired me. Then I'd be free from this job without the humiliation of quitting.

But, as it stands, I get to cluck another day.

I go home, ready to pass out. Sweating sure takes a lot out of you. I even feel a thin layer of salt across my skin and I'm already planning a two-hour bath to get the stench off me and a Hamburger Helper Extravaganza.

I'm about to dive into a bucket of strawberry ice cream when the phone rings.

I grumble at it before grabbing a spoon and tearing off the lid of container.

I sit on one of the bar stools surrounding the island in the middle of the kitchen and let it ring.

"Hello and thank you for calling the Sunnybrooke Mental Hospital..."

I shovel a spoonful of creamy goodness into my mouth. One time, when I was thirteen, I was friends with a kid named Eustace Stain. We snuck into his mom's barn freezer and ate five pints of pistachio ice cream between the two of us. We threw up so much green liquid that his mom called the ambulance.

I've never been able to eat pistachio ice cream ever since. Even the thought of it makes my stomach churn

The beep on the machine sounds and chills run down my arms when I hear the voice.

"I know you're there, Beverly."

Aimee?

I haven't heard from her in at least a year, when she called to tell me that there'd been a coffee bean recall on the brand I like.

I'm certainly not about to answer it, but, in typical Aimee style, she persists.

"You know I'm not going to hang up until you answer!"

I huff and pick up the phone. "Well, look who called. Did the government shut down? Is there a zombie outbreak?" I gasp. "Did they make another Pirates of the Caribbean movie? Say it ain't so!"

"Beverly, this is serious," Aimee says measuredly.

I roll my eyes. I can sense that she wants something from me. I should've booked a hotel in town until she stopped calling.

"Go ahead, sis. Call me Dumbo, I'm all ears."

"I need a favor," Aimee blurts.

I knew it. "Well, that is bad news."

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