Monday, May 24, 2010

Harter Union: Part Four, Chapter 3

I was about five, sitting in the passenger seat of my mom’s old Ford Grenada. It was pitch black outside and the woods to my right seemed darker than the rest of the area. There were also, for some reason, a lot of possums out. I began to doze off even though we were almost home, and awoke to the tires squealing, my mom screaming and watching her fly through the windshield and onto the street.

Everything was a blur from that moment on. I remember police asking me what had happened. I didn’t know, I was asleep. Everything faded away and I was back in my childhood home, looking out the window toward the Granada.

I walked outside and headed toward the car. The front lawn suddenly became a cemetery with only a few graves. I opened the back door to the car and saw my mom, lying there, like she had been in the casket. I looked around the cemetery and smiled.

I awoke at the same point of the dream I always do but the dream had always weirded me out because I had never been in a car accident and my mom, as far as I knew, was still alive. I never understood the dream and until now, I hadn’t dreamed it since I arrived in Baldwin. Why I dreamed it again, I didn’t know. I got out of bed and had to really pee. I opened the door and headed for the bathroom. I pushed open the bathroom door and was interrupted by a knock at the front door. “Damn it,” I muttered.

I went to the door, answered it and saw Emily standing in the hallway. I was just in flannel pants and nothing else. Emily seemed amazed to see me standing nearly naked in front of her. “Hi, I…wow! The jackets and ties you wear make you seem, I don’t know…”

“Wussier? I know, I get that a lot,” I cleared my throat. “What do you want, Emily? I have to pee.”

“I was wondering if you’d like to go out to dinner tonight.”

A smile came on my face and looked out into the hallway, up at the ceiling and back at Emily. “Where are the cameras? What’s the catch?”

“There’s no catch. I’m just asking you to have dinner with me,” Emily gritted her teeth and fidgeted where she stood, “and my friend and her boyfriend.”

“Ah-ha! I knew it was something. Look, I have to pee really, really bad so I am just going to agree to this now and regret it all later. I’ll pick you up at eight, okay?” I smiled at Emily who smiled back, waved with her fingers and headed down the stairs. I shut the front door and raced to the bathroom which was shut and locked. I saw Heather was awake and could faintly hear the shower running. “I have to pee, Heather!” I shouted.

She didn’t hear me so I went into the kitchen and grabbed a glass from the cabinet.

“This sucks that we can’t hang out downstairs anymore,” Heather complained as the group headed toward the lobby of the Union. The lobby to the Union was decorated with a mysterious jungle motif that no one who worked here could understand. Aaron sat in the only normal chair the lobby had and Heather sat in the tall giraffe and lion chair. Jason and Chrissy sat close to each other on one side of the circular couch with Nathan and Alyson on the other side. Jay sat next to Nathan and created a border between him and the couple with a pillow.

“I wanted to let you guys know that I found out that I’m pregnant,” Chrissy revealed. The staff broke out in congratulations and other vocal ramblings.

“How far along are you?” asked Alyson.

“A couple months or so,” Chrissy answered.

“So what have you decided?” Aaron asked.

Chrissy’s mouth opened but she didn’t speak. Jason did, “We decided to get an abortion. We’re not ready for this and this is what we decided,” Jason held Chrissy tighter. “What pisses me off is that we used a condom. A cheap condom but a condom.”

“So when are you getting the, uh…” Jay stammered and pointed at Chrissy’s stomach.

“Abortion, Jay. On Friday, our dad’s are taking us,” Chrissy said.

Wendy and a short, stocky girl with long black hair and Indian-colored skin came into the lobby. “Hi, there,” Jason greeted toward the girl. “Who the hell are you?”

“This is Wanda Reyes, the new assistant cook,” Wendy introduced.

“I’m Jason Yates, Dish Room dickface.”

“Don’t worry about Jason or anybody else. We’re all pretty normal outside of work. Mostly,” Wendy said.

“Do those new workers start tonight, Aaron?” asked Nathan.

“Yeah, Jeff has them starting the evening for some reason.” Aaron looked at his watch and started to get up. “We gotta get to it, guys.”

Emily and I were heading toward Lawrence in my Jimmy. Emily was looking good in a brown low-cut dress shirt and tight black pants. She was wearing just a hint of make-up and she smelled heavenly.

“Okay, so seriously, why am I going on a double date with you?” I asked Emily.

“Because I asked and you agreed.”

“You know what I mean. What’s the plan? How do I even know this mysterious friend is real? What’s the big secret?”

“I’ve mentioned you a lot to my friend Holly and she wants to meet you,” Emily admitted.

“Why does she want to meet me?” I asked.

“Somehow she got the idea that you’re my boyfriend and I also wanted to show up her boyfriend.”

“And just how did what’s-her-name, Holly, come to believe that I am your boyfriend?”

“I may have mentioned something after we were locked in the freezer and she just assumed,” Emily said.

“But it’s not like you tried to quash those rumors. What do you mean ‘show up her boyfriend’?”

“Her boyfriend is an effing jerk and she could do so much better and with you there, she gets to compare and contrast and hopefully dump the loser she has,” Emily explained.

I started to chuckle. “Why me?”

“I seem to talk about you a lot to Holly so you are the logical choice for a faux-boyfriend,” Emily said. “You’re kind, considerate, have great eyes and from what I saw, a good body.”

“Why does everybody like my eyes?” I asked, not really to anyone. “I always thought my smile was my best feature. What is it about them?”

“I don’t know, just something. The color, I think. Why don’t you ask somebody who gives a damn?”

Melissa and Mike were sitting in the far corner of a restaurant and Melissa was laughing noisily. “Oh, God, please stop! People are starting to stare,” Melissa tried to clear her throat and stop laughing but looking at Mike made her start up again. “I don’t remember you being so funny.”

“I have my moments.” The waiter came up to the table and Mike leaned in closer to Melissa. “Do you want anything else? More to drink, dessert?”

“No, thanks, I’m pretty full and I have work tomorrow.”

“Just the check, please,” Mike said to the waiter, who nodded and walked off.

“I’ve really had a good time tonight, Mike, thank you,” Melissa had obviously forgotten her nervousness.

“No, I should be thanking you. For years I had always wondered what happened to you because I was always attracted to you and always wanted to give us a serious chance,” Mike said.

“Well, I might enjoy that…” Melissa smiled and took Mike’s hand. “Take me home, there’s one last thing I want us to do.”

“’Look, you fucking dyke, stop talking and do your fucking work because no one cares how often you go to the club, let alone care for you at all you cunt-licking God damn dyke!” I slammed my fist into the table. “And that is how my first day in the corporate world started. And ended,” I shrugged.

“And you yelled all that at her?” Emily asked.

“She just wouldn’t shut up about going out so finally I got sick of it. I went the entire morning thinking she was a guy so she should be glad that I didn’t say anything sooner.”

“So you were fired?” Holly asked.

“After only five hours,” I took a drink of my tea. “Funny footnote: she wasn’t a lesbian at all.”

“What time is it?” asked Emily.

“Almost two,” I answered.

“Almost two? I have work in six hours. I have to go and get some sleep. Can you ride with them, Hol?” asked Holly’s boyfriend.

“I guess but we should…”

“Great! I’ll see you tomorrow after work, Hol,” he kissed her forehead and dashed out of the restaurant. Emily and Holly looked at each other.

“He ran out on the check…” Emily said.

“Damn it, he always does this. I don’t know if I have enough…” Holly sniffled.

“I got it,” I said.

“No, you don’t have to do that. I probably have enough.”

“I want to, now shut up and let me do this.”

The aftermath of Jeff and Emily's date which makes Jeff want to ask out Melissa. Two new employees begin working at the Union.