THE SMOKE FROM THE dangling cigarette between his lips was stinging his eyes, but wasn’t enough to make him look away from the monitor as his fingers danced over the keys. He barricaded himself in his home office in the attic, complete with tilted ceiling and boxes that had never been unpacked. He’d been here since sometime yesterday afternoon. It was enough time to fill the three ashtrays on his desk and drain three quarters of the Wild Turkey by the time it was eight AM. With a smile holding the burnt cigarette in his mouth, he typed ‘THE END.’ Gordon Nolan finally finished his book.
He leaned back in the chair and felt the warmth of the light coming in from the tiny window behind him. It was only then did he see the time in the corner of the monitor. 8:03 AM. Gordon felt a weight slide off his shoulders. He thought it was how athletes felt after winning the Super Bowl or some other apt metaphor. The people who accomplished something great in life would understand. He was now bonded with them. Like vets that could only relate to other veterans of war. You had to go through it to understand. Hell, he didn’t need to come up with a simile or metaphor, he just finished his book. Everything he had to say was in the pages.
Gordon leaned forward. The burnt out cigarette fell down his chest, to his lap, to the floor, leaving a trail of ash behind. He poured the bourbon into his glass and grabbed another cigarette from the pack. He lit it, taking a moment, looking at those two magical words with the cursor blinking behind it - THE END.
He was an astronaut. A marathon runner. An Olympian.
He took a deep breath and moved the mouse across the screen, clicked ‘File,’ then ‘Print.’ The printer on the cluttered desk came to life as it started feeding itself paper. He looked at the Title Page that shot out - ‘The Last Year of My Life by Gordon Nolan.’
Gordon grabbed the glass of bourbon and squeezed his way between the desk and wall, stepped over a few cardboard boxes, and left the smoke-filled room.
Entering the kitchen, it was the first time he heard birds outside. The shower was running, Alexis getting ready for work. He went to the counter and grabbed a mug, pouring the bourbon from his glass into it, then topped it off with coffee from the urn. Then he moved over to the table and sat down.
He took a drag of his cigarette, letting the smoke blow out, watching it blend with the dust hanging in the air, the rays of sunshine from the window creating shafts of smoke he liked to watch. He was facing the hallway that led to the living room and front door, waiting for Alexis to emerge from the washroom. He couldn’t wait to see her reaction.
The door in the hallway flung open and steam poured out. Gordon smiled and straightened himself in the chair. He took another sip of his bourbon/ coffee and couldn’t stop himself from smiling. Alexis moved out of the washroom in a flash, wearing only a towel, going into the bedroom across the hall.
Okay, it wasn’t the worst thing. She was getting ready for work. It was understandable.
“Did you eat?” Gordon called out.
“You said you were going to fix the fan,” was the reply from the bedroom.
“I’m going to.”
There was no response.
“I thought you liked hot showers,” he said.
“Where’s the steam going to go?” Alexis called out, still in the bedroom. “It makes it like ten degrees hotter in there.”
This was not what Gordon wanted to talk about. He just finished a book, he didn’t need to be reminded of his shortcomings as a handyman. People who write books don’t have to be handymen.
“So?” he asked.
“So? So it makes mildew and mildew turns to mold. It ruins paint. Not to mention you didn’t fix the water heater like you said so I can’t turn the heat down.”
“So keep the door open.”
“Or do something you say you’re going to do.”
He took another drink of bourbon.
Alexis came out of the bedroom wearing a white T-shirt with khaki pants. Her wet hair was up in a ponytail and dripping onto her shoulders. “You seen my smock?” she asked coming into the kitchen.
“Did you eat?” Gordon asked.
“You hungry? That’s what you’re getting at?”
He didn’t like the attitude he was getting. Alexis stood in the doorway with her hand on her hip, glaring at him.
“Eggs would be nice,” he said, smiling, wanting to talk about his accomplishment.
“Think you put it on the chair in the living room.”
“You drunk?” Alexis asked, leaving the room.
“I’m drinking coffee.”
She came back down the hallway to the kitchen, buttoning up her blue smock. “Coffee makes your eyes slit and bloodshot?”
“Jesus, what’s with you today?”
“For your… period?” He was serious, wondering if the miracle of life had found its way to her tummy.
Alexis laughed, not in a nice way. “You’re not very good at math are you?” She took a step to the table and started digging through the bowl which held change and mail. “Where are my keys?”
“I was working,” he said.
“For who?” Gordon didn’t know what a scoff was, but was pretty sure she just did it.
“Look at the lap of luxury your work did for us.”
“The market’s slow.”
“My agent. I’m a writer in case you forgot.”
“When’s the last time you spoke to him buddy?”
“It’s how I know the market’s slow. It’s all these e-books.”
“I don’t care what you do up there, Gordon, I just want my keys. Where are they?”
“Where are my eggs?”
It got Alexis to stop rooting through the bowl. She stopped and stared at him for a moment before a smile crossed her face. Gordon didn’t like it. He knew that smile. It was her sinister smile. “I’m sorry, I forgot,” she said as she walked away from the table to the stove.
She picked up the frying pan and faced him. He felt his arms tense and his shoulders rise, ready to block a frying pan swing. Instead she stopped. Her brows arched, waiting for him to say something.
“They’re in your jacket by the door,” he said.
“Thank you.” Alexis flung the scrambled eggs from the frying pan at him before slamming it back on the stove and left the kitchen.
Gordon watched her storm down the hall, to the living room, grabbing her jacket on the coat-rack beside the door before slamming it behind her as she left.
Gordon looked down at himself, seeing the cold eggs in the folds of his shirt, on his lap, on the floor and table. He picked a piece up and ate it, then repeated the process, eating the scrambled eggs off his clothes.
That didn’t go nearly as well as Gordon had hoped.
THE WORST PART ABOUT her morning, the absolute worst part of it, wasn’t dealing with Gordon, or the shower with too much steam, or her wet head. No, the worst part about Alexis’s morning was knowing she was going to have to deal with that pimple-faced prick, Manager Mike.
That’s what infuriated her enough to propel her out the door, slamming it behind her. It’s what drove her legs in a piston-like manner across the gravel driveway. It wasn’t even when she struggled to turn over the engine on the Ninety-Four Ford Tempo, yes, Nineteen-Ninety-Four, eventually coming to life with the sound of a shotgun blast and a plume of black smoke that moved like a cloud down the street. Nor was it the crunch of the engine as she shifted into reverse and it wasn’t the car stalling when she pulled onto the street, nor the other shotgun blast and plume of black smoke when she restarted it. It was knowing she was going to have to deal with Manager Mike.
Let’s not forget the dial for the stereo had fallen off and was stuck on some teeny-bopper pop station playing music that said ‘baby’ too much and felt the need to rhyme love with above in every goddamn song. Oh, there was also the engine that would overheat so she had to drive around with the heat on full to keep the car running.
Alexis slammed on the gas, eventually getting to ten above the speed limit when she had to slow down at the stop sign at the end of her tree-lined street. It was once a nice area but fell into decay when jobs, and therefore people, started leaving the city. The city that put all its money and resources into casinos, leaving the rest of the city to flounder. Now her tree-lined street was filled with families struggling to get by.
Her and Gordon were no different. Gordon. Gordon the writer. Gordon the writer who never sold a damn thing and never even met his agent. She remembered the day he got on the agent’s roster. It was so long ago she couldn’t even remember his name, or the agency for that matter. Some big shot in Toronto. Gordon promised he’d turn their life around then, all she had to do was watch. That was what, ten years ago? Jesus, she didn’t know how much longer she could do this.
“Why can’t you work and write in your spare time?” she had asked him some time ago, one of the last times she bothered to go up to the attic and enter that smoke filled cancer-space.
“You only have so much energy in a day,” he started telling her. “Think of it like a video game. You have a bar of health. Working a job I hate will drain that bar. Then there’ll be nothing left for our future.”
“Looks like you already do that,” she said, moving her eyes to whatever bottle of booze he decided to swim in that day. “Draining the bar.”
“It’s the creative process. Hemingway did it. Look at Hendrix or Joplin, it’s the same thing. Eddie Van Halen was a drunk.”
“You’re comparing yourself to those people?”
“It’s how genius works.”
Funny thing, Gordon didn’t even know who Hemingway was until she bought him a book of his short stories once. What she got for being supportive.
The clock on the dashboard said 8:43 when she pulled into the All-Save parking lot. Another black plume of smoke enveloped the car when she turned it off, just to remind her how shitty her life was. With any luck, Manager Mike wouldn’t notice she was thirteen minutes late.
She raced across the parking lot and waited for the sliding glass doors to open. She rushed in to see Martha, a retired woman who took the job as something to fill her mornings. She told Alexis Manager Mike was looking for her.
“He sent you here to tell me that?” Alexis asked, feeling her world deflate.
“No dear, I’m the Greeter today.” She smiled.
So Alexis lowered her head and forced her feet to walk down the aisles of promised lowest priced items and turned back time items that were on sale because they couldn’t give them away. Jesus that commercial. Bunch of models wearing All-Save smocks, dancing like assholes hitting price tags to make them drop to a lower number while Cher sang about turning back time. Bunch of assholes wearing shit eating grins with lasers going off behind them.
She heard the tsks and laughs from her coworkers as she made her way to the back. They weren’t laughing at her, but the situation. No one took this job seriously, except Manager Mike. The whole thing was absurd.
“Do you take this place seriously Alexis?” Manager Mike asked. Alexis was now in his office, staring at the pimple-faced eighteen year old seated behind the desk, feet up on it, leaned back in the chair, peeling an orange. “Or your job? Do you take your job seriously?”
“I know I’m late.”
“And yet you were.”
That didn’t make sense to her. Instead of screaming at this kid that took his minuscule power way too far, she looked away. The walls were covered with smiling All-Save employees with slogans about team work, working hard, everyone makes this shit a success and so on.
“It won’t happen again.”
Manager Mike took his feet off the desk and leaned forward. “Alexis, I believe in you. I think you could amount to great things in the All-Save family,” he said. She had twelve years on this kid who was telling her that one day she could amount to something. “But I have to see the desire in you.”
“I’m sorry I’m late.”
“You think I got where I am by being late? We’re a team here. A family. We can’t have one person on the rope not pulling. It brings everyone into the mud.”
“Tug of war Alexis. It’s a metaphor. We all get dirty when someone doesn’t pull their weight.”
She wanted to ram her head into the wall.
“I’m going to let you off with a warning Alexis, but you’re on washrooms today.”
“It’s not my day.”
“I can’t let this slide. Them, out there, they can’t see this slide. You’re on washrooms today. And don’t prove me wrong Alexis. I believe in you.”
What Manager Mike did after that, he waited there, staring at her. She knew what he wanted from her and she wasn’t sure if she could do it.
“Thank you,” she eventually said, then left the office.
GORDON SAT THERE FOR a few minutes after Alexis left, picking the eggs off his clothes and the table until he decided he wasn't hungry anymore. He brought his bourbon and coffee with him as he went upstairs to the attic to collect his manuscript. He was upset, sure, but he wouldn’t let it bring him down.
He brought the manuscript downstairs, went into the dusty living room and set it down on the coffee table at the back of the room. The furniture was mismatched, the decor being whatever was on sale at a thrift store. Aside from the couch, there were three other chairs in the room, one blue, one green, one violet, all angled toward the twenty-seven inch TV. Not that they needed this many places to sit, they never had company.
Gordon took his time arranging the pages, making sure none were sticking out, the entire book flat and presentable on the table. He stared at the title page again, feeling a sense of pride. He wrote a book. Alexis never wrote no book.
Then he went over to the chair Alexis always sat on and for the first time, noticed the picture frame placed down on the small end table. He lifted it up and set it upright - a picture of him and Alexis on their wedding day. Shit, what was that, ten, twelve years ago?
He picked up the phone beside the picture and dialed a number. He was greeted with “The fuck?” from the other end of the line.
“You up?” Gordon asked.
“I’m coming over.”
Gordon hung up. He went back to the attic, collected his bottle of Wild Turkey and grabbed a bottle of vodka from his desk before leaving the house.
Then he came back in, went through the living room, into the kitchen, up the stairs, back up into the office and grabbed his smokes from the desk. Then he left the house again.
He walked down the tree-lined street, taking a few pulls from the Wild Turkey, approaching a house that had blankets up in place of curtains and grass two feet long. Siding was falling off the ailing house and was covered in a mix of dried and fresh eggs that were thrown at it. Gordon knocked on the screen door hanging by a single hinge.
After his third round of knocking, it opened.
“The fuck?” the man said, squinting at Gordon through the screen. He wore boxers and a bathrobe, his hair unruly on top of his head as well as his bushy beard. White socks pulled up to his calves completed the wardrobe.
“You got egg on your house,” Gordon said.
Hayden pushed his cheek against the screen, looking to the side, unable to see the eggs on the outside of his house. “Teenage delinquents again,” he said.
“I finished it,” Gordon said.
“What have you completed Gordon?”
Hayden backed away from the door, disappearing into the room. Gordon followed him in, unable to stop smiling, finally able to tell someone what he had done.
He watched Hayden walk over to a beanbag chair in the sparse room. Three beanbag chairs with a coffee table in front of them, all facing a giant flat-screen TV with a game console sitting on the floor. Hayden crashed on one of the beanbags and grabbed the bong beside it.
“That’s quite the accomplishment,” Hayden said, searching the pockets of his robe for a lighter.
It’s what Gordon had been dying to hear. Dying to get recognition for this great thing he had done.
“What is this great prose you have scribed?”
“It’s called ‘The Last Year of My Life by Gordon Nolan.” Gordon was on the bubble of excitement, barely able to stop himself from popping.
Hayden took a hit from the bong and held his breath. “Is it a leap year?”
“Care to venture into the contents of your novel?”
“You want to read it?”
“Nothing would bring me more elation,” Hayden said, offering Gordon the bong. He refused, taking another pull of Wild Turkey instead. “Did you tote it on your adventure to my abode?”
“It’s at my house, sitting on my coffee table.”
Hayden slowly let out the smoke while he stared at Gordon.
“Alexis’ll get home from work and read it then she’ll freak the fuck out.”
“You contain that much confidence and bravado in your work?”
“It’s called ‘The Last Year of My Life,’” Gordon said.
“You mentioned that.”
“That’s why she’ll freak out when she reads it.” Gordon stared at Hayden, who was staring back at him. This wasn’t the way he wanted this conversation to go either. Hayden didn’t understand.
“She’ll get home and read it,” Gordon said.
“You mentioned that.”
“And she’ll freak the fuck out.”
“Again, you repeat yourself.”
“She’ll freak the fuck out because the book is about the last year.”
“I gathered that from your apt title.”
“The book ends with my suicide.”
BECAUSE ALEXIS THOUGHT HER day couldn’t get any worse, and it wasn’t even nine AM, the night cleaning staff missed the washrooms last night. If people were generally good, decent, and respectable in the world, this wouldn’t be a problem. However, people weren’t like that, and neither were the washrooms.
The first stall wasn’t too bad. Just a person that didn’t flush. The second one was covered in piss and toilet paper - not just in the bowl, but on the seat and floor. It was the third one that showed her she shouldn’t have crossed Murphy and his Law.
She stood there holding the pail of cleaning supplies, wearing rubber gloves and a painter mask, wondering how someone could shit so much and still be alive. It covered every wall and the floor. The water in the toilet was filled to the brim with brown liquid, toilet paper, and paper towel.
Alexis ran out.
Five minutes later, there were three employees staring at the death defying act. Martha said “Oh my,” and covered her mouth. The other two were giggling.
“I just don’t understand how you can do all that and walk out of here,” Alexis said.
“I bet that’s why the night crew didn’t touch it,” Janet said. “It’s not human.”
“What I don’t understand,” Jimmy said, “is how he got it on the roof.”
All of them looked up to see the ceiling tile covered in feces.
Martha helpfully pointed out that they were in the ladies room.
Two minutes after that, Alexis was in Manager Mike’s office, telling him she wasn’t going to clean it. “It’s not human,” she told him.
“Alexis, this is a team. We all have to pull our weight.”
“A haz-mat team is what you need.”
“I’m sure it’s not so bad. Grab a plastic apron from the home section. We all have to pull our sleeves up for the team.”
“You want to look at it?”
“Do I need to find someone else for the job?”
Alexis let out a loud sigh and turned to leave when Manager Mike told her to stop distracting the other employees.
By the time she was finished a few hours later, after several bouts of throwing up, then having to clean that up, she was finished. She was covered in shit, literally - her apron, khakis, gloves. She felt she even had it on her cheeks, but she was finished.
That’s when an elderly man stumbled in and rushed to the stall. Then she heard a loud boom and a flood of water. The she heard the man say, “Oh boy.”
“Harold, Harold I told you not to eat that,” an elderly woman said, poking her head in the door.
“Tell her I’m not here,” the man said.
“You’re in the wrong restroom,” Alexis said. “Jesus.”
“Yeah,” the man said between grunts. “Tell her I’m in the other one.”
Alexis again wondered how much she could take of this life.
“SO WHERE IS YOUR body?” Hayden asked.
“What do you mean? I’m right here.”
“Generally in a suicide, there’s a body found, whether it be hanging, pills, or some other method of extinguishing life.”
“It’s in the book.” Gordon said.
“Your deceased body is in the book?”
“No, I say I committed suicide in the book. Why don’t you get this? I end the book saying I killed myself.” He couldn’t understand why everyone was shitting on him today. He stood in the doorway staring at Hayden holding his bong.
“So when do you plan on committing this deed?”
“How do I see her freak out if I’m dead?” Gordon said, taking another long pull of the Wild Turkey which was almost empty now.
“I believe there are more than a few things being lost in our current form of communication.”
“Christ, can’t you talk normal for once?” Gordon asked, crossing the room to sit on the coffee table in front of Hayden. “I’m not killing myself. Wait, are you scared I’m going to do it here?”
It brought a smile to Hayden’s lips as he placed the bong to his mouth again. “Heaven’s no Gordon. I’m of the knowledge that the act thereof escapes your capacities of bravery and selfishness.”
Guy always talked in riddles. It bothered Gordon, gave him headaches sometimes trying to decipher his speech. “It’s not hard to get. Think that pot’s turning your mind to mush.”
Hayden sucked in the smoke and held it in his lungs. He put the bong back on the floor and looked at the bottle of Wild Turkey in Gordon’s hand. Gordon wasn’t impressed, this burnout always needing to be right.
Gordon finished off the bourbon and set it on the floor beside the bong. Now that they were both thinking straight, he would try to explain again. “She comes home and reads the book. She thinks I offed myself. She freaks out and comes looking for me. Get it now?”
“You’ve relayed that to me Gordon. The question isn’t the what, but the purpose in doing such an activity.”
“Oh,” Gordon said, leaning back, wondering where he put the bottle of vodka he brought with him. He didn’t think he’d have to answer this kind of question.
“There’s something askew in your relationship with Alexis,” Hayden said, not a question.
Gordon slowly, reluctantly, nodded his head.
“Should I prepare coffee?” Hayden asked. “Perhaps to get us in a frame of mind where misunderstandings become the rarity.”
“Maybe if you just leave the room.” Gordon saw he didn’t quite understand. “Yeah, go make coffee. Leave the fucking room and I’ll say it.”
Hayden looked at him, then nodded. Maybe Gordon was wrong, or maybe it was the Wild Turkey, but he thought he saw empathy on Hayden’s face. Hayden reached out his hand and Gordon took it, pulling him out of the beanbag chair. Hayden crossed the sparse room and went through the blanket serving as a door, into the kitchen.
Gordon stood and started pacing. Maybe he went too hard on the bourbon. Vodka wouldn’t help. Hard liquor plunged him too quick into the deep end. He should’ve done a slow burn, get some beer into him after the night of drinking. But his accomplishment. The feat he did. Why shouldn’t he have a couple drinks to celebrate?
“Gordon?” Hayden called from the other room.
“I don’t think she loves me anymore,” Gordon blurted out. He didn’t have the choice to stop the words, they just came tumbling out of his mouth.
“I’m sure that’s not the case.”
“She doesn’t care about me anymore. She doesn’t love me.”
The curtain moved in the doorway and Hayden leaned against the jamb. “So this book chronicling your suicide will culminate with the knowledge of whether she loves you or not?”
“Or she’ll be reminded of it, thinking I’m dead.”
“Do I need to remind you of the vast number of other ways to rekindle a romance?”
“You know how they say…?” Gordon forgot his thought. “Let me start over. She’s always bitching about some guy named Manager Mike she works with, says she hates him.”
“You’re thinking love and hate are flip sides to the same coin?”
“I think he’s stuffing her if that’s what you’re saying.”
“Because she says she abhors her boss.”
“I don’t know what that means, plus she don’t love me no more.”
Hayden stood against the doorway, nodding, seeming to think about it before he disappeared behind the blanket again. “So how do you relay that you have taken your own life without a body being present?” he asked from the other room.
“What do you mean?”
“How did you describe the ending of your life Gordon? Cream and sugar?”
“I didn’t.” Gordon looked down to the empty bottle of bourbon. “I don’t need a coffee,” he said. “All the best books, they leave them a little, what’s the word? Open ended? So you can take away your own meaning?”
Hayden came back from behind the blanket holding a mug of coffee. “Ambiguous,” he said as he crossed the room, back to his beanbag chair.
“Yeah,” Gordon said.
“You don’t surmise that your ambiguity could pose a problem with your intention?”
“Like she might not think I killed myself?”
Hayden put one finger to his nose and pointed at Gordon with the other hand, miming that Gordon was correct. This was really frustrating. He thought today was going to go a lot differently.
“Maybe you should read it. Tell me if you get the impression I killed myself.”
“Alas, you did not bring said document for my judgment.”
“I have a printer you fucking idiot. I have infinite documents.”
“You are supposed to be on the next plane of existence if one exists, no longer a part of her life if your plan is to succeed.”
“She’s at work. It’s like you don’t listen to me at all,” Gordon said, crossing the room to the front door where he stopped. “This whole day is bullshit. Maybe I threw myself over the Falls, that’s why there’s no body.”
“Do you mention the great waterfall in your book?”
“I’ll go get it, you tell me.”
So Gordon walked back along the tree-lined street, back to his house, back through the living room, into the kitchen where he stopped before going up the stairs. He went to the fridge, careful not to step on the scrambled eggs on the floor, and grabbed the six tall cans of Pabst, deciding on a slow burn now, and went up the stairs, and back up to his office where he sat behind his desk and moved the mouse back over the screen and hit a few buttons. The printer came to life and started spitting out pages. He looked at the title page again - ‘The Last Year of My Life by Gordon Nolan.’
He smoked a cigarette as the printer gave him his masterpiece. When it was finished, he gathered the pages together and placed them neatly on his desk on top of all the other junk. He crossed the room, went into a cardboard box, and pulled out a bottle of gin he hid, upset there wasn’t much left. He took a swig, sat back down, collected the papers, and was on his way when he stumbled into the computer and knocked it to the ground, shattering the monitor and the body of the computer.
Killing yourself was a lot of work.
“SORRY YOU’RE HAVING A shitty day,” Wally said between bouts of laughter. He was the security guard for All-Save, sitting behind a desk, watching the feeds from the cameras placed throughout the store.
“Can’t you kick him out or something?” Alexis asked, standing in the doorway of the small room.
“For what, taking a shit?”
“It’s not what he’s doing, it’s how he’s doing it,” Alexis said. She was beyond her limits of patience. “You know I was in there, waiting for him to get out, and I heard plops?”
Wally started laughing even harder.
“It’s not funny asshole. They were plops on the floor. He’s shitting on the goddamn floor Wally.”
He was laughing so hard Alexis thought he was going to fall off his chair. She was still wearing the plastic apron, feces covering it along with her clothes, even her arms. She was still too afraid to check her face.
“Something stinks about all this,” Wally managed to get out before bursting out in laughter again.
“Can you at least kick him out for being in the wrong washroom?”
“It’s a shit job, but someone’s got to do it.” This time Wally came off the chair and held his belly as he laughed on the floor.
Alexis needed a change.
She stormed out of the security office and walked along the back aisle to go to the warehouse when Manager Mike stopped her. He looked her up and down before moving closer to her, speaking in a hushed tone. “You’re on the floor like this?”
“Because this is what I chose?”
“This is disgraceful. Disgraceful to us, your team, to All-Save. And Alexis, it’s disgraceful to you.”
It took everything she had not to punch him, but she thought about it - punch Manager Mike, get fired, little pussy would probably sue her, how much in savings did she have? Not enough to cover a law suit.
“I’m told you were harassing an old man and his wife,” Mike said. “You know you really stink?”
“The man whom,” he said, emphasizing ‘whom’ “has a medical condition. You told him he isn’t welcome here.”
“I told him to get in the right goddamn restroom.”
“That’s not what they say.”
“He needs a fucking hospital not somewhere he can save thirty cents on shit built in China.”
Manager Mike took a step back, shocked, covering his mouth. “I’m sorry Alexis, but after your shift today, you’re suspended. Take some time, clear your head.”
“Fine, I’m fucking gone,” she said and stormed past him. She saw him reach out a hand, ready to grab her arm, but thought better of it.
“After your shift Alexis. I’ll call you in a few days to see how you’re feeling. If your mind is better.”
She turned around, ready to pounce on him. “What do you mean after my shift?”
“After your shift take a few days. I’ll call you. Clean yourself up, get yourself right.”
She glared at him for a moment before turning around to walk away.
“You’re still on washrooms Alexis. Be part of the team.”
Alexis kept walking. She was done, she needed a change, to get out. She wouldn’t be working here so much if Gordon had a job, if Gordon had kept his promises. All her problems started with him. Manager Mike was right about one thing, she needed to get herself right.
She went into the staffroom and to her locker. She rifled through her purse and pulled out a card she had been carrying for awhile. It was the card for Marvin Stokes, a divorce attorney.
Starting today she was going to change her life, to get herself right.
MARVIN STOKES HAD BEEN sleeping with his secretary, Betty, for quite some time. The appeal wasn’t that she was overly attractive, she didn’t exude sexiness or a bold attitude, it was simply because she was there. So there was that, but Marvin also thought of himself as a feminist - he could find something attractive about anyone. No, he didn’t know exactly what feminism was. As for Betty, it was her ankles that caught Marvin’s eye.