WAITING IN LINE – PART 8
“Hey,” Rob jumped, remembering something. “We’re playing at The Sun tonight, why don’t you guys come by.”
“That sounds good,” Marlee scanned the crowd. She hit Josie to get her attention. “Carl’s coming back now. And, without Theresa.”
Josie turned. “He’s coming back from the parking lot. Where was he?”
“Here comes Theresa behind him.” Marlee pointed. “Wonder where she was coming from?” she teased.
Josie watched Carl cautiously as he stopped to talk to Matt, then to several people on the line. He then walked over to Theresa to look at her picture
“Why is he talking to her? And why is he taking that picture.” Josie said as he grabbed the picture and started toward the wall, Theresa desperately followed, grabbing at his hands.
“He’s coming this way.” Rob observed.
“Ya think,” Marlee retorted.
Josie stood up and dusted the grass from her legs. “He is coming this way,” she said as Carl stopped and stood on the wall.
“ATTENTION EVERYONE!” Carl hollered to everyone within earshot.
“What’s he doin’?” Rob asked.
When he had everyone’s attention Carl held the photo of Bruce up over his head. “BY NOW, I THINK EVERYONE HAS SEEN THIS PICTURE!” He paused with a smirk “PROBABLY MORE THAN ONCE!” he added as the crowd answered with boos. He turned around and smiled at Josie and Marlee.
“What is he up to?” Marlee whispered to Rob.
“FROM THE BOOS, I TAKE IT THAT SOME OF YOU ARE A LITTLE ENVIOUS THAT THIS GIRL MET BRUCE! OR JUST A ANNOYED THAT SHE’S BEEN SHOVING DOWN YOUR THROATS ALL DAY” The crowd booed louder. INCLUDING ME,” he paused appropriately, “THAT’S WHY I FEEL IT IS MY MORAL IMPERATIVE TO TELL YOU,” he paused again, “THIS IS A LIE. SHE NEVER MET BRUCE. DID EVEN ONE OF YOU MORONS QUESTION WHY SHE WASN’T IN THE PICTURE. SHE HAS BEEN MAKING SHIT UP ALL DAY. SHE WAS AT THE SOPHMORE DANCE THE NIGHT THIS PICTURE WAS TAKEN. I KNOW. BECAUSE SHE WAS WITH ME!” He then held the photo high above his head, ripped it into pieces and let it rain down over Theresa.
Josie let out a loud, single cackle. “Way to go, Carl!” She cheered as the crowd erupted into cheers, catcalls and laughter.
Carl whirled around and gave Marlee and Josie a small bow. “Encore!” Josie requested.
“Harsh, man!” Rob yelled through cupped hands.
“All in day’s work.” Carl answered as he jumped off the wall and into Theresa who was standing behind him. She didn’t say a word as she calmly walked away from the line crying.
“Whoo hoo,” Josie screamed out as Theresa left the parking lot.
Marlee covered her ears. “I’m deaf now, thank you.”
“Oh, you’re welcome,” Josie answered.
“Hey,” Carl called as he made his way up the hill, “I don’t think Theresa will be bothering you anymore.”
“You’re my hero!” Josie said, grabbing him and giving him a big hug. “But those were tears of anger. She is not happy.”
Carl hugged her back. “I see there can be some perks to this hero thing. I am so tired of her crap. Someone had to finally stop her.
“Carl,” Marlee extended her hand towards Rob, “this is Rob.”
They shook hands. “You don’t look like a Bruce fan?” Carl asked Rob.
Rob laughed. “I’m getting tickets to scalp. I only thought I’d be here for a few hours. Looks like it’s going to be all day.”
Marlee rolled her eyes. “Tell me about it.”
Carl looked at his watch. “I know. I have to be at work in an hour.”
“I don’t think you’re gonna make it.” Marlee teased.
“What time is it?” Josie asked curiously.
Carl checked his watch again. “It’s a little after twelve.”
“Shit!” Josie exclaimed. “I have to be at work at three.”
“No problem!” Carl perked up. “Let’s both call in sick.” He winked.
“OK,” Josie grabbed Carl’s arm and headed down the hill.”
“Josie,” Marlee called to her, “you can’t call in sick again, you called in yesterday.” Josie waved her away as she made her way down to the crowd.
“Where are the nearest payphones?” Carl asked.
Josie looked around. “Probably in the front of the store.” She navigated her way through the crowd, making sure not to step on anyone, as she dragged Carl to the front entrance of the department store. She opened the front door and was hit by a burst of cool air.
“Hurry up and go in,” Carl pushed her through the door, “you’re gonna let all the air conditioning out.”
“Oh,” Josie sighed as she entered the store, “I’m staying in here for the rest of the day.”
“Do you think they’d miss us?” Carl winked at her.
Josie stared at him for a second. “Who cares,” she answered, “we’d be cool and they’d be out in the sun.”
Carl contemplated staying in the store. “But we wouldn’t get tickets, then.”
“Oh, yeah,” Josie said handing him a quarter, “you call first?”
“Sure,” Carl said, dialing his work number. Josie stood next to him, waiting for him to finish.
“Uh, hi, Mr. Clark, this is Carl,” Carl spoke into the phone, “I can’t make it in today. My car broke down and I’m still at the shop. Said it might take all day to fix,” he paused. “I lost my brakes this morning,” he paused again, “I know you warned me about getting them fixed. I’ll be in tomorrow,” he paused again, “thanks Mr. Clark.”
Josie looked on dumbfounded. “What a crock of bullshit,” she said laughing.
“It’s not bullshit,” he handed the receiver to Josie, “it’s an art form. I started talking about my brakes a week ago just to plant the seeds in case I needed to call in. You should always have an excuse ready. I always have two or three in the pipeline as reserves. Now it’s your turn.
Josie grabbed the phone and dialed. “Hey, Karen, it’s Josie. I don’t think I’ll be able to come in today,” she smirked at Carl, “I got sick this morning in school; they had to send me home. I’m really sick,” she paused, listening to the voice on the other side, “ok…ok…yes…ok.” She slammed the phone down.
“What happened?” Carl asked.
“I think they just fired me. They told me if I didn’t come in today, not to come back at all.”
Carl covered his mouth with his hand and snickered. “You just got fired,” he teased.
“Shut up,” Josie punched him in the arm, “it’s not funny.”
“Oh,” Carl playfully punched her back, “you wanna fight.”
Josie narrowed her eyes “I’ll kick your ass!”
“The unemployed girl thinks she’s tough.”
“You wanna take this outside?”
Carl stood there for, thinking. “Not really,” he answered, “it’s too hot out there.”
“Then what do you suggest we do?”
“Let’s go tell everyone you just got fired,” Carl teased again as he left the store and headed back towards the crowd.
Josie briskly walked behind. “Hey,” she called to him, “you wanna slow down.”
Carl stopped, waited for Josie to catch up, and bowed. “After you.”
Josie smile, taking the lead. She headed back to the hill where Marlee was sitting. “I’m gonna sit under the tree for a while, you wanna come?”
“Why not,” Carl shrugged. “MARLEE!” Carl screamed as they reached the wall, “JOSIE GOT FIRED!”
“Loser,” someone screamed from the crowd.”
“Shut up,” Josie screamed back. She swung her arm to hit Carl, but missed. She sat down once she reached the top of the hill. “I’m glad you think this funny.”
Carl sat down next to her. “I think it’s hilarious.”
“You knew that would happen.” Marlee said.
“I find it kinda ironic.” Rob laughed.
“What?” Josie snapped.
“Yeah, really,” Marlee agreed.
“Here you are,” Rob continued, “getting tickets for a person who is supposed to represent the working class, and you get fired for getting those tickets.”
“Who invited you?” Josie shot him a dirty look.
“Hey,” Marlee said, leaning over to Josie, “maybe Bruce can get you job.”
“Fine,” Josie relented. “Mock me if you must. But I’m getting tickets.”
Marlee stood up. Looking for Angie. “You guys left Angie?” She spotted Matt and waved.