The Next Level (She Wrote, Week 6)
by Christine Hawks
For at least the third time that morning, I reminded myself of why I was out in this asphalt desert plastering flyers to windshields already pre-heated from summer’s extended morning sun. Old-timers say that you wear summer in the south. I now understood what they meant. I adjusted my brother’s ball cap I’d borrowed and felt a few tendrils of my sweaty hair attempt to escape from underneath. Hastily, I pushed them back up under the hat and decided that now was a good time to rehydrate.
I made my way back to the mall and entered into the food court. My best friend, Connor, worked at the Diary Queen and was at the register today. Thankfully, I didn’t have to apologize for my appearance or give any details about why I was at the mall looking like that. On a Sunday morning, the mall was definitely not the place to see and be seen.
“Hey, Ellie! How’s it going?” Connor was full of his usual brand of morning chipper.
“Hey, Connor! Same as you, I suppose. Working through another weekend.”
“I take it that it’s break time? What kind of cool and wet can I get you?”
Though tempted by the thought of my favorite Blizzard or even a brain-freeze inducing shake, I was committed to the responsible choice. “Just a water with lots of ice and a to-go cup, please.” I dug into my jean shorts pocket for the $.25 to pay for the cup.
Connor waived the change away. “Every little bit counts, right? Just don’t tell anybody,” he winked. “You’ll owe me a ride to school when you finally buy that car.”
“Fair enough,” I grinned. “Thanks!”
I took a seat on a bench in the shade outside the food court entrance to savor a few sips before finishing up with the last stack of flyers. I picked up one of the flyers, noting that it was printed in color. Someone had spent more money than the norm. I scanned the ad. It was a call for video game testers. Paid video game testers.
I weighed the potential opportunity in my mind. It probably paid at least as much as papering car windshields. And, it would be air conditioned. But, I knew nothing about video games. My little brother, on the other hand, was probably just the right type. He had done odd jobs for neighbors, finally earning enough to buy his Xbox after a year and a half of saving. Between school, homework and filling every other available hour with trying to earn money to buy my own car, I never had the time to spend with him in front of the TV. I likely wasn’t who they were looking for, but, still, how hard could it be? Read the rest of this entry »